end run brought to you by ok soda
  April 30, 2004
We rewrite, you decide, Vol. 2


Regarding that whole "Mission Accomplished" fiasco of May 1, 2003, from "Bush speech anniversary draws scrutiny, commentary", CNN.com, April 30, 2004:

Bush defended the speech as he talked to reporters Friday during a Rose Garden appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we had accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein," Bush said.

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

Regarding the broadcast of photos of American soldiers and contractors torturing Iraqi prisoners, from "Bush expresses 'deep disgust' at prison photos", CNN.com, April 30, 2004:

In the face of international outrage, President Bush said Friday that he was disgusted by photographs that apparently show American soldiers abusing detainees at a prison outside Baghdad.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said. "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America."


"I didn't like it one bit," Bush added during an appearance in the White House Rose Garden with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Not to belabor the completely blunt irony or anything, but both of the abovementioned remarks were made at the exact same appearance by the President this morning.

Posted at 2:41 PM in a Grave fashion.
Fine, this just means 40 extra minutes of Jimmy Kimmel

koppel_thumbnail.jpgIn "Stations to Boycott 'Nightline's' List of the Fallen", the Washington Post is reporting that seven local ABC affiliates owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group have chosen not to air tonight's episode of Ted Koppel's nightly newsmagazine, which will be comprised solely of the anchor reading the names and displaying the photos of the 737 American troops who have perished thus far in Iraq.

In a statement on their website, the Sinclair Broadcast Group explains the "boycott" decision thusly:

Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq.

There is no organization that holds the members of our military and those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country in higher regard than Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Likewise, there is no organization that holds the members of the free press and those journalists who have embedded themselves (and befriended subsequently-fallen troops in Iraq) in higher regard than we do here at low culture, so, in fitting tribute, we are hereby displaying the names and station ID's of those affiliates that have "fallen" in the war on fair and accurate reporting.

WSYX, Columbus, Ohio

WEAR, Pensacola, Florida

WLOS, Asheville, North Carolina

WXLV, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

WGGB, Springfield, Massachusetts

KDNL, St. Louis, Missouri

WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia

Posted at 11:51 AM in a Grave fashion.
It's Legally Blonde Meets the Bell Jar!

wurtzel.jpgThat Courtney Love of the lit world, Elizabeth Wurtzel tells Fox 411s Roger Friedman that she plans to attend Yale Law School come September. In a low culture exclusive, we have obtained Wurtzel's successful application essay. Enjoy.

Question #10: Please add to this application whatever additional material you believe will enable admissions readers to make a fully informed judgment on your application. The admissions file readers especially welcome statements that enable them to understand the contribution your personal background would make to the student body at Yale Law School.

Extremely Personal Essay
by Elizabeth Wurtzel

The joke's on me, but it's gonna be okay
If I can just get through this lonesome day
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
"Lonesome Day" Bruce Springsteen

It's been hard, I won't deny it. And no, it's not alright.

I must have been eleven, maybe twelve, possibly thirteen, when it struck me: I had never been molested, never raped, barely even made the object of a lascivious gaze. Indeed, I had been victimized by my own lack of victimization. Where was my victimhood? It was then that it struck me, at age eleven, maybe twelve, I would have to victimize myself.

It hasn't been easy, I won't deny it. I have suffered Job-like indignities in my relentless self-persecution.

I have survived dark nights of the soul when I forced myself to do drugs so that I might wake up the next morning suffering from the depression that excessive cocaine use often induces. Do you know what is like when you have to do an eight-ball of prime Colombian just to feel shitty? Really great at first, but then, not very good at all.

There were my desperate prayers for cancer. You cannot understand the compulsive, hopeful search for a lump until you've been there, standing in the shower, madly palpating each of your breasts as you murmur the word "melanoma." I have been there.

It got to the point where I began spinning in circles for hours a day, if only to mimic the dizzy spells of a tertiary syphilitic.

I have been portrayed by Christina Ricci in a feature film that will never see the light of day. I mean, Christina Ricci? What about Scarlett Johansson or Kirsten Dunst or even Charlize Theron? No, Liz, we're going to have you played by a fat, whiny actress who can't even open a film. You can imagine what that's done to my self-esteem.

But through the suicide attempts, accusations of plagiarism, and flagging book sales, I have relied on one certainty -- my love of the law. Through all my whining, mewling, and caterwauls of privileged desperation, there has been only one constant -- my desire to attend Yale University Law School.

Ultimately, I am a woman, a bitch, a lover, a sinner and a saint. Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you, thank you silence. Pity me, poke me, admit me to Yale, just don't bother with goodbyes come morning. I can get through this lonesome day after all.

(N.B. I don't recommend assigning me any roommates.)

[Matt, big ups for the heads up]

Posted at 9:36 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  April 29, 2004
We rewrite, you decide


From "Bush Says He Answered All Questions From 9/11 Panel", the New York Times, April 29, 2004:

"Mr. Bush chuckled at the suggestion that he and Mr. Cheney had chosen to be interviewed together so they could prop each other up or prevent discrepancies in their answers. "If we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place," he said."

From Tim Russert's interview with Condoleezza Rice, NBC's "Meet the Press", March 14, 2004:

MR. RUSSERT: Will you testify under oath in public about September 11?

DR. RICE: Tim, this is not a matter of preference; this is a matter of principle. It has long been a legal and constitutional principle that assistants to the president, the presidential staff, do not testify before legislative bodies. But this is not a matter of preference. I have spent more than four hours with the commission going through the details about 9/11. I'm prepared to spend more time with the commission in discussion about whatever they'd like to know about September 11, but as a matter of principle, we cannot breach this wall between the legislature and the executive.

MR. RUSSERT: On September 11, there is a commission now in place which the administration originally resisted and also resisted extending the deadline. They now want to interview the president. He has said he'll only sit down with the chairman and co-chairman of the committee for one hour. Will the president meet with the full commission and will he do it for longer than an hour?

DR. RICE: The president, of course, is the president, and he does have a schedule to keep, but he has said that he will sit with the chairman and with the co-chairman and that he will answer whatever questions they have. And I'm quite certain he will take as long as they need to answer those questions.

MR. RUSSERT: Several hours, a day if they need?

DR. RICE: Well, I would hope that they would recognize that he's president and that people would be judicious in the use of his time.

MR. RUSSERT: John Kerry said, “The president has time to go to a rodeo but not spend time with the commission.'

DR. RICE: As I've said, Tim, I believe the president is prepared to spend whatever time they need to answer their questions, but I hope that people will be judicious with his time.

Posted at 3:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 28, 2004
Today's Journalism Lesson from the New York Post

Turning a press release into an article or caption is easy and fun. First, take a press release, say, for example, Gretchen Mol to Play the Title Role in Killer Films' THE BALLAD OF BETTIE PAGE; Financed by HBO, Film is Directed by Mary Harron, and Written by Harron and Guinivere Turner (from March 31, 2004).

Now, using your mouse, select the portion of the text you want to use and select 'Cut' from your 'File' menu. (There is a shortcut for this, but we only recommend that seasoned writers attempt to use that.)

Using the example press release, select the following text:

The most successful pin-up model of the 1950s, Page's legendary bondage photographs made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography, and turned her into one of the first American sex icons.

You may also want to scroll down in the press release and copy this portion:

The cast also includes Lili Taylor ("Casa de los babys"), David Strathairn ("Twisted"), Jonathan M. Woodward ("Pipe Dream"), Cara Seymour ("Gangs of New York"), Tara Subkoff ("The Cell") and Kevin Carroll ("The Secret Lives of Dentists").

Open a text-editing document and select 'Paste' from the 'File' menu. Now comes the hard part: editing. You'll want to add the name "Bettie Page" in that first sentence. You'll also want to shorten the second paragraph a bit. Also, you might want to write your own topical hook in the beginning, since this press release is a bit old.

Congratulations, you have an article or caption. To see the fruits of your labor, check out GORGEOUS GRETCHEN A CONEY EYEFUL in today's New York Post:

Actress Gretchen Mol dazzles yesterday as she struts her stuff while on location shooting "The Ballad of Bettie Page" in Coney Island.

In the film, the 31-year-old stunner plays the 1950s pinup girl whose legendary bondage photos made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography.

Dubbed the "Girl with the Perfect Figure," Page was one of America's first sex sirens.

She graced the pages of hundreds of magazines, including Playboy.

The flick also stars Lili Taylor and David Strathairn.

Earlier: How to Write An Obituary Without Breaking a Sweat

Posted at 10:13 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 27, 2004
How to revive flagging interest? Redesign!

By way of Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo, today's Washington Post features a story about the dishearteningly negative reception the "new and improved" national flag has been given by Iraqi citizens, who question why it was changed in the first place, and even if that were necessary, why the new design lost the traditional Arab-affiliated colors of red, green, and black.

Oh, and this last point apparently didn't help things much, either: Iraq's new flag is in many ways a dead ringer for Israel's flag.

According to the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, the new flag is the work of an Iraqi artist named Rifaat Chaderchi, and was selected from a pool of a whopping 30 entries.

Most aesthetes agree: worst product redesign since the old Brawny Man was reinvented as the new, de-gayed Brawny Man (who, incidentally, now looks suspiciously like an Israelite).

Posted at 5:15 PM in a Grave fashion.
Dying Young

tobyYoung.jpgAlright, this posting is a few days late (in the blog world an eternity), but Toby Young's Slate diary was too infuriating to go ignored. For those of you unaware, Slate's diary is kind of like MTV's Diary for old people who are nowhere near as famous, and Toby Young is a bald media gadfly who has made a name for himself by being obnoxious. Based on Young's entries, however, he's taking his trademarks - contrived spite and pseudo-impudence - up a notch.

There's Monday's diary in which Young very nearly asks Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to sue him. That's because Young's novel-in-progress, Starmageddon, actually uses the duo as characters! And from the sound of Young's new novel, it's pretty clear he's designed the plot to hit as many media flashpoints as possible - the Holocaust, celebrity culture, post-Apocalyptic America, and right-wing demagoguery. Young is practically daring you to ignore this book.

And then Tuesday's diary, in which Young offers this remarkable insight into L.A. (he's been there a little over a week):

In the same way that other cities have been ravaged by certain drugs, L.A. is in the grip of a fame epidemic. Like cocaine, it used to be the drug of choice for a privileged few, but now it's gone mainstream, often in a very adulterated form. The kind of notoriety that comes from appearing on a reality show, for instance, is the equivalent of crack.

Among other revelations Young dishes up: celebrities get big trailers; these celebrities also receive other big perks; Young used to live with Euan Rellie, aka Mr. Lucy Sykes (he also used to live with Sophie Dahl - presumably he didn't find these apartments on Craig's List).

Onto Wednesday's diary entry and more juicy L.A. dirt! Apparently, people in Los Angeles like to drive S.U.V.'s. And somehow Young gets even more repellant - he and his wife honeymooned in Los Angeles.

Thursday's entry - comparing L.A. restaurants with London restaurants - actually isn't so bad, so let's just ignore this one entirely.

I'm not sure what happens in Friday's installment. I got through the first paragraph before the bile - the product of disgust and, yes, low-level envy - started to choke me.

Years ago, I met Mr. Young several times at MaryLou's - insofar as you met anyone at MaryLou's - and he seemed pleasant, if a bit self-promoting. Who would have thought the guy would get sober (relatively) and then turn into an asshole?

Posted at 1:12 PM in a Shallow fashion.
The old standby

kerry_stand.jpgIn response to a foolishly hypocritical (and, of course, highly manipulative, and, therefore, effective) media campaign of Republican party attacks on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's record as a Vietnam War veteran, including Bush communications mastermind-cum-housewife-cum-communications mastermind Karen Hughes' nonsensical "did he or didn't he" questioning of Kerry's disposal of military "ribbons" or "medals" after returning home in 1971, the war veteran came out with his swift boat's fifty-caliber machine guns metaphorically blazing.

His weapon of choice? The declaration that "I'm not going to stand for it," which, unfortunately, Senator Kerry seems to stand for all too often when it comes to defending his Vietnam war record.

April, 2004:

"This is a controversy that the Republicans are pushing," Mr. Kerry said on "Good Morning America" on ABC. "The Republicans have spent $60 million in the last few weeks trying to attack me, and this comes from a president and a Republican Party that can't even answer whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. I'm not going to stand for it."

February, 2004:

"If they're going to try to question my commitment to the defense of our country, then I'm going to fight back," Kerry said at a February campaign event. "Because they did that to Max Cleland ... and I'm not going to stand for it."

February, 2004:

"Defense of nation is exactly that. Yes, that's exactly what they did. They put Osama bin Laden's photograph up with Max Cleland Cleland and suggested he was weak--Max Cleland, weak--on the defense of our nation. Now here's a man who left three of his limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam. To have someone who, you know, has never served suggest that someone who has is weak on defense is simply unacceptable, and I'm not going to stand for it."

And in the interest of the "equal time rule," Bush, too, has been known to wield this same principled "stand" on occasion, including in his remarks on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security at the National Republican Senatorial Committee Annual Dinner.

September, 2002:

"Unfortunately, some senators -- not all senators, but some senators -- believe it is best to try to micromanage the process, believe the best way to secure the homeland is to have a thick book of regulations which will hamstring this administration and future administrations from dealing with an enemy that could care less about thick books of regulations. Unfortunately, some in the Senate -- not all in the Senate -- want to take away the power that all Presidents have had since Jimmy Carter. And I'm not going to stand for it."

Come on, guys, mix it up a bit.

"I will not tolerate that." Or, "I gaze upon these mistruths, and I see that which battles honesty, and I do declare myself to be decidedly antagonistic towards this selfsame deception, such that I verily seek to destroy, nay, annihilate said behavior." Or maybe just "I am so against this shit."

Posted at 11:36 AM in a Grave fashion.
  April 26, 2004
The Right Address, Parents, Education, et al.

From the Times' Sunday Styles:

And this week will bring the publication of "The Right Address," by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman. Their novel skewers a certain kind of woman found on the Upper East Side whose only ambition is to preside over benefit dinners (even if she goes to so many she cannot remember from night to night if she is at the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Ball or the Food Allergy Ball), and to have her tiny, shiny-face photograph appear in the party pages of any magazine.

# of photos of Carrie Karasyov, nee Doyle, featured in New York Social Diary: 14

# of photos of Jill Kargman, nee Kopelman, featured in New York Social Diary: 18

# of photos of Jill Kargman, nee Kopelman, featured in Wire Image: 4

While we could mutter at some length about how satire is traditionally used to skewer those more powerful than you, we will refrain from commenting on making fun of those who dare to aspire toward one's own lofty perch.

[Oddly, Jill Kargman's apartment was also featured in Sunday's Real Estate section.]

Posted at 2:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 23, 2004
Tru(deau) Life: I Want a Famous Face

Although some voices have deemed this week’s Doonesbury too violent for the comics page, others have praised its realistic (though cartoonish) depiction of wartime Iraq. But where discord is sown, low culture offers peace. What follows is a revised Doonesbury for the week of April 19-23, 2004, designed to appeal to more popular tastes and delicate, war-resistant sensibilities.

It’s sure to please everyone, and unlike the war itself, offend no one.

MONDAY's revised strip (click thumbnails to enlarge):

TUESDAY's revised strip:

WEDNESDAY's revised strip:

THURSDAY's revised strip:

FRIDAY's revised strip:

Posted at 9:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 22, 2004
Separated at Pitching Meeting

James Brown: Funny, times two.

Ah, Spring, when a young humor writer's thoughts turn towards... James Brown? Don't ask us why, but for whatever reason, The Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Showbiz inspires some of April's best humor writing.

Take for example, this item from this week's Onion, Why Can't This Family Ever Have A Funky Good Time by one "Tomi Rae Brown":

Maceo! I said Maceo! Uh, Maceo! Don't just keep saying "what," boy. Go get that pecan pie out the kitchen. Take it into the living room. We gonna have a funky good time, and I don't want you starting off before everyone. Bring the pie here. Right here. Everybody grab a piece—don't be greedy now. We family, after all. There's enough of this pie to go around. That's right, y'all. Enough pie for all! Pecan pie! Mother-made pie! Good pie! Damn good!

Funny shit, right?

We were laughing so hard, we almost forgot about Papa's Got a Brand New Play that ran in Spy Magazine back in April 1995. That was funny, too:

Steve: Oh Baby, Don't You Weep. I Can't Help It (I Just Do-Do-Do). (1964, 1965)

Caldonia: There Must Be a Reason -- What Kind of Man ... Keep On Doin' What You're Doin'? (1959, 1968, 1971)

Steve: Got No Excuse. I'm a Greedy Man. And I Do Just What I Want. [looks off wistfully into the distance] Sometimes That's All There Is. (1965, 1971, 1960, 1980)

Caldonia: I'll Never Let You Break My Heart Again. [she gets up, goes inside the house, and comes back out, carrying a suitcase.] I Won't Be Back. (1972, 1964)

Steve: Baby Baby Baby. Hold It. [jumps to his feet and takes her arm.] You Don't Have to Go. Stay with Me. I've Got to Change. I'll Work It Out. Stop and Think It Over. (1964, 1961, 1962, 1981, 1963, 1968, 1965)

Caldonia: Tell Me What You're Gonna Do. (1964)

Steve: I Need Your Love So Bad. [caresses her cheek.] I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow. (1975, 1969)

Yes, the Godfather giveth. And giveth. But only in April, apparently.

Posted at 3:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Page Six's union sympathies: International Brotherhood of Typo Writers

From the New York Post, Page Six, April 22, 2004:

The union has set a May 2 deadline for reaching a new contract. "I came out of the meeting thinking there could be a strike," said one writer.

The A-list participants at the closed-door powwow were David Kepp, who just got $3.5 million for penning "Zathura," the sequel to "Jumanji"; Richard LaGravenese, whose credits include "The Fisher King" and "Bridges of Madison County"; Tom Gilroy, "The Bourne Identity"; Stephen Schiff, "Lolita"; Brian Kopelman and David Levien, the partners behind "Rounders" and "Runaway Jury"; Robert Benton, "Kramer vs. Kramer"; Nora ("Sleepless in Seattle") Ephron and her husband Nick ("Goodfellas") Pileggi; and James Shamus, the head of the Writers Guild East who wrote "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "The Hulk."

Four typos in one sentence! Nice work, guys. In a non-union shop, the Post would have substituted "David Koepp" for their "David Kepp," "Tony Gilroy" for their "Tom Gilroy," "Brian Koppelman" for their "Brian Kopelman," and "James Schamus" for their "James Shamus."

Posted at 11:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.

Pottery Barn claimed yesterday that its stores in fact do not use the “You break it, you buy it' policy. While this should prove adequate to blow the lid off that lying buffoon Bob Woodward, what will become of Colin Powell's catchy slogan for geopolitical strife? low culture provides some alternatives:

Ikea Rule: Some assembly is required
Olive Garden Rule: When you're here, you're family
Starbucks Rule: Contents may be extremely hot
Dominos Rule: Delivered in thirty minutes or it's free
Outback Steakhouse Rule: No rules, just right
Burger King Rule: Your way, right away
Pringles Rule: Once you pop, you can't stop
Visa Rule: And they don't take American Express
Ja Rule Rule: Holla Holla
Crunch Rule: No handjobs in the steam room

Posted at 9:08 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 21, 2004
low culture's Only American Idol Post Ever

quartet.jpgFor American Idol contestants, the competition has officially turned cruel - and we're not talking about Simon's poorly scripted barbs. No, the indignities these kids suffer is the result of Idol's “Theme Weeks,' in which songs are culled from one songwriter's oeuvre.

Could it get more sadistic than forcing Idol finalists to sing music from Neil Sedaka and Barry Manilow? Aside from the obvious fact that the music's as bland as gets, six of the seven remaining Idol finalists are nowhere near white. And no one is going to mistake Week 12 songstress Elton John for a black man anytime soon.

Making George Huff sing country music, as Idol did on Week 10, doesn't help anyone. Sure, there might be some entertainment to be gleaned from watching a Southern black man singing about redneck America, but American Idol sure as hell isn't the venue.

Posted at 10:27 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 20, 2004
Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 4


From the Associated Press, "Bush Touts Patriot Act, Raises GOP Funds", April 20, 2004:

President Bush speaks in support of the Patriot Act at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, April 20, 2004. Listening to President Bush, from left to right, John Moslow, Chief of Police, Amherst, N.Y., Michael Battle, U.S. Attorney, Western, N.Y., Larry Thompson, former Deputy Attorney General, James McMahon, Director of Public Security, N.Y., Peter Ahearn, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Buffalo, N.Y.
Posted at 3:09 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Girly-Boys Gone Wild

Wimp.jpg It is clear -- the time has come for the MetroSexual Anti-Defamation League. As this casting call should reveal, those simpering, moisturizing girly-boys are about to be subjected to the sadistic imaginations of reality show producers. Have we learned nothing from Playing It Straight?

We're looking for guys, 21-35, to star in an upcoming reality series for a major cable network. He just needs to be for adventure -- and extremely UN-manly.


We want to hear about any guy you'd consider extremely UN-manly -- the guy who needs to get in touch with his more primal side (and has a sense of humor). It could be a mamma's boy, metrosexual, or minivan-driving carpool dad. Think George Costanza, Frasier Crane or Raymond without the whole everyone loving him part. Any version of modern emasculated man will be more than welcome. Be creative and have fun with it! To spark your imagination, here are a few examples:

Ladies, it could be your
...husband who's painted NASCAR stripes on the minivan.
...new-age vegan ex who's been so busy trying to save the world, he's never experienced it.
...metrosexual boyfriend who thinks he's prettier than you.

Guys, it could be
...the one guy that you and your buddies all think needs to grow a set.
...your old friend who's serving time as a middle manager in a suburban office park.
...your trust fund college roommate who's never had to work a day in his life.
...the guy in the office who's over 30, still lives at home and has his clothes laid out for him. He may or may not be a virgin.

Interested applicants or angry wimps can find more information here. We're assuming the show will air on FX.

Posted at 12:32 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Escalation of the Unwilling

coalition_map.gifWhat a week, eh? It's not yet "Humpday," but in the past 48 hours, the Bush administration has had to endure three distinct diplomatic blows at the hands of international allies. The term "allies", of course, refers to nations that at one point agreed with the U.S. administration's ideology on issues of global relations - that is, until they realized they'd been manipulated, lied to, and disingenuously dealt with.

SPAIN: "Spain's new leader firm on Iraq"

Spain's new leader is standing firm in his pledge to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq, despite U.S. and British pressure...Last week, Zapatero rejected an appeal from U.S. President George W. Bush to stand by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

HONDURAS: "Honduras to pull troops out of Iraq"

The US-led coalition in Iraq suffered its second defection in 24 hours yesterday when Honduran President Ricardo Maduro said he would withdraw his nation's 368 troops "as soon as possible".

JORDAN: "Jordan's King Delays Bush Meeting, Cites Mideast Stance"

Jordan's King Abdullah postponed a meeting with President Bush scheduled for tomorrow, citing concerns about Washington's position on the Middle East peace process, officials said yesterday.

Wait! Don't forget this extra-special bonus round of glum spirits and/or outright defections:

THAILAND: "Honduras to pull out troops, and Thais look shaky"

The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said of his troops: "If we get hurt or killed, I will not keep them there." The Thai Senate began a debate yesterday on a resolution calling for the troops to come home.

THE PHILIPPINES and SOUTH AMERICA: (also from "Honduras to pull troops out of Iraq", referenced above)

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo said she was "unlikely" to withdraw 100 soldiers and police officers stationed in Iraq. Mrs Arroyo, who faces a tight election on May 10, has been slammed by opposition politicians for the Iraq commitment.

"She loves President Bush more than her countrymen," Senate candidate Juan Ponce Enrile said.


The Honduran troops are attached to the Spanish regiment in Iraq, along with 374 Salvadoran and 302 Dominican troops who are due to go home in July. Nicaragua's 115 troops left Iraq in February and were not replaced.

These weak-willed foreign leaders, so clearly cowering in their boots, having been influenced by the Madrid terror attacks...Oh, wait, that was just Spain, and their voting population was already 90 percent against their nation's policy in Iraq before last month's presidential election, and that was before former President (and Bush ally) Jose Maria Aznar's administration lied to the public about Basque separatist responsibility for the terror attacks.

The American public, meanwhile, can rest assured that we must be getting the "correct" news, as opposed to all this discouraging foreign nonsense about dishonesty and deception, since a CNN/USA Today poll released Monday shows President Bush leading presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry by 51 percent to 46 percent in a survey of likely voters taken this past weekend.

Posted at 12:18 PM in a Grave fashion.
  April 19, 2004
Whack Attack

Ever since Sylvia Plath tortured Esther in The Bell Jar, female magazine editors (FMEs) have been a favorite staple of television and film alike. Perhaps inspired by Tina Brown's previous incarnation as a success, screenwriters have turned to the FME with increasing frequency in recent years. And with Friday's release of 13 Going On 30, featuring yet another FME, only one question remains - what have they named the fake magazine where Jennifer Garner is fake employed? If history is any indication, we can be certain of one thing - it will have an awful title. Confer:

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - Composure Magazine
High Art - Frame Magazine
Office Killer - Constant Consumer
Six Days, Seven Nights - Dazzle Magazine
Just Shoot Me - Blush Magazine
Central Park West - Communique

Unfortunately, the best fake magazine title ever committed to celluloid doesn't make the FME cut. That honor goes to the Three Stooges short-lived gig as photographers for Whack Magazine. “Whack's' slogan? “If it's a good picture, it's out of Whack.'

Posted at 2:57 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Profiles in Coverage (Uppage)

bush as kennedy

Posted at 12:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
Tina Brown's worst dinner party ever

"Would you please pass the apocalypse?"

Artwork taken from the April 19, 2004 issue of the TIME 100 ("our list of the 100 most influential people in the world today").

And sitting next to Hillary Clinton in the foreground...what the hell did Jeff Jarvis do to get invited?

Posted at 11:32 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 3

Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 20, 2004:

Because of an editing error, an article by Julie Flaherty in yesterday's Business section, "Many Started Web Logs for Fun, But Bloggers Need Money, Too," accidentally misstated the number of internet users who read Web logs, or blogs. The article claimed that blogs "are frequented by only about 10 percent of people who use the Internet." The corrected sentence should have said, "are frequented by only about 10 people who use the internet." The Times regrets the error.
Posted at 10:28 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  April 16, 2004
Dorff on Britney


If you were dating Dorff, you'd kill yourself too.

[Click on Dorff for the full video.]

Posted at 11:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
I'm Lovin' Shit

munchright.jpgIn a major press conference yesterday, McDonald's, alongside Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, unveiled a new line of "Go Active" meals - the fast-food giant's response to having created a nation of fatties. Not only will these adult "Happy Meals" contain bottled water, McDonald's will also include a brochure encouraging adults to walk more. With this bold move McDonald's has made it clear - the obesity epidemic ends here. Or as Secretary Tom Tom put it, "It's important to recognize companies doing the right thing."

If McDonald's adult campaign is anywhere near as exhaustive or successful as their children's crusade, we may be certain that "Go Active" will have absolutely no impact at all. graindudes.jpgThe What's On Your Plate program encourages kids to stay fit through a variety of techniques intended to teach them "how to maintain a balanced diet and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. By talking to kids in their language, [it] tackles important questions such as, 'Is it ok to eat cake everyday?' and 'Why does mom want me to eat all different foods?'" That's right, the important questions.

"What's On Your Plate's" mascot is Willie Munchright, who looks more like he should feature in an animated version of Super Size Me than any anti-obesity campaign. Pasty and pale Master Munchright has dark bags under his eyes; he also appears to be losing his hair. He's a kind of Edward Gorey vision of the average McDonald's consumer. But with answers like these appearing on the McDonald's website, who could be surprised that little Willie's HDL might be a little high?

Q: Can McDonald's food be part of a healthy, balanced diet?
A: Yes. Many nutrition professionals agree that McDonald's food can be part of a healthy diet based on the sound nutrition principles of balance, variety and moderation.

Q: What role does fast food play in obesity?
A: Health experts the world over - including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Dietetic Association - agree that no single factor is responsible for obesity.

On May 6, "Go Active" meals will be available in McDonald's nationwide. And if these exciting steps forward really do change America's eating habits, we can all look forward to a summer filled with even more toned hardbodies than usual.

Posted at 9:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
As Seen on Cinemax After Dark...

From an interview with Alexandra Robbins, author of Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities:

[The sorority] had a tradition called boob ranking where pledges had just a limited amount of time to strip off their shirt and bras to examine each other topless so that by the time the clock was up, they were basically lined up in order of chest size in order of [sic] the sisters to inspect. Some sororities hold what they call "naked parties," during which after a few drinks sisters and pledges strip off their clothes and basically run around the house naked, some of them hooking up with each other before they let the boys in.

Posted at 8:21 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 15, 2004
"If I had prepared, my answer would be 'You are dead, young lady'"


During today's visit to Red China, Vice President Cheney spoke at Shanghai's Fudan University, using the opportunity to praise China's economic reforms that have enabled the monstrously large nation to be less "red" and more, well, "red" in their approach to free markets and capitalism.

Oh, there was also some stuff about the need to bring a genuine democratic movement over there, as well. As we've seen, spreading democracy, of course, is the central theme of the Bush 43 Administration, even though this leitmotif may not have effectively seeped into the mindset of those students handpicked to engage in the eventual question-and-answer session:

The students, asking polite and respectful questions, did not pick up on Cheney's theme of democracy, choosing instead to ask about economic and regional issues, such as the U.S. sales of arms of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.

To laughter, however, one student showed a keen understanding of inter-administration politics. "It is said you are the the most powerful vice president in U.S. history," she asked. "I ask, how do you play a role in the Bush administration?"

"That is not a question I had anticipated," Cheney said.

Posted at 3:13 PM in a Grave fashion.
How to replace your lesbian daughter

"Yay! Souvenirs!"

...bring back a newly-adopted daughter from your trip to China!

Or per VH1's "Best Week Ever": Upgrade? Downgrade?

Posted at 11:09 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  April 14, 2004
Bush's Iraqi Playbook/Playbill


From President Bush's televised press conference, April 13, 2004:

We're at war. Iraq is a part of the war on terror. It is not the war on terror; it is a theater in the war on terror. And it's essential we win this battle in the war on terror. By winning this battle, it will make other victories more certain in the war against the terrorists.

And for a rational, in-depth, and nuanced take on these theatrics, read Fareed Zakaria's piece in Newsweek, April 19, 2004:

The date, June 30, is less important than the entity to which power is transferred. If that new government is seen as an American puppet, then challenges to it will persist, and America will find itself propping up an unpopular local regime that is doomed to fail. And that dilemma reminds one not of the British in Iraq, but of the United States in Vietnam.
Posted at 5:27 PM in a Grave fashion.
Murdoch Mashup Madness!


As with any good remix, this record comes with multiple tracks...

Trimming Bush
Cut and Paste Press Conference
Right Wing Slash Fiction

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Grave fashion.
Banking on the West Bank

quiznos_logo.jpgFrom Ad Age, April 12, 2004:

Commercial messages have seeped into the plots of movies, the very fabric of TV shows and video games, and even into the plots of novels. But that may have been just the beachhead. Now a growing number of marketers want to persuade the nation's print magazines to open the text of their editorial pages to product placements.

From The New York Review of Books, April 29, 2004:

The Disintegration of Palestine
By Edward R.F. Sheehan

Nablus is a pleasing city, the most populous in the West Bank. A visitor is struck by the limestone dwellings on verdant mountainsides that surround the ancient town. These limestone bricks, as smooth as Norah Jones' new album “Feels Like Home,' glimmer under the inescapable sun of the West Bank. The city is now inhabited by nearly 200,000 Palestinians, suffering badly from the Israeli occupation and the growing disintegration of their society.

Since mid-December 2003, the Israeli army has intensified its incursions, seeking suspected terrorists, militants of Hamas, and munitions makers. In a campaign as curiously powerful as an Altoids mint, the Israelis have destroyed or badly damaged two mosques, three churches, and hundreds of other buildings and homes.

Walking through the old city I saw shops, insecticide factories, and pharmaceutical factories, all turned into heaps of rubble. An entire city block that housed a soap factory has been leveled. It is a landscape that only a Range Rover could handle - its Dynamic Stability Control and Electronic Air Suspension offering the driver a smooth and stable ride over the leveled homes that once sheltered militants and innocent families alike.

This is drama as powerful as the WB's breakout hit One Tree Hill - but Nablus' drama doesn't feature that show's hunky Chad Michael Murray. On a street in the Balata refugee camp, where I met many undernourished children, a boy of six was eating a sandwich - perhaps one of Quizno's deliciously toasted subs - on his doorstep when a soldier shot him dead for no reason. The Israeli army promised to investigate the killing, but so far has issued no findings.

Like Visa Cards, the Israeli Army is everywhere you want to be. I left Nablus on the road to Qalandiya, about twenty miles to the south. At a junction, soldiers at a mobile checkpoint suddenly appeared, and my shuttle taxi was ordered to stop. An Israeli soldier with a pistol advanced on us, ordering us out of the car, followed by another soldier with an assault rifle pointed at our heads. Clearly, the Israeli army attempts to offer the kind of protection that only Soft & Dri's Cool Gel could provide. When our group set out again for Qalandiya, the Palestinians with me were silent. Were they resigned to such humiliation, or was their anger so deep that they could no longer express it? The only certainty on which I could rely was the knowledge that Clinique's Repairware Day SPF 30 Intensive Cream would protect my complexion from the cruel sun of Israel.

Abed Rabbo is not optimistic. "I don't know whether the initiative will succeed," he told me in Ramallah. “We'll keep trying. I want the United States to be involved under the ‘road map' and consider the Geneva Accord to be the embodiment of the third phase of the road map—a final Palestinian state. [As I shaved this morning, using the glorious Mach 3 razors offered by the great and glorious Gillette, I realized that] I'm against any provisional borders. We want to go straight to the final phase. [Do you have any of those Cool Ranch Doritos left? Truly they are delicious.] We think that interim solutions cannot succeed. [You have the Guacamole Doritos? I didn't even know they made those. Oh, it is as if Allah himself resides in my mouth!] The chief virtue of our plan is its clarity—it's comprehensive and without ambiguity.'

Al-Omari and his associates argue that the accord signifies a new and realistic approach for the Palestinians to follow. Chappelle's Show - still Dave, still Dangerous - Wednesdays 10:30 pm, only on Comedy Central. Many Palestinians had clung to the old fantasy of liberating all of Palestine, eliminating Israel, and allowing a huge return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Unleash your style with Garnier Fructis Super Stiff Gel! The new plan looks not backward but forward, relinquishing absolute justice (a large-scale return) in favor of self-determination and independence in a state that would constitute 22 percent of historic Palestine. Al-Omari said, "There is no going back to Haifa."

Is it inconceivable to make real the language of the Geneva Accord—that Israelis and Palestinians will "establish relations based on cooperation and the commitment to live side by side as good neighbors, ENLARGE YOUR PENIS NOW!!! aiming both separately and jointly to contribute to the well being of their peoples"? Nearly everything one sees in the Occupied Territories casts doubt on this Carb Blocker is THE ONLY All-in-One Carb/Fat Blocker vision. Only the fact of the accord itself having been negotiated and signed offers a glimpse of hope.

Posted at 9:45 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  April 13, 2004
Frankly, baffling


From "Rage Inside the Machine: MTV News star Gideon Yago incites young voters" by Joy Press, in the April 13, 2004 issue of the Village Voice:

"Suddenly I was reading Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Jack Kerouac, H.L. Mencken—all these writers who saw America as half monster, half angel."

When asked if he's able to put any of those influences into his current job, Yago shrugs. "I try to. But I work for MTV; I know what our role is. We're doing Civics 101." He says his own taste runs more toward cultural critics like Baffler editor Thomas Frank, and claims that The Baffler's 1997 book Commodify Your Dissent "was a big reason I went to work at MTV in the first place."

Incidentally, Carson Daly's favorite book was "Boob Jubilee", at least until he tried to read it.

Posted at 4:04 PM in a Shallow fashion.
He might be a "problem child" if he's 30 feet tall and made of plastic


The cover of New York magazine's April 19, 2004 issue, alongside this snippet from Yahoo! News:

Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his fiancee Mary Donaldson look at the Ron Mueck sculpture 'Boy' at The Aros Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark Wednesday April 7, 2004.
Posted at 1:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Insert pregnant pause for full dramatic contrast

ABOVE: Bush explains the need to invade Iraq in his 2003 SOTU address

From "An Iraqi intifada: Now the war is being fought in the open, by people defending their homes", by Naomi Klein for the Guardian, April 12, 2004:

But as the June 30 "hand-over" to Iraqi control approaches, Bremer now sees Sadr and the Mahdi as a threat that must be taken out - along with the communities that have grown to depend on them. Which is why stolen playgrounds were only the start of what I saw in Sadr City this week.

In al-Thawra hospital, I met Raad Daier, a 36-year-old ambulance driver with a bullet in his lower abdomen, one of 12 shots fired at his ambulance from a US Humvee. According to hospital officials, at the time of the attack, he was carrying six people injured by US forces, including a pregnant woman who had been shot in the stomach and lost her child.

Ten days earlier...

ABOVE: Bush signs Laci's Law into effect

From "Bush Signs 'Laci and Conner's Law'", FOXnews.com, April 02, 2004:

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Thursday signed into law a bill that would make it a separate crime to kill or harm an unborn child during an assault on the mother.

"As of today, the law of our nation will acknowledge the plain fact that crimes of violence against a pregnant woman often have two victims," Bush said before the signing of the measure.

"The death of an innocent unborn child has too often been treated as a detail in one crime but not a crime in itself," the president said.

Posted at 10:34 AM in a Grave fashion.
AP Writer is Unimaginative

Completely, totally, the worst headline ever run over a wire service, from an article by Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer:

Review: 'Kill Bill - Vol. 2' Is Stylized

Note: Yes, writers rarely come up with their own headlines. You're so damn insider.

Posted at 9:59 AM in a Shallow fashion.
She Must Have Meant a Different Russia

From Russian Fashion Week:


From the Times Sunday Styles, “In Russia, Class for the Masses':

…the models working the catwalks during Russian Fashion Week showed off collections that left behind the avant-garde, often downright odd designs that have long dominated Russian high fashion…Increasingly, subtle is in.

Subtle, like Amanda Lapore.

Posted at 9:37 AM in a Shallow fashion.
New York Second

marykateash.jpgAt last, the trailer for the upcoming Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen feature, New York Minute, has been released on the web. In keeping with the whole Two of a Kind theme, the trailer reveals, in stunning detail, just how frighteningly secondhand these gags are. Keeping in mind these are just from the trailer, here are a few examples.

Eugene Levy announces himself as a Nassau County Truancy Officer, drives a light blue Plymouth, and obsesses over his own white whale of a wayward student. Aside from the obvious Ferris Bueller ripoff, how did Eugene Levy become the de rigueur wacky old guy in teen movies?

A dog flies through an open window - a scene that might be familiar to any one of millions who have seen There's Something About Mary.

There is a fairly offensive looking Beauty Shop sequence, although New York Minute does manage to beat the Queen Latifah project to theatres by a couple months.

Eugene Levy crashes to the ground while attempting to stage dive. Presumably this is different from School of Rock's opening because Jack Black is fat and Eugene Levy is not.

While standing on scaffolding, Mary-Kate and Ashley drop precipitously down the side of a building, an almost shot-by-shot ripoff of The First Wives Club. Insult to injury, as the girls plummet to earth, the Olsens' towels remain suspiciously in place, certain to disappoint some.

MaryKateAshley slaps AshleyMaryKate, declaring, “Snap out of it!' -- more than recalling Moonstruck's big moment. Admittedly this scene appears to be more “reference' than “theft,' though who in the fuck among the teen demo is going get that?

The trailer ends with Levy singing the theme from Cops, a la Bad Boys II.

And the best part of all this “appropriation'? One of the screenwriters is actually named Bill Collage.

Posted at 12:16 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 12, 2004
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 2

Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 13, 2004:

Because of an editing error, a portion of former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's op-ed (For Ralph Nader, but Not for President, April 12, 2004) was printed incorrectly. The article stated: "Everyone expects this year's presidential election to be decided by razor-thin margins in a few battleground states. Everyone also expects the candidacy of Ralph Nader to make the race between John Kerry and George Bush even closer. As I know from experience, however, voters have a way of proving everyone wrong."

The last sentence, in its completed form, should have read in full, "As I know from experience, chickenshit voters have a way of trouncing on your dreams, spitting on your convictions, stabbing you in the back, pussying up with your peers who have stolen your message, and kicking you in the balls because they're cowards, and dullards, and good for nothing. They can all go to fucking hell for all I care." The Times regrets the error.

Posted at 4:12 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Gibson Resurrects Passion B.O.; Hair Next

See, if Mel Gibson were Jewish, he could fix that whole situation "up there" with a nice Yarmulka.

Mel's got it covered—the box office, that is.

This past Sunday, The Passion of the Christ's box office benefited not only from some great timing, but nimrods like this:

"I waited until today because today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead," said Linda Brown, 40, of The Bronx as she headed into the AMC Theatres Empire 25 in Times Square. "I thought it was appropriate to see this film instead of going to church."

And all we can say is, Thank god! Our screening of The Whole Ten Yards was wonderfully—blessedly—empty. And with the lack of laughs, it was quiet as a church.

Posted at 11:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Gravitas (or lack thereof)

bush_smiling.jpgThis is why they put Cheney on the ticket, right? Anyway...

Lines spoken by George W. Bush during which he smiled, grinned, or laughed (I've exempted instances of "chuckling" and "guffawing" out of ideological fairness):

April 12, 2004, defending the contents of his August 2001 PDB:

"Had I known there was going to be an attack on America, I would have moved mountains to stop the attack. And had there been actionable intelligence, we would have moved on it."

October 11, 2000, discussing his lack of support for a Texas hate crimes bill, during the second Presidential debate:

GOV. BUSH: No -- well what the vice president must not understand is we've got hate Crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment:

MR. LEHRER: But they were --

GOV. BUSH: -- the death penalty.

MR. LEHRER: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not?

GOV. BUSH: Well --

MR. LEHRER: In Texas

GOV. BUSH: -- all -- in this case, when you murder somebody, it's hate, Jim. The crime is hate. And they got the ultimate punishment. I'm not exactly sure you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty.

Wow, George, that's some funny shit. Try and save some material for the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner next year!

There is going to be a "next year," right?

Posted at 10:19 AM in a Grave fashion.
Queer Eye for an Eye

carson_pic.jpgThe Bible is the new bible of the self-help movement. In yesterday's Times Magazine, Rob Walker examined the phenomenal success of The Purpose-Driven Life, a Christianity-based guide to improving yourself. In turn, Sunday's New York Post gave readers a first look at The Maker's Diet, a weight-loss tome based on rules set forth in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And for those religious gym bunnies, there's always The Lord's Gym (via Slate), a fitness center founded on Christian principles.

Indeed the influence of the Bible can be found in the unlikeliest places -- the new self-helper from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for example. Surely those godless sodomites don't find inspiration in the Bible, right? Wrong. Just compare the two:

On grooming:

Then Moses said..."Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community."
Leviticus 10: 6

Hair is the most visible thing we can play with to change our appearance, so start on top. It's crucial to find a stylist you trust -- not only will they help you with a cool new haircut, they can also be a great source of expertise on how to style and care for it.
Kyan 92

Wine tasting:

There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
Matthew 27: 34

If it's corked, it will smell moldy, or taste like vinegar, or be revolting in some other fairly obvious fashion. If you think there's something terribly wrong with it, ask the wine steward to taste it.
Ted 45

On skin care:

After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD.
2 Samuel 12: 20

Look for a moisturizer that's free of fragrance and hypoallergenic if you have sensitive skin that's easily irritated. Lotion is the most common form of moisturizer, good for normal or combination skin.
Kyan 108

On lighting:

They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light...
Numbers 4: 9

I'd be happy with a dimmer on every light in the house -- they're crucial to modulating the mood of a space.
Thom 126

On decorating:

In your marketplace they traded with you beautiful garments, blue fabric, embroidered work and multicolored rugs with cords twisted and tightly knotted.
Ezekiel 27: 24

Go window-shopping -- wherever furniture is sold, just walk around and browse.
Thom 130

On belts:

This is what the LORD said to me: "Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water."
Jeremiah 13: 1

Personality starts in the crotch region. But you knew that. Get a vintage leather strap and find a belt buckle that says something about your personality.
Carson 179

On the thank you:

Then he will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 24: 13

If someone holds the door open for you, say thank you. No one will ever say that being too polite is rude, so when in doubt, express your appreciation.
Jai 216

On despair:

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-- which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15: 34

In the last year, American men have come to know and expect that the dramatic arrival of five impeccably dressed gay men at their door can mean only one thing: Their life is about to get more fabulous.
Introduction 11

Posted at 8:26 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 11, 2004
Creatively Ideological Ellipsing

classifieddocument02.jpgFrom the recently-declassified PDB (president's daily briefing) of August 6, 2001, which was received (and, presumably, read) by President Bush while vacationing on his ranch in Crawford, Texas:

Ellipses (or "dot dot dots" for all you non-grammar geeks) indicate either a) material omitted due to extant classified status, or b) material omitted to make this memo look way more deceptively damning than it already is in its original form (which, admittedly, is pretty portentous in and of itself, but still...).

"[G]overnment...reports indicate bin Laden...was planning...a terrorist strike in the U.S. ...and...maintains a support structure...in California...and...New York...for attacks.

...We have...been able to corroborate...reporting...that bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft...for...attacks...of...buildings in New York....[A] group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks...


Posted at 11:20 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  April 9, 2004
Perhaps the ark of the covenant can reveal his undisclosed location?


Posted at 3:20 PM in a Grave fashion.
Now put him to sleep

From the New York Daily News' Daily Dish, April 9, 2004:

Carson Daly is getting long in the tooth - old, that is - for the MTV crowd.

How old is he? So old, that at 31, he's going to get a Lifetime Achievement award at MTV's upcoming TRL Awards.

Posted at 1:09 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 8, 2004
(Not) Separated at Birth


With all due respect to former Senator Bob Kerrey.

KERREY: Dr. Clarke, in the spirit of further declassification...

RICE: Sir, with all...

KERREY: The spirit...

RICE: I don't think I look like Dick Clarke, but...


KERREY: Dr. Rice, excuse me.

RICE: Thank you.

Posted at 11:18 AM in a Grave fashion.
Identify Bush's Republican Party supporters




ANSWER: The top photo, only because the little brown folks in the bottom photo with Dubya aren't old enough to vote!

(Thanks to Matt at 1115.org for the "compassionate" photo link)

Posted at 10:38 AM in a Grave fashion.
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, vol. 1

Slated to appear on the New York Times' Corrections page, April 9, 2004:

Because of an editing error, we misidentified the author of an op-ed which appeared in Thursday's paper about Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and the growth of alternative rock music. The article was written by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, not Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore. The Times regrets the error.
Posted at 10:13 AM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  April 7, 2004
One pitches, the other catches (no flack)


This is surreal...even more surreal than former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer's ability to deliver press conferences from Bizarroland in which reporters' questions were asked, only to be deftly deflected by irrelevant non-answers. Flipping the tables a bit, and following the lead of his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, after throwing out the opening pitch for the Chicago Cubs-Cincinnati Reds game, spent a few minutes on Monday being interviewed from the radio booth by sports announcers Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall - while the game was in progress - resulting in perhaps the most bizarrely irrelevant back-and-forth to be made available on the White House's press transcript page since, well, ever.

Cheney on life at the White House:

Q: Is this a welcome break for you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It really is. I've got to go on tonight. I was in the White House this morning with the President. I've got a speech in New Orleans tonight, and I'll be back in the White House tomorrow. But, sure, to get a few hours out here at the ball park, it doesn't get much better than this.

Q: Kerry Wood at the plate, and a diving jab at the ball and knocked down by Castro. If he doesn't touch it, Larkin fields it, a run scores and it's a 5 to 2 ball game. So if Castro doesn't touch the ball, Larkin is right there. But he doesn't know that.

Cheney on current events, uncluding, presumably, the election and the situation in Iraq:

Q: A ball and a strike to Grudzielanek, and the stretch and the pitch: breaking ball drops in for a called strike, and a 1-2 count to Mark Grudzielanek. He is one for two this afternoon, has scored a run.

Q: Busy year for you folks, huh?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Looks that way.

Q: It sure does. (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: A lot of work going on, a lot of stuff happening around the world, and then, of course, the campaign on top of that.

Cheney on his campaign itinerary:

Q: So now you're in New Orleans tonight?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: In New Orleans tonight, and there's a Senate race down there next year, or this -- come November. And as I say, I'll be back in Washington late tonight, and then be in the office tomorrow. I'm out on the road usually a couple days a week. And then on Friday, I take off for Asia for a week.

Q: Lidle delivers, and Patterson a swing and a miss. And it's a 1-2 count to Corey Patterson.

Cheney on the economy:

Q: Are you pleased with the way things look as far as the economy is concerned?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am. I think all the signs are headed in the right direction.

Q: One-two pitch, swung on and missed. And Lidle picks up his second strike-out.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: And, of course, the employment numbers are looking good. We got those out last week. We've got some 400,000 jobs created here in the last couple of months, since the 1st of the year. So everything is, I think, moving in the right direction.

(via Al Kamen's article in the April 7, 2004 Washington Post)

Posted at 5:06 PM in a Grave fashion.
Basic math for Observer reporters

observer_egirl.jpgIn this week's Observer, author Jake Brooks reveals his close reading of Mark Ebner and Andrew Breitbart's recent trash-tome Hollywood Interrupted, as he rehashes one of that book's chapters for a follow-up piece entitled "You've Got Chutzpah! E-Girl Mines AOL Data for Hollywood Gold" about "an America Online customer-service representative named Heather Robinson who allegedly mined her employer's database for the e-mail addresses of numerous actors, producers and movie-industry operatives." The article goes on to examine the ways in which she flouted her online persona to sexually titillate and seduce these selfsame operatives.

But a close reading of Brooks' close reading reveals some room for, shall we say, "inaccuracies" on the part of Ms. Robinson and her story.

"It's going to be more a take on how these celebrities and politicians helped me. Mark [Ebner]'s chapter was more of a darker version," said the 25-year-old Ms. Robinson with a staccato laugh. "This one is going to be more lighthearted," she added, "showing how I went from a customer-service rep at AOL to selling a screenplay and now producing my first screenplay."

Fair enough. It's 2004, right, and she's 25 years old. Continuing, we learn that

According to Ms. Robinson, for the period of roughly a year and a half in 1997 and 1998, she used her position at AOL to gain access to private information regarding celebrities, then sought them out.

Hmmm. OK, so in 1997, at the tender and inexperienced age of 18, she was a customer-service representative for AOL. Sounds like a bit of a stretch, potentially, if, in fact, AOL, the largest internet service provider at that point in time, was hiring recent high-school graduates to talk customers through installation issues and dial-up problems.

Oh, but we learn more:

She went by the screen name HooterR. Her member profile, which can still be found on AOL, identifies her as a single wine-lover splitting her time between Tucson, Ariz., and Santa Monica, Calif. And her personal quote—of her own making—sounds like the slogan from an old 70's T-shirt: "God Created Women with Breasts to Hold Beer."

Again, this is an 18-year-old. Old enough for agents to sleep with, certainly, but not to be pouring champagne all over her bosom before they climb on top of her. Though she was still apparently old enough to sell her first script, The Perfect Man, which

is scheduled to start production on April 26, with Hilary Duff in the starring role. It's about a teenager who lies and steals to create a fictitious suitor for her single mother. The movie is loosely based on another of Ms. Robinson's adventures in the virtual world—this one with real legal consequences. When she was 16, Ms. Robinson was arrested, along with a high-school friend, for purchasing a diamond ring for her mother that cost close to $4,000 with stolen credit cards. Because her friend lifted the plastic and doctored the ID herself, Ms. Robinson was charged only as an accomplice. And since she didn't have a prior record, the charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and she was sentenced to 120 hours of community service.

So she was arrested and charged as an accomplice to stealing credit cards at the age of 16...all the way back in 1995, a mere two years before being hired as a customer-service rep for AOL. This alone is almost enough to cause one to become a proponent of outsourcing these sorts of tech-service jobs to India, right?

Meanwhile, with Hilary Duff slated to star as Ms. Robinson in the former AOL employee's first upcoming autobiographical film, we have the perfect suggestion for the role of Observer writer Jake Brooks in the eventual first-person adaptation of the events following the production of this film: Hayden Christensen.

Posted at 11:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
No Nose Jobs


Gisele Bundchen, bridging the years

Posted at 3:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The New A&F

afvase.jpgAbercrombie & Fitch has released its Summer catalogue, their first since the execrable National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families managed to have the magalog shuttered. After the Christmas Issue was pulled, the “Spring Break' issue never even made it to the stores. But in good news for the corporation, it looks like the reinvented, post-boycott A&F catalogue isn't going to ruffle any religious-right feathers. Below, a brief comparison between the two.

exposed female breasts in “Spring Break': 19
exposed female breasts in “Summer': 0

homoerotic embraces in “Spring Break': 7
homoerotic embraces in “Summer': 0

body hair visible in “Spring Break': negligible
body hair visible in “Summer': negligible

male buttocks in “Spring Break': 10
male buttocks in “Summer': 0

black models visible in “Spring Break': negligible
black models visible in “Summer': negligible

dolphins pictured in “Spring Break': 0
dolphins pictured in “Summer': 9

Posted at 2:07 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Miserable Scripts Love Company

Hollywood, it would seem, has caught spring fever. Both of these "Honeymoon with..." movies were logged today on Done Deal.

Title: Honeymoon With Harry
Log line: A man loses his fiancŽe two days before their wedding and must go on his honeymoon with his fiancee's father, who hates him, in order to scatter her ashes.
Writer: Bart Baker (author)
Agent: Mngr. Bob Sobhani at Zide/Perry Entertainment and atty. Mitch Smelkinson of Stone, Meyer, and Genow
Buyer: New Line Cinema
Price: Mid-six against low-seven figures
Genre: Drama-Comedy
Logged: 4/6/04
More: Unpublished first novel. Karz Entertainment's Mike Karz will produce. Karz's Russell Hollander will executive produce.


Title: Honeymoon With My Brother
Log Line: In the course of a month, a man is demoted from his executive job and dumped by his fiancee days before they are to walk down the aisle. He decides to hold the wedding anyway, followed by a honeymoon with his estranged brother, Kurt. The two men end up on a two-year adventure that takes them around the world.
Writer: Kevin Bisch
Agent: ICM
Buyer: Sony Pictures
Price: High six against low seven-figure
Genre: Comedy Adventure
Logged: 4/6/04
More: To be adapted from Franz Wisner's upcoming memoir. Gold/Miller's Eric Gold and Jimmy Miller to produce. Gold/Miller manager Julie Darmody brought the property to the company.

Truly, love is in the air.

Posted at 12:15 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 6, 2004
Playing catch with items lobbed in your direction


Regarding events of April 5, 2004, by way of the St. Francois County Daily Journal in Missouri:

ST. LOUIS (AP) - President Bush is getting the hang of throwing out first pitches. He tossed one in from the mound at Busch Stadium Monday, ceremonially opening the 2004 Major League Baseball season, and the catcher hardly had to move his mitt.

Bush said, in advance, "My wing isn't what it used to be."

But when he reared back and threw, the pitch was right in there. He also had said he planned to throw a "hopping fastball" to open the Brewers-Cardinals game, but it looked more like an off-speed pitch. The Cardinals' Mike Matheny caught it easily.

"It just goes to show you a guy can get lucky occasionally," Bush said afterward.

Regarding events of April 5, 2004, by way of the Washington Post:

In Baghdad's Kadhimiya district, meanwhile, three members of the Army's 1st Armored Division died in combat Monday and Tuesday.

One died from wounds received Tuesday when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Another was killed Monday when his convoy was attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The third died later in the day Monday during a firefight, the military announced Tuesday.

Posted at 3:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Paul "Bang-Bang" Bremer clears up some discrepancies


From the New York Times, "7 G.I.'s Killed in Iraq Fights Since Weekend, U.S. Says," April 6, 2004:

Mr. Bremer, in an interview on CNN today, vowed to arrest Mr. Sadr.

"He believes that in the new Iraq, like in the old Iraq, power should be with the guy who's got the guns, and that's an unacceptable vision for Iraq," he said.

Posted at 2:34 PM in a Grave fashion.
You must mean "Red"

hellboy_red.jpgQuickly: what color is Hellboy?

"...skin the inflamed, velvety hue of a baked ham,"
Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"...red as sin,"
Elvis Mitchell, New York Times

"...big order of tandoori chicken,"
J. Hoberman, Village Voice

Posted at 11:34 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Hard Boiled Eggers

eggersmic.jpgAs part of low culture's continuing commitment to you, the reader, we hoped that a summary of Dave Eggers' newest novel might come in handy. Taking our cue from The Guardian's Digested Reads and inspired by our dedication to you, the reader, we intended to provide brief summaries of the untitled novel as it is serialized in Salon. We at low culture, however, never quite anticipated how boring that task would prove.

Enter Microsoft Word's “AutoSummarize' feature. After plugging Episodes 1 through 18 into a Word doc, we simply let our PowerBook do the reading for us. What follows is the 275 word AutoSummary - it's not entirely coherent, but perhaps it will be of service to someone, somewhere.

"Bastards!" said Sergei.

Sergei said, as it took shape. Poor Little Nicky. Nicky whistled.

Sergei and Nicky had no blimp. "Fucking internet," Sergei muttered. Sergei turned to Nicky. "See if there's another blimp."

Sergei sighed. Man, she was a hard woman. Stuart had started to speak. Stuart couldn't find a word. "Have you seen Sergei?" Stuart asked.

Stuart demurred.

Neither Jeannie knew exactly where Sergei was.

Each time Stuart caught someone's eye, he would extend his hand and smile. "Look who's here," Sergei said.

Little Nicky smiled like it hurt. Truth be told, Nicky didn't much like Stuart.

Stuart stopped looking impressed.

"That blimp is our enemy," Sergei said.

Stuart nodded. If Sergei used one exclamation point, he used three. Nicky said. "For state representative."

Sergei wondered. Stuart was running low on Wet Wipes.

Sergei feigned disinterest.

"Right, right," Sergei said, "he plays cards." Sergei grimaced. Sergei pleaded. Sergei asked.

Sergei asked.

Nicky whispered to Sergei. Nicky asked.

"I'm not calling Olongapo a boob," Stuart said.

Stuart stepped back. "Yikes," said Nicky.

Sergei thought Stuart's ease with people was amazing and wondered whence it came. Had Stuart run for office before, ever, even in high school? Stuart asked.

Rebecca Romaine was 45. Never. "Church," Rebecca said.

"Rebecca, you have to run."


Senate. Rebecca tried not to sputter. Rebecca said. Rebecca glanced down at his name tag: George Papadolopsolous.

Giacomo asked.

Rebecca considered the question rhetorical, but the young man was waiting for an answer.

Rebecca asked.

"I'm sorry," Rebecca said. Rebecca said.

"I'm intrigued," said a voice behind Rebecca. "I'm Giacomo. I'm running this campaign."

"Oh?" Rebecca smiled and then felt sick.

Rebecca checked her watch: 8:06. Rebecca thought. Giacomo sighed. "Rebecca, no! "Rebecca," said Giacomo.

Posted at 8:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Separated At Birth? Vol. 2

Ripley-esque George W. and Weirdo-esque John Malkovich

Posted at 2:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 5, 2004
Time to testify? Time for the fluff pieces

condi_fluffpiece.jpgOK, it's happened before when, during the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, Newsweek ran a puff piece on Condi Rice in its December 16, 2002 issue, under the headline "'The Real Condi Rice' The Most Powerful Woman In Washington Is Black, Brainy and Bush's Secret Weapon." That cover story, however, had at least a semblance of dignified and topical news content, unlike Maki Becker's "20 things about Condie: You probably didn't know this about Condoleeza Rice" in the April 4, 2004 New York Daily News.

Selected lowlights:

1. She's a fitness buff who likes to unwind by working out to music by heavy-metal legends Led Zeppelin, according to People magazine. She wakes up at 5 a.m. and hits the treadmill right away.

4. She loves to shop. "On a Sunday, don't be surprised if you see me at one of the malls in Washington, D.C.," she once told Glamour magazine.

7. While in high school, she was a competitive ice skater (l.).

13. She's a huge football fan and loves the Cleveland Browns. She's said her "dream job" would be NFL commissioner.

17. In February 2001, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters he was distracted the first time he met her. "I have to confess, it was hard for me to concentrate in the conversation with Condoleezza Rice because she has such nice legs."

Oh, and Maki? If you're going to christen the devil in shorthand like that, it's Condi and not fucking Condie. At least, that's how she signed my holiday greeting card.

Posted at 2:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, vol. 18


Posted at 12:06 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Quest Love

socbozo.jpgQuest Magazine (not to be confused with the bimonthly about living with neuromuscular disease) features in its April issue The Quest 400, their annual list of Manhattan's social elite. The 400, like all of Quest Magazine, does not concern itself with the sordid worlds of show business or pro sports (too many minorities, presumably). No, we are offered only an alphabetized list of Manhattan's Botox-Boomers, old-money layabouts and John Jacob Astor descendants.

The list was compiled by Quest editor David Patrick Columbia, also known for the dangerously compelling New York Social Diary. Unfortunately the good Mr. Columbia finds no need to explain why or how he determined who gets on the list and who's left out. In fact, all we get is a White Pages of people with last names like Biddle, Hearst and Pulitzer. Its complete lack of context recalls The Spy List -- Spy Magazine's mysterious column listing only a series of proper names.

As tribute to both of these formidable publications, we are proud to present

the low culture list

Montgomery Clift
Tatianna von Furstenberg
J.P. Getty
Brad Renfro
Horatio Sanz
Bijou Phillips
James Murdoch
Nia Vardalos

Posted at 8:40 AM in a Shallow fashion.
I Hate Him and Want Him To Die

frey_photo.jpgThe endlessly irritating James Frey is at it again. Today's issue of Black Table asks some writers for their thoughts on Kurt Cobain -- he killed himself (or did he?) ten years ago today. Frey's contribution is a little three-act about his ever-shifting opinion of Nirvana. From Act III:

On the first anniversary of his death, I went with a friend to a house in Wicker Park, Chicago. An altar had been set-up with Cobain's picture, some candles, a hypodermic, a bindle of dope and a small pile of letters addressed to him. A Nirvana disc was in the stereo. There were 10 or 12 people, several were crying...

My nausea had become unbearable, so I skimmed ahead. Spotting "lame," I felt some relief. But it was not to last:

At that moment, I stopped thinking Nirvana was lame. I stopped thinking Nirvana was a creation of MTV. I realized Cobain spoke for a lot of people, changed a lot of lives, touched an untold number. I bought In Utero the next day, listened to it. I realized maybe Cobain spoke for me as well.

Frey's little sampler of idiocy brings to mind Martin Amis' essay on John Lennon from Vising Mrs. Nabokov. Amazon won't let me "Search Inside The Book" and I can't find my copy, so I've got to paraphrase here. Speaking of the maudlin vigil held after Lennon's death, Amis writes that if Lennon were still alive, he'd probably be the first person making fun of these people.

Posted at 1:12 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 4, 2004
We're sorry, chump, but "arable land" < "oil" and "Middle Eastern outpost"


From Reuters, "Rwanda's Kagame Scolds Outside World Over Genocide", April 4, 2004:

Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused the outside world of deliberately failing to prevent genocide on Sunday, opening a week to mark the tenth anniversary of the killing of some 800,000 fellow countrymen.

The United Nations, the United States and European countries have all faced criticism for failing to intervene during the three-month genocide in Rwanda, which ended in July 1994 when Kagame seized the capital at the head of a rebel army.

"We should always bear in mind that genocide, wherever it happens, represents the international community's failure, which I would in fact characterise as deliberate, as convenient failure," Kagame told the start of a genocide conference.

"How could a million lives of the Rwandan people be regarded as so insignificant by anyone in terms of strategic or national interest?" he told the meeting at a hotel used 10 years ago as a base by military planners directing the massacres.

Worldbank Data for Rwanda
CIA Factbook, Rwanda (Natural resources: gold, cassiterite (tin ore), wolframite (tungsten ore), methane, hydropower, arable land)
Official Website of the Government of Rwanda (www.rwanda1.com...at what point did nations start having to adopt the equivalent of AOL usernames for their WWW domains?)

Posted at 8:17 PM in a Grave fashion.
Metaphorically Piquing

conan_metaphor_helicopter.jpgIn "Conan's Late Start", which appeared in the April 4, 2004 New York Times Arts & Leisure section, author Bill Carter examined Conan O'Brien's as-yet-unfulfilled late night legacy, particularly his concerns and those of his agents in regards to his 11:30PM time-slot destiny. Not much is revealed, however, save for the fact that comedians and their agents confine themselves to describing their lives exclusively in the context of a torrent of metaphors. Documentation of a funnyman's feelings is best kept to a minimum, apparently, unless filtered through the detached voice of an analogous narrative. To wit:

Conan on returning to Rockefeller Center after taping in Toronto: "It's like when you go back to third grade and suddenly you notice the water fountain is like 4 inches off the ground."

Conan on his future: "It's the elephant in the room that no one is talking about."

Conan on comparisons to Letterman's circumstances a decade ago: "With me at 12:30, you can still feel there's order in the heavens somewhat."

Conan on late night as his true passion: "I've got the bit in my teeth with this show and I'm very determined to take it as far as it will go."

Conan on easing out Leno: "My agents can say that — and they do. But I have no control over them. They're Rottweilers that I bought. Their job is to attack."

Conan on the NBC executive who nearly cancelled his show: "But if John Agoglia somehow fell to the bottom of a coal mine and I was the only one who knew about it, I'm not saying I wouldn't alert the authorities, but I might take my time about it, maybe wait a week or two — provided he had plenty of fresh water."

Conan on his legacy with American youth: "You make an emotional connection, sort of the way Led Zeppelin made an emotional connection with people at a certain age, and for the rest of their lives all they want to do is put on a Led Zepplin record."

Gavin Polone, Conan's manager, on the crowded late night marketplace (while indirectly indicating why he's a manager and not a writer): "You might have three companies that need new jetliners at the same time, and we'll be the only company actually building a jet," Mr. Polone concludes. "Other people may be building washing machines. But why go to a company offering washing machines when you need a jet?"

Posted at 7:56 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 2, 2004
The Prince & Me & not Us

fridaymovie_theprinceandme.jpgAfter due diligence on the part of our friend Sharon in the P.R. department at Paramount Pictures, we at low culture were once again given access to the media goodie bag and allowed to see a pre-release screening of Julia Stiles' latest film, "The Prince & Me."

It's a good thing, too, because we were part of the flock of fans who showed that we "could do it, put your back into it" when we watched this beautiful young Columbia University undergrad take on the mantle of interracial love -- and interracial dancing -- when she charmingly swept America off its feet in 2001's "Save the Last Dance." Well, she's back, and this time, she's traded in Ice Cube's lyricism and the concomitant "street cred" for Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s cool, calm, and collected flirtation with royalty.

First-time helmer Martha Coolidge's compelling narrative loosely concerns the trials and tribulations of an average American girl's behavior when she's forced to choose between her deeply-embedded principles and that most elusive of sentiments, true love. Of course, this is all "fancy-talk" for saying that she has to choose between a crush on her favorite boy, and the fact that he lied to her by not letting her in on the fact that he was an heir to the throne of Denmark (and yes, there are more than enough self-referential Hamlet jokes sprinkled throughout the film for all you fans of both classic Shakespeare and youth-oriented films).

Stiles takes on the role of college student Paige Morgan with much aplomb, and her experience as an actress shines through on her initial scenes with the young Prinze (who far outshines Eddie Murphy's rendition in the original film) when they meet at a Greenpeace rally on the steps of the school's library. It turns out that the Prinze has more than just a passing interest in environmental regulation, though, because he sweeps Paige off her feet with his passionate rhetoric regarding the damage caused by oil spills in the Baltic Sea. Paige, of course, passes off this worldliness as a part of his exchange-student persona, but quickly falls in love with his debonair presence and the humanizingly endearing way he quirkily drops the T's and W's from his words when speaking aloud, as all Danes are wont to do.

But, as with all instances of true love, there's a catch: the Prinze, through a series of escalating misunderstandings exacerbated by his two roommates' miscommunication, had neglected to inform Paige that he was, in fact, royalty, before taking her virginity. This understandably upsets Paige a great deal, and she calls him a Danish imperialist, which only complicates things further, because the Prinze's father is in court at the ICC at that very moment for war crimes committed against the neighboring Swedes. The Prinze is crestfallen, as he has spent his entire life modeling himself on becoming all that his father (deftly played by James Caan in a stirring cameo) stood against, including a value system that apparently rules out sleeping with girls with misshapen faces that haven't aged well as they've exited their teenaged years.

The film's winsome examination of collegiate love-with-princes strikes a heartwarming note when the audience realizes that things will, of course, work out...such is the nature of fairy tales, and such is the nature of true love.

Posted at 1:15 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
Jennifer '98 Lee

8lee.jpgJennifer 8. Lee is the New York Times comer known for her networking skills the New York Sun has gone so far as to suggest that Lee is the second coming of Katharine Graham. And though the comparison may be apposite, it's unlikely the legendary Washington Post editrix ever used Yahoo Groups to help report her stories.

While the Harvard98 Yahoo Group typically traffics in less-than-rousing political banter and questions about housing in Dallas, subscribers are occasionally met with queries from Jenny 8. herself.

Most recently Jenny inquired about people scared to eat fish because of mercury levels; it's fair to assume we can expect a Times article on that very topic in the near future.

Don't believe it? Well consider the following email sent to the Harvard98 group on April 12, 2003:

From: "Jennifer 8. Lee"
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2003 08:06:03 -0700 (PDT)
To: [email protected]
Subject: [harvard98] SARS: affected by sars in seattle (SF/LA)

this has to be one of the stranger requests i have made to this list

does anyone know of people in seattle (most likely with links to asia) who is thinking of/affected by SARS. that is (not in parallel structure), family there, school exchanges that were cancelled, business trips that have been cancelled, local tourist business that is down, quarantined etc.

and if not seattle, people in San Fran and Los Angeles would be good too.


And then treat yourself to her article in the New York Times four days later, In U.S., Fear Is Spreading Faster Than SARS, datelined April 16, 2003 and reported by Jennifer 8. Lee. From the article: Back in Seattle, though, concerns among co-workers led several employers to ask the participants to work from home

Still don't believe it? Well screw you.

This is not the first time Jenny 8.s Harvard cronies have assisted her. Wonkette has bravely exposed the shadowy cabal of former classmates who have helped make Jennifer 8. Lee the heir to D.C. royalty. The master's house continues to burn.

Posted at 8:31 AM in a Shallow fashion.
April Fool's "Hipster Fuck-for-all"

lc_april_flowers.jpgThings we gleaned from various comments, here and elsewhere, after posting our super-special, super-personal, and perhaps all-too-misguided, April Fool's Day edition:

"i was getting kinda up in arms at the vacuousness of the posts"

"when did this delicious blog turn into a hipster fuck-for-all, replete with cat blogging and musical faves?"

And then there was an exquisitely enjoyable comment, which we're paraphrasing here, after its having been apparently deleted from the relevant Gothamist post, explaining the author's thesis that

"April Fools jokes, by their very nature, need to be funny, and unfortunately, Low Culture is not funny."

Seriously, though, "hipster fuck-for-all" is the best-ever grouping of words we've ever come across.

Posted at 12:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  April 1, 2004
Correction on that last post

It's not the Guy Sigworth-produced track, but the Moby one, where Britney sings about 'early mornings" or whatnot. And I don't think Moby has worked with Bjork, ever, so I recant what I said before. Maybe if Bjork were roughly 20 years old and looked like Natalie Portman or Nelly Furtado, then Moby'd work her over, if you know what I mean, but from what I can tell, she's devoted to the video artist Matthew Barney now.

Incidentally, Spike Jonze, wunderkind uberdirector, did a delightful music video last year featuring a very pregnant Bjork, which leads me to believe that she is no longer "with child."

Posted at 11:10 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Toxic for Toxic

My co-worker in the next office over is listening to Britney Spears' "Toxic" again...again!. Then when the CD gets to the Guy Sigworth-produced track with the harpsichord, he rewinds it again, and it's "Toxic" once more. I think he has an aversion to producers who have worked with Bjork, perhaps.

Posted at 11:06 AM in a April Musings fashion.
I think God, were He to exist, would be a "cat person"


Two cuties in one photo! Vincent peers out from the basket atop the bookshelf, while the topmost portion of our stuffed Murakami doll creeps up behind him. Who will win this fight? I'm going with the cat.


Uh-oh, battle of the hipster cats! Here's Emmitt, about to get into some trouble with the turntable...let's hope he can "scratch" better than that documentary by Doug Pray!

The seven-inch on the decks, meanwhile, is a Team Doyobi release on SKAM. Judging by Emmitt's disapproving facial expression, I'd wager he can't stand the distorted electro-grunge of Manchester's best. "Take that, Coolfer," he seems to be saying! :)


Vincent, again seeking trouble in high elevations...Believe it or not, this door is 38 feet off the ground, and I was standing atop a gigantic ladder while taking this excellent shot. When Vincent tried to descend from the precarious perch onto which I'd placed him, all in the name of artistic photography, he ended up ricocheting off my own perch, causing me to fall and black out for four hours.

The F-stop on this photo was 3.0. Or is that shutter speed?


I pulled this photo from my December 2003 archive of cat snapshots. I really like the way Emmitt appears to be contemplating something of great import: "O, this life of mine! Shall I leap from the balcony, and strike pavement below? And will I live, or die? What is death?"

There's a reason my ex-wife called Emmitt "our four-legged philosopher friend." :)


Nap time! Did you know cats sleep all day and night? (Well, at least when they're not listening to white labels or reading Kierkegaard dissertations.)

Posted at 10:58 AM in a April Photos fashion.
Calm, Supercool and Collected

jack_white.jpgJack White (not to be confused with Jack Black, natch), aka The Coolest Man Alive, has apparently caught the acting bug. First came his appearance in the Acadamy Award nominated film Cold Mountain, now he's appearing in the new movie from Jim Jarmusch, another cool man alive. Cigarettes and Coffee is coming out this spring. From the trailers, it looks like White is hanging out, smoking the aforementioned cigarettes and drinking the aforementioned coffee with his sister/ex-wife (which is it?) Meg White, one of the hottest indie rockers this side of Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a truly Buzzworthy band.

Speaking of which, another supercool band *stellastar (that's not a typo btw, that's the way it's spelled) seems to be gathering a lot of steam themselves. They haven't hit the Buzzworthy tip yet, but it's definitely going to happen soon. After getting a glowing writeup in yesterday's New York Post, could a glowing review from New York Times tastemaker/supercool midget Neil Strauss be far behind? It's only a matter of time, kids.

And speaking of uncool, I had another dream about Alan Alda last night. How uncool is that?

Posted at 9:18 AM in a April Musings fashion.
WTF Alert

Did you see this thing in the New York Press about the 50 most loathsome New Yorkers? For some reason Choire Sicha of Gawker was listed as the 15th most annoying New Yorker in the world. I couldn't believe the entry after I read it either. His name is pronounced Corey?

Posted at 9:11 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Super Dave

chappelle.jpgAnother Wednesday night, another Chapelle's Show. Has anyone else seen this thing? It's insanely funny. Truly nothing is sacred for this guy. His liberal use of the N-word (that's n***er, or *igg**), the sexually explicit content, and lots of laughs -- this guy is definitely not Politically Correct. Chapelle is apparently a man from the streets. And he takes that voice of the streets and he puts it on Comedy Central. Except he takes that urban sensibility and makes it both funny and non-threatening.

On last night's episode he made fun of Nelson Mandela and Sally Jesse Raphael all in one sketch. I'd like to see the Harvard geniuses/pussies (white) over at Saturday Night Live manage to do that one. This guy is the definition of edgy with a capital E, which I guess makes him Edgy.

For me actually, some of the stuff Chapelle does occasionally make me pretty uncomfortable. If I were watching last night's episode with my gay, black, or gay black friends, I might not have laughed quite as loud as I did. But damn I laughed (I was alone). This is one guy who's still flying under the radar but won't be for long. My prediction is that Dave Chapelle's going to hit big and hit soon. You heard it on low culture first.

Posted at 9:11 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Suprise, Surprise

mitchell.jpgSpeaking of black people, did anyone else realize that Elvis Mitchell, the New York Times film reviewer, is black? That's a picture of him to the left -- definitely black, right? When I heard that, I was just as surprised as when I learned that another New York Times film reviewer, A.O. (aka Tony) Scott, is actually film director Ridley Scott's brother. And that Tony Scott is a director himself!

While the New York Times is busy forcing harmless food critics to reveal that Jean-Georges Vongehsomething blurbed her book, why isn't anyone making Tony Scott reveal that he's the guy who directed The Last Boy Scout and is now making presumably conflict-of-interest-less reviews? And, he's English. Clearly, the master's house is still burning.

Posted at 9:10 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Apple of My Ass

hungover.jpgEcch, I'm so hungover at my cubicle right now, I don't think I'll manage many posts today. I'm not even sure how I'm going to manage today's workload at the anonymous investment banking firm where I am employed. At this point all I know is, when you've had four apple martinis, you should never opt for the fifth. That's the last time I go out with Jeep and his friends on a school night. I think I broke something in my brain.

Posted at 8:47 AM in a April Musings fashion.
El Coincidencio

So I'm taking the L train to work this morning and I could swear that I was sitting next to this girl I met at Max Fish on Saturday.

Posted at 8:39 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Back to the Future

queereye_carson.jpgEl Pidio and I have become obsessed with playing a game we have tentatively titled, "Where will they be in the future?" The game borrows its structure from that "Where Are They Now?" show that Pids and I haven't been able to turn off. But the idea is that you're playing "Where are they now?" twenty years in the future. Which of today's stars are bound to fall off the face of the earth? And where will they be?

Here are some of our ideas for where some stars will be in 20 years. Feel free to contribute your own.

"Queer" Carson -- Doing his own show in Branford
Paris Hilton -- Doing her own show in Branford
Donald Trump -- Still firing people!
Pam Anderson -- Astronaut
Simon Cowell -- Crazy homeless person
That guy from "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" -- Car Salesman

And here's where they'll probably be in fifty years:

"Queer" Carson -- Dead
Paris Hilton -- Dead
Donald Trump -- Still firing people!
Pam Anderson -- Dead
Simon Cowell -- Dead
That guy from "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" -- Dead

Posted at 8:08 AM in a April Musings fashion.
Splendor in the grass


My grandmother took ill recently, so I had to make a sojourn back to Red Bank and pay her a visit. Of course, I brought my digital camera! Here are some "artsy" shots I took of the fields behind her house while my brothers and sisters were caring for her.


Here we are again, a few hours later. I really like the way the light works with the shapes in the foreground. My aunt said Grandma was nauseous, so I wanted to give her some space and went outside again, taking the opportunity to shoot more photos. You know, when you're given lemons, you make lemonade!

Posted at 12:52 AM in a April Photos fashion.
Goodbye, Lenin! (and hello, Berlin!)


After all the positive response to my photos from London, I realized I forgot to post snapshots from my February trip to the 2004 European Advertising Conference in Berlin, which has now, thankfully, been free of the infamous "Wall" for more than a decade. Above is a shot of the stoic facade of concrete about which President Reagan so elegantly implored, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!"


I don't really know what this is, but my German hosts said something to the effect of it being a relic of East Germany's attempts at building architectural marvels that could rival the West's creativity. All I know is, this isn't something I could safely pitch as an ad concept to Nestle or GM and feel as though they'd get it.

Posted at 12:44 AM in a April Photos fashion.
I'm almost sorry to be back...


I just returned from my business trip to London, and wanted to post some "brilliant" photos of the world's loveliest city! (That's what all the UK-based ad agency executives I met with said whenever they liked something, or thought it was cool..."Brilliant!") Anyway, here's their equivalent of Times Square.


They have all these public restrooms over there, too...really amazing. I didn't have the need to use one, thankfully, so I don't know if you need to insert coins to use them, but I bet they cost more than a "quid".

Posted at 12:33 AM in a April Photos 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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