Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Official: We Are a Nation of Slackers

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fox said on Thursday it has ordered two more seasons of animated comedy "The Simpsons," ensuring the show that started in 1989 will surpass "Gunsmoke" as the longest-running prime-time U.S. television series.

"The Simpsons" will start its 21st season in the fall, after last year tying the longevity record of "Gunsmoke," which ended in 1975 after 20 seasons. Its second season in the two-year deal will come in 2010.

I still miss St. Elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Don't Miss This

I shoveled a few inches of snow while I was in NY last week, for old times sake. Did not put on the skates, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Bet He Makes a Killer Omelet, Too

Hugh Jackman, Beyoncé
I think Hugh Jackman proved, Sunday night, there's a case to be made against ironic detachment in an Academy Awards ceremony host. Not that I'd want to see a fan-wank every year, but as much as I have loved Jon Stewart & Co, Jackman's sincerity was a nice change of pace.

The staging changes - stealing the intimate look the Emmys adopted in the last couple years - were refreshing for most of the show, up until a point. Specifically, the point where I was past ready for bedtime (I can't imagine how East coasters deal with this) was the point where I'd had enough of the reality show-type nomination readings. Was someone going to get an award, or get booted off the island?

But we all know what really matters — the fashions!

There were two trends I noticed, both returnees from the past: deep blues on the comeback trail, and serious construction. RPI-worthy.

First the blues - few but very noticable.

There was someone else, too, who took it a step further with awful 1970s' blue eye makeup.

Then there were the super-constructed dresses.

This is my tatt:

And these are my

Oh, never mind.

Sick As a Dog

Apologies for the prolonged absence. A family emergency forced an unexpected trip up north, and then something I ate at Baltimore's airport (hint: avoid the orange chicken if you like Chinese) put me on a ginger-ale and Gatorade diet.

I'll be back at work either tomorrow or (more likely) Thursday. In the meantime, an Oscars' fashion post is on the way.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just For Chucks

I stumbled across this MSNBC article about grammar police, linking activities to stress:

Dale Siegel, a financial expert from White Plains, N.Y., whose spelling is routinely corrected, says she’s definitely noticed a change in people.

“In general, I think people are getting a little bit meaner about correcting others or sharing what they call their ‘observations,’ ” she says. “They’re uptight and stressed out about losing their jobs. And if it makes them feel better to tell me I have a string hanging off my skirt or I used the word ‘your’ when I really meant to use the word ‘you’re,’ then fine.”

Note to Dale: people who notice your work is sloppy with spelling and grammar errors, even in this era of spell-check, also suspect your work is sloppy in other areas, too.

This is a small portion of my all-time favorite rant on misspelling and such, written by Sarah Bunting, who brought us Television Without Pity:
It is too "a big deal." You don't have to know how to spell everything in the dictionary, and you don't have to have the serial-semicolon rule embroidered on a pillow, but if you have reached voting age in the United States, you need to know the basics of English usage, because if you don't, you look like an idiot.

No, don't. Don't start with that "grammar Nazi" business. Don't get all "nobody gives a shit about that crap" and "it's so anal, who cares" and "well, you know what I mean." I give a shit about that crap. I know it's anal, but I care, and so do a lot of other people — people who respect you, but might respect you less when you dash off an email to the effect of "I'll meet you their"; people in a position to give you a job, who won't because you didn't proofread your cover letter and they don't appreciate your addressing them as "Deer Ms. So-And-So." And no, in fact, I don't know what you mean when you write me a hate mail that reads, "You're site sucks," because that doesn't mean anything. Because it's grammatically incorrect. Because you've substituted a contraction of a verb phrase for an adjective, thus rendering the sentence nonsensical. And it makes you look stupid, and therefore I cannot take you seriously.

Sorry, but it's the truth. I do not care that we live in an age of rapid-fire communication, or that the Internet has changed the rules of formal correspondence, or whatever excuse you have for starting sentences with "me and my friend."

And, for the record, I know full well that I break the rules of correct usage in my columns all the time. I can break the rules because I know them cold, so don't write and tell me that you've spotted at least sixteen sentence fragments and think you've scored a point off of me.

Seriously. You need to know basic rules of English usage. You do not have to use them all the time in every single grocery list you write, and not knowing them all does not in and of itself make you dumb or uneducated; you don't have to spend an hour poring over the dictionary just to send me an email. But you have to try to learn the language, especially in business correspondence, and you have to make an effort to use the language correctly. It's your native tongue, and it's worth doing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Now that I've recovered from my initial horror ("it saves my posts forever?!? whaaaaaaaat was I thinking?"), I'm back on Twitter. For what it's worth. Although I'm really kind of, sort of, over it all ... I mean, where does it stop? First, I had to be on ICQ, then I had to be on MySpace, then I had to be on Facebook, then I had to be on LinkedIn and now I'm getting requests to join something called Naymz. At some point you get to where you're creating content for all of these Social Networking sites and their advertisers, instead of creative content for my own employer and our advertisers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Video for "Put on Your Boots"

From U2's website. Shot by French film maker / artist Alex Courtes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grammys - The Morning After

It was the most entertaining Grammy Awards show I can remember in a long time, in spite of horrible sound problems for the musical performances. They really could have used a Shane Hurlbut-style knob tweaker. I felt awful for Estelle; everytime she went up at bat for the duet with Kanye the music dropped out of the mix. She had the pipes to pull it off.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

How can anyone say anything bad about Michael Phelps' bong hit, when Whitney Houston was that trashed on the job?

I've been working on and will eventually get around to posting a wee essay on the anti-Coldplay movement; in the meantime, it was delicious to see Chris Martin's wife, Gwynneth Paltrow, nab the honor of introducing Radiohead.

Is Katy Perry the new Madonna, or the new Marlene Dietrich? Inquiring minds are dying to know.

I'm pretty sure I went to bed not long after that, but thanks to the glory of YouTube, many Grammy moments are still available - at least until NARAS demands they all come down. No idea how long this McCartney/Grohl and company stomp will last:

One of the more disappointing - and bizarre - moments I missed was a hugely pregnant M.I.A. coming out on stage, practically on her due date, to perform with Kanye, Lil Wayne, et all, for "Swagger Like Us." As said elsewhere, it would have been nice to see M.I.A., a woman in a state where things don't get any more feminine, and her nominated song get their own spotlight without getting buried underneath a stage full of "Swagger." The outfit was cute, though.

With the guest list they had - all the above, plus others that happened after I went to sleep - last night should turn out to bring in the high ratings they were hoping for. I would have liked to see "Paper Planes" take Record of the Year, but can't complain that "Please Read the Letter" did. Except that it was written a few years ago from Page/Plant, it was the only of the five that stands out as something that lives entirely in its own time, instead of heavily borrowing from past musical movements.

And T-Bone just brought on so much cool.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Defense of Christian Bale

What? That's not enough?

Feh. If you listen to the tape you hear Bale say the DP had been asked multiple times to stop messing with the lights and stay out of his line of sight while cameras were rolling.

So why didn't he?

Ain't It Cool News has a report on the story, confirming that most crew members on film sets would never behave in the way the Director of Photography on Terminator was:

The DP on TERMINATOR SALVATION, Shane Hurlbut, is a apparently a light tweaker. He's a fairly young DP and likes to fiddle with his lights on set during action, which is a big "NO NO" on most productions unless worked out in advance with performers. But apparently Shane was a pretty unrepentant light tweaker. ...

Bale had indeed warned the DP on multiple occasions about messing with lights while the cameras were rolling, and Bale was in the midst of a painful scene with Bryce, what was described to me as being the emotional center of the film and his character for the film.

Someone should have taken the DP aside and told him to cut the crap before it caused a fit. Instead, they released this audio and tried to damage Christian Bale's career by making him look like a prima donna.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Congratulations Paste!

The magazine that still cares about music - among other things - just put out it's 50th issue.

Bonnaroo Thoughts

First, it looks like a great lineup. I'd be thrilled to see Nine Inch Nails in an atmosphere where it's a safe bet 70% of the crowd won't have some kind of chip on their shoulder. Bruce? Wow. What are they going to do with them? "Sorry, Bruce, but you guys can only do a two-hour set. Yeah, I know, but Robyn Hitchcock comes on at midnight."

Second, Gomez returns! Give me your best Howard Dean scream! Last time they played Bonnaroo, they played Nashville Sunday Night that weekend and it was one of the bestest shows (if not the drunkest), ever. (I heard a little bit of their forthcoming album the other day. Not a lot. Just enough to say to David Hall, "ooh, what's this? Me likey. Me want to play.")

Last year I skipped, but I think I'm going to have to brave the heat this time. And all the area hotels are booked. Argh.

Bonnaroo Lineup Announced

And it goes like this:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Beastie Boys
Nine Inch Nails
David Byrne
Al Green
Snoop Dogg
Elvis Costello Solo
Erykah Badu
Paul Oakenfold
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gov't Mule
Andrew Bird

Merle Haggard
The Decemberists
Girl Talk
Bon Iver
Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
of Montreal
Allen Toussaint
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Lucinda Williams
Animal Collective

Neko Case
Jenny Lewis
Robert Earl Keen
Citizen Cope
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Kaki King
Grizzly Bear
King Sunny Adé
Okkervil River
St. Vincent
Zac Brown Band
Raphael Saadiq
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Crystal Castles
Tift Merritt
Brett Dennen
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Toubab Krewe
People Under the Stairs
Alejandro Escovedo
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Todd Snider
Portugal. The Man.
The SteelDrivers
The Knux
The Low Anthem
Delta Spirit
A.A. Bondy
The Lovell Sisters
Alberta Cross

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