Thursday, March 30, 2006

Participating in the world, while completely wasting your time

Help Esquire magazine pick the Best Song of the 21st Century, if you like.

Well, you can choose from what they consider the ones to be considered. (Of those they offered, I had to go with Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" over Jay-Z's "99 Problems".)

You'd think, with 94 years to go, it's a bit early to determine what the best song will be, but hey, why wait to the last minute?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hey, tree and sky

What? You expected more?


(I'd apologize for the lack of posts in the past week and a half, but that implies anyone came here looking for new stuff. We know that didn't happen.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's not shamrocks, exactly...

You've undoubtedly seen plenty of green today. Shamrocks a go-go.

At the office they had green bagels--I passed on those, myself; not only was the hue unappetizing, but I don't like to support the notion that adding food coloring to any food somehow makes it "Irish".

Something I did not expect to find at the office in commemoration of the patron saint of Ireland is shown below.

That is a picture of one of the urinals in the mens room on my floor. (Don't worry--it's been flushed.)

(Ladies, here's your chance to see what you're missing in your restrooms.)

Notice the splash guard located in the bowl portion. More specifically, notice the color of the splash guard. In the year and a half I've worked on this particular floor, the splash guard in the urinals has always been white. Every day, be it holiday or not.

Today, there were green. Erin go bragh, everyone.

(Yes, I took my camera in there to snap this shot. That's my level of dedication to you, the reader. At least to those who bothered to scroll this far.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

No comment

The other night I left a comment on a random blog I came across (thanks to the button near the top of most Blogger pages) where the writer had posted a criticism of Best Picture winner Crash that was much like what I had thought: good movie, but too heavy-handed to be “best” (he apparently leaned toward Munich, which after I see that I can comment on). My comment was more or less just agreeing, and not particularly clever, but given that I wouldn’t mind such things being left on my posts—or any comment left by an actual living human rather than a scrawling robot, whether agreeing or disagreeing or being complete non sequitor—it seemed worth the effort to do so for this person. (There were only two other comments, so it wasn’t one of those blogs with a rabid readership.)

Then after I’d clicked post on the little dialog box, the focus returned to my blog (back before clicking the Next Blog button), and then I couldn’t get back to the one where I’d just posted the comment (as best I could tell). I hadn’t noticed the name of the blog, and attempting to search the blogs for references to the Oscars brought way too many results. So somewhere out there in the vast electronic wasteland some person has a few of my words acknowledging I’d read what he wrote, but it’s unlikely I’ll find where those words are.

If you love something, set it free…

I’ve had a few such incidents here on my blog, where some random person came across it and left a comment. I have no indication those individuals were inspired to return intentionally, but that’s not something I’d expect. Obviously, I can’t get even the people who are acquainted with me (and who, when I prompt them to read it, claim to enjoy it) to read it regularly (without prompting) nor to leave comments when they do. I guess what I write doesn’t inspire that level of effort. Or maybe the commenting feature is buggy and when people have tried they’ve encountered problems, and have given up trying; I wouldn’t put it past technology to be against me in that regard.

It usually is.

I later came across a blog where the writer identified himself as Christian conservative (yeesh, this is seeming like I was actually bothering to read—it was a small part of my online experience last night, I assure you), but where (amongst other topics) he had a piece where he commented on something another blogger had asserted, that being that Christian conservatives should be libertarians, because the conservatives (as exemplified by the current administration) had adopted big government, and conservatives really should be in favor of less government, not more.

Yeah, they should, from what I can tell.

Anyway, I glanced at two other posts, one where he asserted that the Constitution holds no inherent protection for legalizing abortion (technically true) and criticizing the Supreme Court for the Roe v. Wade decision, but suggesting that it should be left to the states to vote on (and of course, hoping that people would outlaw it in such a vote). Agree or not, at least there he seemed to have some Constitutional foundation for some of his argument. I didn’t see if there were comments (and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to leave one, either agreeing or disagreeing—not that I would—because I’m not of the opinion that there is the possibility of changing anyone’s mind on that topic).

Another post I glanced at (and again, it’s amazing I recall this much, given how briefly I did so) was a predictable lambaste of the Best Picture nominees (bringing this back to that) and how, based on what was nominated, it was clear Hollywood had an agenda. Here I did notice the comments, which commenced with someone noting how one could usurp the ostensible power of Hollywood by not seeing the movies (it is true that the most powerful politics in Hollywood is that of making money), and throwing in an appropriate jab about “or you could continue to comment on movies you haven’t seen.” And then it went back and forth between the blogger and some commenters in a rather predictable fashion. However, the controversial nature of the blogger’s viewpoints clearly inspired readers to leave input.

I am not controversial enough, or really, controversial at all. That is my undoing. Worst thing I ever did was try to not just piss off people (not to be confused with trying to always please them). In this era, I am mere background noise.

At least I can live with that.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The fountain at the end of the universe

The fountain at Cal Plaza (again) and a shot that is only available in the afternoon during these waning days of winter (during the other three seasons the sun is too high in the sky).
And I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge yesterday was the anniversary of the birth of the late (and it goes without saying, magnificent) Douglas Adams. If you haven't read The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you need to make the time to do so. I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Another brief thought on the Oscars

I'm unconcerned with the negative review Frazier Moore gave Jon Stewart as host of the Oscars. I didn't expect Jon to be as good as he is on "The Daily Show"; I just expected him to be more entertaining than the openings to the Golden Globes and the Super Bowl.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another photo interlude

More downtown L.A. Either you recognize the locations or you don't, and if you don't and actually care, leave a comment; I'll identify them on request.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A brief thought on the Oscars

One of the lead stories I saw about last night's Academy Awards telecast was how ratings were down from last year. In the linked story, there was this quote alleging host Jon Stewart may have contributed to that:

But Stewart, who built his career skewering politicians in general, and the Bush administration in particular, may have been a turnoff to some older viewers and to those in the nation's heartland.

"This year, when I saw Jon Stewart come up there, I had no interest at all in turning it on," said Allan Poturalski, 46, an investment management executive in Toledo, Ohio. "I don't like the way he bashes and condemns the administration."

So Mr. Poturalski was otherwise excited to see whether the "gay cowboy" movie or the "gay writer" movie or the "liberal media" movie or the "race relations" movie or the "Jewish retribution" movie took the big prize? Really?


And now that Crash has won Best Picture, I feel compelled to implore all the people forwarding the Brokeback Mountain jokes: Please stop.

Find someone who can cleverly poke fun at Crash, and forward that (if you must).
I am not such a person. Look elsewhere.

Okay, I will allow more Brokeback jokes, but only on these conditions:
1. It must be original (which ain't gonna happen).
2. You must have actually seen the movie.
If you don't know what you're making fun of, you don't deserve to do so. Put in the time, people.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Seuss-er Bowl

Today is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Theodor Geisel, which regular readers of these pages will know is the given name of Dr. Seuss. I figured the media would give it modest mention; he was enough of a celebrity (in the sense of one who warranted celebrating) that people would find it interesting (before reading about Nick’s pursuit of alimony from Jessica, or after reading about the possibility of civil war in Iraq, etc.). I haven't seen evidence of that, so screw the media. I don’t have much to say about that, other than they should have. This gives me an opportunity, however, to get into something I didn’t do a few weeks ago.

No one is probably interested in hearing about the Super Bowl now, nearly a month after the fact. The poor officiating was discussed on all the sports talk shows and around water coolers ad nauseum in the week after the game, and prior to the game it was hyped in the traditional fashion so that we only had a week’s worth of tolerance for hearing about it afterward; it’s not unlike the way by New Year’s Day we’re over Christmas, having put up with hearing of that since Thanksgiving (er, Halloween).

Even the other aspects of the event were overused fodder to fill time in the wake of the big game. Much was made of the poor sound quality during the Stones’ halftime set, and of the words that were excised (through quick fade out) from Mick’s lyrics (dropping the last word from the line in “Rough Justice” that asks “Am I just one of your cocks?”). The commercials were also declared to be overall disappointing, relative to previous years, which they were. That there were no ads for erectile dysfunction (unlike last year) received some note. So there’s no new ground to mine there, especially this far removed from the date of the game.

However, I heard nothing about the intro ABC prepared to air just shortly before kickoff. Maybe people weren’t watching then, making final beer runs to the liquor store, but they missed the dulcet tones of Harrison Ford—a man’s man—and some former Super Bowl heavies—not so dulcet but still manly men—performing Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go (certainly his most manly work, behind only Horton Hears a Who!). Yes, when I think American football, I think Seuss; the two have been synonymous since copies of The Lorax were handed out instead of Super Bowl rings to the 1972 champion Miami Dolphins. (That was downplayed in the media, so if you try to find mention of it now you’ll see only a terribly effective cover-up has hidden all evidence. The rings worn by the players are fakes, manufactured at Area 51. I must stop now; they're listening.) The thing about that: They were original, signed copies.

[Okay, I have found a mention of the intro at a the San Diego Union-Tribune explaining it was the brainchild of the same guy who came up with the semi-controversial Terrell Owens-Nicolette Sheridan towel intro to a Monday Night Football game. Interesting.]

What I wonder is: Would this have been allowed were Mr. Geisel still alive? Would he allow his work to promote an already ridiculously over commercialized event? I’m not sure, but I certainly question the likelihood of it. (Were it political, absolutely.) However, one wonders: was his estate in need of cash?

Please, Geisel estate, don't allow another live-action film adaptation. Have you not seen the pictures of actual items I own peppered through this post? I'll pay to keep that from happening.

It’s enough to make one question the worth of leaving a legacy. If one does nothing that amounts to anything society notices then there’s no chance one’s heirs will sell it out after one’s death. The Egyptian pharaohs had the right idea: have it buried with you. Of course, they had no marketing departments to contend with about this. (And the grave robbers—er, archeologists—put your stuff in museums, with the inherent dignity thereof. Well, ideally that occurred.)

To be fair, the actual intro was not altogether awful; I wouldn’t go so far as to call it good, and I think it more blasphemous than honoring to the good Doctor (okay, “Doctor”). I couldn’t identify any connection to Detroit to explain using it (Geisel had no connection to the Motor City I’m aware of), nor do I imagine it was anything more than generally ignored by most viewers. (“Hey, it’s some crazy cartoon thing on TV—I’ll get more guacamole before kickoff.”) Ford performed admirably, but as an accomplished actor I would expect no less; the others used in the piece came off about as well as when Tom Brady hosted SNL (wooden, and looking like football players and coaches—showing why they’re not actors). It was ultimately dismissible, neither interesting nor offensive. It didn’t even give anything for the comics on “Best Week Ever” to skewer.

As my girlfriend noted at the time: At least it wasn’t out-and-out bad like that awful opening to the Golden Globes telecast (the hideously “adapted” lyrics of the flash-in-the-pan Pussycat Dolls hit “Don't Cha”—I can't even pretend it was so terrible it came back around to good). The producers of the Super Bowl pre-game telecast at least pilfered something of some artistic merit.

It’s a shallow pond of talent running these things, clearly. Maybe next year the producers and the referees should switch places—one wonders if either side could do worse than what the other did for this “XL” affair. Heck, Fox would probably film it as a new reality show. Marginally Competent Job Swap


Speaking of the grand televised events that occur on Sundays (which didn’t include the Golden Globes this year), I hold hope that the opening to the upcoming Academy Awards telecast, with Jon Stewart hosting, will offer at least the slightest hint of actual entertainment.

I also notice E! will allow Isaac Mizrahi to cover the red carpet (as he did for them before the Globes), and if so, whether any actresses will actually get within groping range for an interview.

Tying this back in with the Super Bowl: Isaac grabbing the butt of Jerome Bettis during the pre-game would have been worthy of saving on the TiVo. So it’s really the producers of the cheesy basic cable channels and those at the networks who need to pull some kind of mash-up in their pre-event ideas.

I should charge for these brilliant ideas. If only I had no scruples, I would be freakin’ rich.


My (entirely predictable) prediction for the Oscars: The Red States won’t be happy. (Oh yeah. That's clever.)

Return of the blimp

Spotted over the skies of Long Beach (from the Blue Line train), it's the same blimp that was over the Staples Center a couple weeks back. It's stalking me... very slowly.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Huey goes Hollywood (oh the shame)

Boondocks billboard against the Hollywood hills. Incongruous? You decide.

On a completely unrelated note, I added another old column from my college days to the archives, which can be found here (in addition to the links at the right), for those who want to see how bad my writing was a decade ago. (I left the editing errors in, so you could enjoy it just like you were a bored student back then, reading it to kill time between classes.)

I am so smart. s-m-r-t.

This evening I got home in time to see part of Jeopardy, and the Final Jeopardy question was something about how certain birds tricking other birds into rearing their young led to this term relating to infidelity. (Apologies for not recalling the exact text of the answer.)

I blurted out the answer--er, the question--almost immediately.

None of the three contestants even came close to getting it.

I did my little victory dance, right there in the living room. Oh yeah! I knew something the supposed brainiacs didn't. Or at least for some reason my brain thought of that at the appropriate time (it only works like this when it does me absolutely no good, however).

The "question": Cuckold. It comes from (believe it or not) the cuckoo bird, which would lay eggs in the nests of other birds.

Yes, I really should have better things to tout in my life.