Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is repulsion considered an instinct?

This photo of Sharon Stone at one of the premieres for BASIC INSTINCT 2 pretty much speaks for itself.
Not only was gold a poor choice for lipstick, could someone please tell me what about this woman ANYONE would want to see on a 25 foot tall screen?
Some Hollywood executive actually had the gall to greenlight this putrid movie, thinking we wanted to see Sharon's nipples at this point?
Love the dialogue from the trailer. "You like to be in control. Like Me. I like that about you."
Definite Oscar possibilities, I'm feeling it.
I'd rather have seen Michael Douglas in the starring role in the sequel, and naked.

If everyone else jumped off of the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?

There's a phenomonon sweeping the nation. No, I'm not talking about this blog. Obviously it's not updated as often as it could be. What I speak of is the wave of amateur contests modeled after the NBC "reality" show THE BIGGEST LOSER.

In the last week alone, I've heard of four different contests, at four different workplaces. People are teaming up, or sometimes just going head to head, in weight-loss contests, to win a pool of money thrown in by the participants.

The act in itself is fine by me. I have no problem with people losing weight, hell, I could stand to lose more than a few dozen L.B.'s myself. And the office pool is one of the oldest traditions running. So to combine friendly competition with personal fitness, well that sounds like a winner to me.

But here's the rub. Why did it take a crappy, poorly lit, exploitive television show to "inspire"everyone to hit the gym and cut back on the McDonald's all of a sudden? Are the masses in this country REALLY that brainless, that people cannot even lose weight unless they see people on TV doing it first?

Maybe Mark Burnett could produce a reality show about being charitable, about caring just one iota about the political state of the world, or racial and social tolerence, or perhaps just being CIVILIZED AND NICE TO EACH OTHER. Maybe then the great unwashed would follow suit.

And along the same lines, I slipped into the local ACE hardware for a light bulb over the past weekend, and came face to face with a life-size cutout of THE DONALD, Mr. Trump, bad hair and all, in this wacky yelling pose very similar to the above AP photo. Some sort of promotion ACE is running with THE APPRENTICE. As if screws and paintbrushes have anything to do with Manhattan real estate, the presence of THE DONALD should inspire us all to give all of our hardware business to our local ACE.

Trump was bad enough, but then, right there by the checkout, was a lifesize BILL RANCIC cutout. What exactly has that moron done, anyway? Other than "win" the first APPRENTICE contest (where he lost out to the Harvard MBA, the infinitely more well-spoken and polished Kwame, hmm wonder if the best man won THAT little popularity contest...), what has Bill Rancic done in this world to merit any of us caring one iota about him?

I'll answer that for you. Absolutely nothing.

At least I only have to wait a month or two until the next AMERICAN IDOL is crowned, then their picture will be splashed all over and we can forget about THE DONALD, at least for another 13 week ad cycle....

Gotta run. My cynicism is dripping all over the place.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I love this game*

Tomorrow the Bulls play the Miami Heat, and I'm going to the game.
Sure, Bulls games aren't as exciting as they were during the Jordan years, but
that sure hasn't stopped the team from jacking up ticket prices to astronomical levels.
Even so, the face value on my four tickets on the main floor, a few rows back, equaled what I
paid for one and a half tickets back in the championship playoff runs, so I guess I cannot complain.

The Bulls will be wearing a "special alternate" jersey, in a St. Patrick's Day theme, Green with black letters and white trim.
The NBA has three teams wearing special green St. Patty's day jerseys this weekend.
The Bulls, The New York Knicks, and the Boston Celtics.
I know what you're thinking, "don't the Celtics ALREADY wear green jerseys?" Yes, they do.
But apparently these are different.
Of course. They have those Notre Dame-esque gold numerals.
At first I was cynical about these obvious marketing-driven uniform choices. I blame the Chicago White Sox for all of this. A few years back, to capitalize on their "south side Irish" fan mentality, they donned kelly green jerseys and hats for a spring training game. Now, nearly half the teams in baseball, a few hockey clubs, and now the NBA have followed suit. The freaking CUBS even released green gear this year. To top it off, St. Patrick's Day is my least favorite "holiday", especially lately, since it's become basically a weeklong celebration in this Irish-heavy city.
It's easy to crank about uniform changes that are so obviously targeted at fans' wallets.
But then I happened to see a few kids checking out the new shirts at a sporting goods store the other day.
"Cool. Sweet. These are nice."

It's not the old days anymore. The Yankees and their consistent pinstripes with navy cap are the exception, not the rule. Times change. Our attention spans shorten. New togs are a way to keep you interested in seasons that are too long, games that might otherwise be rendered meaningless. It's just window dressing, it's no statement on our culture. Kids today grow up on video games, and alternate jerseys. They like new color combos. It ain't all bad.

It'll be interesting to see how much actual basketball is even noticed at the game tomorrow, between all the * hip hop music, sound effects, videos, doughnut races, cheerleaders, wacky interactive fan games, mascot shenanigans, and half-court shot contests. In a way I feel partially responsible for the jazzing up of sporting events. At least, for a time in its infancy, I was an active participant, as the first DJ in Major League Baseball, for the Chicago White Sox. More on that at my website,

More on the NBA later.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just another Manic Monday...

Five posts for the price of one. Mondays are great catchup days.

First of all, I simply cannot stop raving about THE SOPRANOS. David Chase is a genius, and Gandolfini has hit a grand slam homerun with his portrayal of tortured mobster Tony Soprano.
Last night's "return" episode was one of the most finely crafted hours of TV I've ever seen. And from what I've read in several reviews, it only gets better from here. Just look at that photo above. Gandolfini's eyes convey SO much of this character, he will forever be labeled (much like Jason Alexander in SEINFELD), and will probably have a hard time finding work after the show ends it's run. But who cares. He's already in the top three, if not the most, memorable character(s) in TV history.

One of the advantages of the Internet (other than tracking down CIA operatives quicker than you can say "covert"-see the Sunday Chicago Tribune online if you didn't hear...) is that little details that you used to wonder about in the old days, used to have to spend days tracking down, like the name of a song used in a TV show or a certain designer of a suit you may have seen, that info just appears, you just GOOGLE it and voila, two clicks later you are at your Burmese Mahogany desk, funking out to Material and William S. Burroughs' haunting yet toe-tapping "Seven Souls". The song was used to perfection in the opening montage of last night's episode, and it's early-Eighties synthesizer and bassline are delicious. You'll be hearing it blasting out of your neighbor's iPod hi-fi for the next few months, for sure.

Letterman's back from another week off and he's absolutely on fire tonight. Good stuff. Reminds us all why we simply cannot tolerate fans of Jay Leno on this planet. We NEED acerbic wit, dripping sarcasm, and expensive suits. They are necessities of life.

A visit to a hip, flashy restaurant slash nightclub this weekend reminded me of exactly why I am glad that I don't hang out in flashy hip restaurant slash nightclubs very often. I'm not sure what's worse, the attitude from the $7 an hour hosts and hostesses, or the attitude from the chain smoking thirtysomethings with the asscrack jeans on. I won't name the place, but I will say that it's name rhymes with JAPONAIS. If you want to show up late for your reservation, and you call ahead and let someone know, and you still sit for two hours without anyone even THINKING about seating you at a table, check that place out. If you want to be treated well, find somewhere else to buy your kobe carpaccio and dragon rolls. The food used to be outstanding, the other night it was just good. WAY overseasoned. But, when you're being crapped on, every litte fault is amplified, I guess. No worries, had a great time nonetheless noshing appeteasers in the lounge and watching the transvestites hold hands with their johns, I mean dates. But hey, to each his/her own. Even when his and hers applies to one human being.

And finally, a commuter mug from Starbucks that you can easily flip/close the opening on . It looks like a regular Starbucks latte cup with the logo, right down to the areas to mark how many shots, syrup, decaf, etc. It even says, in tiny green letters at the bottom, CAREFUL, THE BEVERAGE YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENJOY IS EXTREMELY HO. The only difference is the top is black instead of the usual white lid.
How many times are you juggling the laptop, your cell phone,a newspaper, your Sidekick, BlackBerry, Treo, Palm, putting on lipstick, talking on the phone, and trying to walk to your car or the train. Every time, a little bubble of steaming soy milk pops out of the sipping opening and right onto your shirt/blouse/tie. This cup alleviates that. Thank you, Starbucks.

And in an all time Lowest Common Denominator Low, the film THE BENCHWARMERS is cranking up the PR machine in advance of its April 7 opening. Just what we need,a feature film making fun of the handicapped. It stars the kid from Napoleon Dynamite and Hollywood giants Rob Schnieder and David Spade. Just what we need, another movie for guys who have skid marks in their underpants. We preach political correctness and tolerance to the youth of this country, and then we churn out "entertainment" like this.
I think the young people of this country are self-absorbed, insensitive, lackadaisical, and overly dramatic. But I can't tell them that, or they'll spit in my latte.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finally, the Republicans strap on a pair...

So I guess Congress isn't a complete bunch of lemmings, after all.

Finally, the Republican guard is saying "enough is enough" of stupid Dubya policy, and is rethinking the Dubai port decision. Check out the story in The Washington Post. While I'd like to believe, in my heart, that the capitalists of Dubai would not participate in nor allow acts of terrorism,
at some point you do have to admit, what with sleeper cells and the long lineage of American scorn and distaste coming from that part of the world, that we've got to watch our backs, no matter how great the payday.

So, bravo Congress. Now let's see you stand up for education, the American middle class, and stand UP to the oil and energy companies.

Now I'm DEFINATELY dreaming.

We're baaaaack....

Took a few days off, for your own good as well as mine.
Just didn't feel you needed any more post-Oscar critique/coverage.
Three Six Mafia. Enough said.

Checked out the new ABC show SONS AND DAUGHTERS last night. Pretty funny stuff, reminds me a bit of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. Not to sound like a prude, but as the father of pre-teens, there were a few too many sex references for the 8pm (9p Eastern) hour. Should air between 9 and 10.

Also was saddened to hear today that CBS is canceling KING OF QUEENS. There ain't a whole lot to watch these days, that show was pretty funny for a sitcom. Fat guys, hot wives, and crazy old men are a good combination in TV. Kevin James probably wanted a ton of cash, and since the show is already syndicated, the diminished returns on investment probably just encouraged the network to dump the show. Sad. Hopefully we can all get our Jerry Stiller fix on a new show soon. The guy could read the phone book and make me laugh.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hooray For Hollywood...

It' s Oscar© Time again, and you know what that means...
Hordes of Hollywood Stars being interviewed by plastic talking heads on the red carpet who can barely keep their names straight, featuring tons of stupid plugs for ugly designer fashions and awkward pauses followed by insincere well-wishing. To top it off, over a billion people will watch worldwide. Most of whom haven't seen but one of the nominated films, if that.

Don't even get me started on the gift bags. I have always loved the fact that nimrod businesses give jillions of dollars worth of free designer crap and meals away each year to the very people who are their target consumer...the wealthy. Just so MAYBE a camera or BOLDFACED TYPE columnist will show/mention said wealthy celeb using their product, wearing it, driving it, whatever, so that the millions of lemmings who watch EXTRA! or read THE STAR might run out to buy their very own widget because Clooney/Reese/Gwenyth has one, too. Puh-lease.
Give me a large personal break.
The argument is, the gift bags are necessary to keep people interested in presenting at awards shows. Right. Because the one rehearsal and nineteen seconds of reading a TelePrompterâ„¢ are THAT taxing on the glitterati, we need to bribe them so they don't (Gasp!) just stay home and watch on the couch in their pajamas like everyone else...

Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, makes a good point when he says that Celebrity is at an all-time low in this country. I couldn't agree more. The latest SURVIVOR, Bill Rancic, Paris are these people famous? What about them is interesting to ANYONE? In old Hollywood, movie stars and singers had style, class, grace, and elegance. Cary Grant, Bogie, Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Ol' Blue, we've got Justin Timberlake dressed like a skater punk who hangs out at the Dadeland Mall, lil Kim jiggling her nasty boobs all over the place, and guys like Colin Farrell braggging about his drunken drug use, and Russell Crowe slamming concierges in the head with telephones. Not to mention those little sluts Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan running around taking ditziness to new heights (depths?).

Stay classy, Hollywood. Stay classy. Proud of you. Not.

The world we live in and life in general...

I've been staying away from Bill Maher's HBO show because all I do is get a hopeless feeling of despair, which doesn't sit well with the Friday night red wine and pepperoni/green pepper pizza.
But tonite I made an exception, and it was worth the indigestion. Harry Anderson (the former judge from TV's Night Court) checked in from his home in New Orleans, Mike Brown made a few valid points about the fact that FEMA did a pretty decent job under him, and Graydon Carter and DL Hughley threw down salient points and hearty laughs...
Oh forget it. Just dial up the HBO and watch it this weekend. Hughley says it best, the country is getting what it deserved, they voted for Bush.

Poor Mike Brown. He sat there, taking heat, being the whipping boy for not being prepared, he lost his gig over the whole mess, and it turns out our idiot president knew exactly what was coming when and STILL did nothing about it. I wish I was a lawyer so I could get a piece of the action on the forthcoming wrongful death lawsuits that will surely dig our nation's deficit even deeper than the Bush administration can do on its own.

On a lighter political note, check out Target's greeting card section for some pretty funny Bush themed birthday cards. My personal favorite is one that has a bewildered looking W. on the front holding up three fingers, with a bubble saying "On your birthday, I've got three words for you"
and inside, it reads "Happy Birthday".
good stuff.
I was shocked and amazed that they already have a card with a PhotoShopped Dick Cheney in a goofy hunting outfit holding a double barreled shotgun, and inside it reads "Hope your birthday is a real blast!". Pretty good turnaround time.

Tonight was pizza night, and the lenten folk had cheese pizza. I opted for pepperoni and green pepper, which in my opinion is about the best pizza you can get. Depends on the place, as the green peppers if cut too large can be undercooked, which just sucks. For some reason we ordered from Domino's which has a thin crust that is surprisingly good. The hand-tossed crust is pretty lame, but that thin crust....

Then again, I've always been of the opinion that thin is in as far as pizza goes. And, living in Chicago that can pose a problem, as everyone here likes the deep dish soggy crap. Once in a blue moon, if you get a good cornmeal deep dish like Lou Malnati's or Uno or Due, but seriously, Chicago pizza pales in comparison to New York pizza. Gimme a thin, preferably coal-fired pie any day. Que Bella!

I had a brief moment of consideration before ordering from Domino's as I don't really want to support Domino's owner, Tom Monaghan's, latest endeavor, Ave Maria-a Roman Catholic town and university down in Florida. You can read about it here.
Plans for the community include banning, or at least suggesting very heavily a ban on, contraceptives. Like there is any place in America that NEEDS contraceptives MORE than the state of Florida. At an estimated cost of over $400 million, Ave Maria will be a pricey little cult camp, indeed. That's a hell of a lot of pepperoni. A strict Roman Catholic town...for you DaVinci Code readers, I see a big run on thigh spikes in the South in the next few years. Have an Opus Day(sic), indeed.

But, to each his own. Unless of course, yours doesn't agree with his. Then to you his own as well. Especially with the Religious Right. Lord help Florida. Bless us all, every one of us...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The punchline we just keep waiting for...

So I think I finally figured out what the hell is wrong with Dave Chapelle. See the photo to the left...he isn't an actual person. He's just the alter ego of 70's TV Superstar/current schizophrenic Jimmy "DYNO-mite"J.J. Walker.

That HAS to be the explanation. Why else would anyone walk away from $50 Million big ones? Today Chapelle said he's leaning toward not going back to his show because Comedy Central wants to air shows he taped this season before hightailing it over to South Africa in a snit. Read all about it here Don't give me that crap about suffering over exploiting your race for laughs...if you feel that guilty, establish a few scholarships or make some ginormous charity donations. But breach your contract? On OPRAH, it sounded like the thing that set Dave/JJ off was being in costume for a skit,dressed in blackface, and having a white crew member laugh at him. Imagine that, someone laughing at a comedian in a funny outfit.

The situation reminds me of someone at a party, or around the espresso machine at work, who starts telling a joke they heard over the weekend, only to get lost mid-sentence and trail off, forgetting the punchline. You breached the humongo, life-changing contract WHY? You're depressed WHY?

Don't send me a bunch of emails defending depression or mental illness, either. The guy could do a lot better for his family and his heritage by honoring the contract, and continuing to do funny shows. If a white comedian quit his show in a huff and flew back to Ireland or England unannounced for a month and claimed it was because a black crew member laughed at them, he'd get lambasted for taking himself too seriously.

Lighten up, Dave. Go back to work. Or at least shut up about it already. Most of us WISH we had your problems.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

If It Goes Any Lower, It'll Equal His I.Q.

So President Dubya's approval rating has sunk to an all-time low of 34 percent.
Even gun-toting, woman-hating, money-grubbing, dyed-in-the-wool wingtip Republicans
hate this guy. And now that I've typed "President" and "Gun" in the same entry, my blog will show up with a red flag at the Office of Homeland Security. No worries, I'll just invite Dick Cheney over for dinner so he's here, strapped, when the internet secret police arrive.

Dave Letterman is particularly killing me. The funny part is, other than a humorous introduction, Dubya's video usually stands on its own. The clips are so unintentionally funny, and make the guy look like such a boob, it's almost embarrasing to be an American. But at least he's keeping us laughing. Even if he's ruining our social and educational system with stupid policies and slashing funding. Last night's GEORGE W. BUSH, OH MY GOD was a classic...just video of W. staring into space at a news conference, stuttering, unable to complete a sentence...The guy went to YALE for christ's sake. People liked Nixon more. After the Watergate break-in.

If his approval drops any lower, he'll have to get a BJ or something in the Oval Office just to recover. Here's hoping he goes Brokeback. Now THAT'D be something to see the Republicans and Rush Limbaugh explain...

You can check out Bush clips at:
The Late Show website