Saturday, June 30, 2007

...And He's Fat

The Star, a liberal Canadian paper no less, trashes Moore's latest flick, Sicko (link):

(Moore) sparks valuable debate about such serious issues as gun abuse, politicized terror and corporate chicanery, yet he does so with little regard to factual accuracy or even simple fairness. He is a crusader without conscience.
Sicko is also completely lacking in journalistic rigour, presenting only the negatives of for-profit U.S. health care and only the positives of the government-run Canadian, British, French and Cuban Medicare programs. As always, Moore makes unsupported assertions and uses out-of-context edits. The film is not a documentary, if that term is to mean anything more than unvarnished propaganda.
many other sad and shocking stories are contrasted with scenes of the enlightened Utopias in other countries, where Medicare is "free" – if you ignore the fact, as Moore does, that high taxes and long wait times pay for that "free" care.
Moore interviews the pediatrician daughter of late Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, who tells us that communism is better than capitalism.

Gosh, who could argue with such impartial counsel? Maybe the many Cubans who each year try to flee the island to become American citizens? Such things, as usual, don't trouble Moore. Nor does it seem to occur to him that if Guantanamo were to deny health care to its prisoners, the U.S. would be in violation of international law and basic human rights.
The good news is that I think Moore is finally, and deservedly, getting marginalized as most people get that he unfairly stacks the deck in his films.
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Separated At Birth?

The Hillary Clinton cover from latest issue of Fortune reminded me of the stepmother from Cinderella.

Before anyone accuses me of picking on her, the last "separated" photos I passed along were of Mary Cheney and Phil Spector (link).

Interestingly, the "International" edition of Fortune has the shot cropped so that Hillary's face takes up more of the cover.


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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Leave the Gun, Take The Onions

This is funny (BTW, it's a parody NOT a real news story)...

From The Onion (full "article" here - link)...

James Gandolfini Shot By Closure-Seeking Fan

NEW YORK—Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his portrayal of mob kingpin Tony Soprano on the hit HBO show The Sopranos, was shot to death Tuesday in a Greenwich Village restaurant by a fan unable to accept the open-ended conclusion of the series finale that aired earlier this month.

According to police reports, 28-year-old marketing research assistant Louis Bowen walked into the small Italian restaurant Occhiuto's at approximately 7:40 p.m. and headed directly toward Gandolfini's table. Bowen then drew a snub-nosed .38 revolver from his jacket and shot Gandolfini point-blank in the head three times before dropping the gun and calmly exiting the eatery.

Bowen was apprehended two blocks away by two NYPD officers and reportedly put up no resistance.

"I couldn't let it just hang," Bowen told police in a post-arrest confession released to the media. "Eight years of my life, and a fucking artsy cut to black? It was eating me up inside."

In a late-night City Hall press conference, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to comment on the killing.

"No, no, don't tell me what happened," said Bloomberg, hastily plugging his ears. "I TiVo'ed the last six episodes but I've been too busy to watch them. No spoilers, please."

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Pretty and PETA

An anxious world need wait no longer as the "World’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities" list is finally out. (link)

Apparently, vegetarian's set the bar for "sexy" pretty low as witnessed by some of those who made it.


  • Alicia Silverstone
  • Chelsea Clinton
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Daryl Hannah
  • Grace Slick
  • Linda Blair
  • Mary Tyler Moore
  • Tatum O’Neal


  • Bob Barker
  • Casey Kasem
  • Corey Feldman
  • Dennis Kucinich
  • Dick Gregory
  • Forest Whitaker
  • G. Gordon Liddy
  • James Cromwell
  • Leonard Nimoy
  • Little Richard
  • Weird Al Yankovic

To be fair, Natalie Portman made the list.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Only the Lonely

From BBC News: (link)

The European Space Agency (Esa) is seeking volunteers for a simulated human trip to Mars, in which six crew spend 17 months in an isolation tank.

They will live and work in a series of interlocked modules at a research institute in Moscow. Once the hatches are closed, the crew's only contact with the outside world is a radio link to "Earth" with a realistic delay of many minutes.
The goal is to gain insight into human behaviour and group dynamics under the kinds of conditions astronauts would experience on a journey to Mars.
With the exception of weightlessness and radiation, the crew will experience most other aspects of long-haul space travel, such as cramped conditions, a high workload, lack of privacy, and limited supplies.

Of course, they could save a lot of time and money by just having the volunteers watch a marathon of "The Closer." I'm pretty sure that would have the same results as 17 months in isolation. Come to think of it, this could also work well at Gitmo.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

What About Rosie?

From the AP (link):
"The Price Is Right" needs a host, and Rosie O'Donnell is interested. Very interested. The 45-year-old said on her blog recently that she was meeting with the "Price" people this week and that she "sure would" accept the job if they offer.
Her qualifications include:
  • an overinflated sense of her own talent
  • mean and nasty
  • a propensity for hitting on hot models
I think she'd be the perfect choice to follow in that jackass Bob Barker's footsteps.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ba-Da Boom

Upon a second viewing of The Sopranos finale, I'm more convinced than ever that the "Members Only" guy is NOT a hit man, and it's the viewer who's getting whacked at the blackout.

The title, "Made in America", is a common phrase that's becoming an anachronism (certainly in David Chase's universe). What the wise guys call "this thing of our's" is running against the current trend of America's zeitgeist (as witnessed by the shrinking of Little Italy shown early in the episode).

Vehicles, often characterized by their country of origin, play a very visible role in "Made in America."

  • Phil's head is crushed by what is prominently shown to be a Ford

  • Meadow, a recently recruited junior member of Tony's "thing," has problems parking her foreign car.

  • AJ, who is NOT yet on board (he only wants to be in show business), darts easily around in his BMW and effortlessly parallel parks to pick up his hot new girlfriend.
Which leads to the blackout ending. Both "made" (the "Member's Only" guy) and "America" (the fat guy in the USA cap drinking coffee with multiple creams and lots of sugar) are there simply as symbols of foreboding, NOT actual physical threats to Tony (not yet anyway). He’ll forever have to be on the alert (as he demonstrates in the booth while trying to talk to his wife and AJ).

We the viewer, only vicarious members of Tony's club, will not be around to see these forces play out.

BTW, it seems like the people whining about all the "symbolism" in the last Sopranos episode are the same ones who spend HOURS analyzing every f'n episode of Lost.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Fo-get Abowt It (Spoiler)

Wow...lots of whining today about last night's The Sopranos finale.

I actually liked it.

It wasn't the typical last episode that was neatly constructed and spoon fed the audience a clear conclusion. This ending was totally consistent with how the show has been handled for six seasons. The ambiguity didn't bug me at all. I think a Scarface type gun-fest ending would have a let down.

Two theories as to what happened at the black out (which I'm pretty sure meant someone got clipped because, as Tony once said, "you never see it coming"):
  1. Tony gets whacked
  2. The audience gets whacked (by the show's ending).

I think the latter.

David Chase LOVES messing with his audience -- almost to the point of contentiousness. For instance, twice this season a crowd of people were shown witnessing a "hit." Both times it seemed to be a knock on Sopranos fans as Mafia voyeurs and wannabes.

Chase was upset that he couldn't end the show at five seasons when he tried to. So, he whacked us as punishment.

Great stuff.

BTW, if you want a shoot-em-up ending that wraps things up, get over it and rent Smoking Aces.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Quality Is Job One" or Number Two?

Two views on quality at Ford Motor Company.

First, the J.D Powers Report: (link)

Ford Motor Co., including Mazda Motor Corp., won five model segments, more than any other automaker, as it gained ground on the foreign automakers in the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study released Tuesday.
. . .
The study, a widely regarded industry standard for new-car quality, surveys customers on defects and design problems they have found after 90 days of ownership.
Or, the "POS Test": From the Urban Dictionary

The "Piece of Shit" Test
When one takes the name of a piece of hardware or software (or anything else, for that matter) and runs it through with "+ piece of shit" added to the end. An excellent way of testing the reliability/worthiness of your chosen product.

In other words, a relative measure of quality based on a count of how many times the Internet contains the name of a particular product AND the phrase "piece of shit."

  • 1,020,000 for "ford + piece of shit"
  • 416,000 for "gm + piece of shit"
  • 396,000 for "honda + piece of shit"
  • 326,000 for "toyota + piece of shit"
  • 158,000 for "chrysler + piece of shit"

No, I'm not still bitter over the transmission problems I had with my '92 Tempo.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

London Calling

A true story worthy of The Onion regarding claims that the logo for the 2012 Olympics is causing epileptic fits (link):

A segment of animated footage promoting the 2012 Olympics has been removed from the organisers' website after fears it could trigger epileptic seizures.
And migranes (link):

The controversial 2012 Olympics logo ran into more trouble today as it emerged that a video promoting it had triggered migraines and epileptic fits.
I guess that means Mary Hart won't be doing any Olympic coverage (link).
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Losers...Come on Down!!

I wonder which fans are more "fanatical" -- Stars Wars people waiting in line for tickets to the next installment or die-hard Bob Barker fans in sleeping bags outside of the Price is Right studio. (link)

Philip Barrett, 24, of Tampa, Fla., had camped outside the studios since Saturday to see Barker tape his last show Wednesday afternoon.

"This is the chance of a lifetime," he said.

Melanie Zepeda Velez, 32, traveled from Alberta, Canada. "I'm here because I need to kiss Bob," she said.

Fans hoped for a chance to bid on prizes, but mostly they came to bid farewell.

Barrett had to hear Barker say it one last time. "I get teary-eyed just thinking about it," he said.

. . .

"I'd rather win a couch from Bob Barker than a million dollars from Howie Mandel," host of NBC's "Deal or No Deal," said Mark Dub, a NASA engineer who flew from Houston for the final show. "He's part of American culture."

I hope they apply Bob's trademark close for each show, "Have your pets spayed and neutered," to themselves as well.

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