Saturday, July 4, 2015

IN CONGRESS JULY 4, 1776: The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

[See, related, Isaac Spaceman's "A Word From Your Editor" (July 4, 2008) here. And set your DVRs -- 1776 airs on TCM at 3pm today. In the meantime, enjoy "The Lees of Old Virginia" as performed by the My Little Pony troupe, and read John Adams' letter to Abigail Adams of July 3, 1776 ("It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.")]

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

SURELY, YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS:  Today marks the 35th anniversary of the release of Airplane!  Make sure not to have the fish, OK?
A WICKED PISSAH:  Among the terms now added to the Oxford English Dictionary are crowdfund,  hot mess, half-ass, stank, shizzle, uncanny valley, tramp stamp, and Masshole.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WHERE WALLACE IS:  Creed, first trailer. Although, as Dan McQuade notes:

I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK HE WILL DO A GOOD JOB:  I cannot tell you how delighted I am that JK Simmons will be doing the voice work for Stan Pines' twin brother in Gravity Falls.
ALL THE CHILDREN REMAIN ABOVE AVERAGE:  Garrison Keillor intends to step down as regular host of A Prarie Home Companion at the end of the 2015-2016 season, to be replaced on a full time basis by Chris Thile, and an increased focus on music rather than comedy sketches and storytelling.
NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH DESK:  Happy Canada Day, everyone!  There is, of course, only one way to celebrate.
HAPPY BOBBY BONILLA PAY DAY!  Because in 2000, Bonilla agreed to waive his $5.9M option in exchange for $1,193,248.20 annually from 2011-2035, which may not have been unreasonable at the time. As the WSJ summarized in 2010
In fact, according to Mr. Gilbert [Bonilla's financial planner], the only real sticking point in the deal was the interest rate. The two sides eventually agreed on 8 percent. In January 2000, the U.S. Prime Rate was 8.5 percent, according to FedPrimeRate.com. 
Years earlier, Mr. Gilbert had negotiated with former Mets general manager Al Harazin a similar deal for Bret Saberhagen, who pitched for the team from 1992 to 1995. For 25 years starting in 2004, Mr. Saberhagen receives annual deferred payments of $250,000. So when the Mets decided to buy out Mr. Bonilla's contract, they had precedent and a template already in place for such an agreement. 
By postponing their payments to Mr. Bonilla for 11 years, the Mets freed enough money to trade for starting pitcher Mike Hampton and outfielder Derek Bell and sign first baseman Todd Zeile. Those three players earned a combined $15.1 million in 2000, and the Mets reached the World Series that year for the first time since 1986.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

THE BIG "YOU'RE A VIRGIN WHO CAN'T DRIVE" NUMBER HAS BEEN CUT:  So, a book for Clueless: The Musical is done, and it's a jukebox musical.  Provide your suggestions for what songs need to be included (does "Kids In America" become an intro number?)  and who needs to be cast.
POOR YOU:  We have the official winner for 2015's TV Villain of the Year, Duvall added the past victors in the comments:
1999: Livia Soprano
2000: Regis Philbin
2001: Richard Hatch
2002: Marti Noxon
2003: Simon Cowell
2004: Al Swearengen
2005: Aaron Echols
2006: Lucille Bluth
2007: Benjamin Linus
2008: Chuck Lorre
2009: Vic Mackey
2010: Boyd Crowder
2011: Mags Bennett
2012: Gustavo Fring
2013: Tywin Lannister
2014: Walter White
I nominated "The System" for 2006 (The Wire season 4), but otherwise that's a mighty solid list. Any additions?  J.R. Ewing for 1978-79, "Bob" for 1990-91?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WILL THE REAL SLIM SHADY PLEASE STAND UP?  ABC has plans to revive To Tell The Truth in primetime, with Anthony Anderson hosting and Betty White as a regular panelist.
IS THIS THE REAL LIFE?  IS THIS JUST FANTASY?  We haven't talked about what's been the surprise of the summer (from a TV perspective) for me, which has been unREAL on Lifetime.  I'm as shocked as you are that the home of classics like Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life, Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?, and Too Young To Be A Dad has produced something this solid (if annoyingly capitalized)--a drama built around the making of a Bachelor clone called Everlasting, including a producer who's both gifted at doing bad things and with a healthy conscience about them, a "suitor" who's more interested in promoting his business than finding true love, the franchise's coke-addled "creator," and the executive producer who will stop at nothing to get "good TV."  Even for someone like me, whose total Bachelor viewing consists of about 10 minutes, it's instantly addicting, and Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are both doing solid work bringing characters who could otherwise come off as one-dimensional to full life.  It's well worth checking out, and Lifetime is streaming it.
IT'S A MIRACLE!  As part of Vulture's 2014-15 in TV Awards, Marti Noxon has named the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne as TV's Villain of the Year, beating Papa Pope, Lucious Lyon, and others.

Episode of the Year?  "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer," with which I also heartily agree. Maybe there's stuff as good, but this was perfect.

Monday, June 22, 2015

SORRY, KORFBALL:  The eight sports making the cut for consideration for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are baseball/softball, squash, karate, surfing, roller sports, sport climbing, wushu, and squash.

"The sports that applied but failed to make the cut were: air sports, American football, bowls, bridge, chess, dance sport, floorball, flying disc, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports, waterski and wakeboard."

Damn.  I wanted Olympic tug-of-war, but only if it were contested by athletes who had medaled in other disciplines earlier in the competition.  As for underwater sports, only if it looks like this.
#LONGREADS, JUNIOR EDITION:  So Lucy's going away for two weeks of sleepaway camp tomorrow, and "care packages" are not allowed ("so as not to create a culture of 'haves' and 'have-nots'") but letters are.  But I figure I can split the difference for a comics-loving (yes, she is already loaded up with Lumberjanes) blessedly nerdy 12-year-old by smuggling in fun things for her to read which aren't as large and conspicuous as books.  Any ideas?
IS HE STRONG?  LISTEN, BUD!  HE'S GOT RADIOACTIVE BLOOD! When SCOTUS decides a patent licensing statutory interpretation case (about a Spider-Man toy), including noting (in the statement of fact) that "The parties set no end date for royalties, apparently contemplating that they would continue for as long as kids want to imitate Spider-Man (by doing whatever a spider can)," and explaining stare decisis with:
What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “SpiderMan,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility”). 
You better believe we're on it.
IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER THERE IS NOW "MAD LOVE" BETWEEN THE PARTIES: So, Taylor Swift posted an open letter yesterday explaining why she was withholding 1989 from Apple Music's streaming service, most notably that during the three month free trial of the service, Apple was paying no royalties to performers or songwriters.  Apple quickly responded by changing its policy, confirming in a series of tweets that "#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period."  No word on if the album will make its way there yet, but, y'know, streamers gotta stream stream stream stream.

Friday, June 19, 2015

IT'S CONTRACTUALLY REQUIRED:  Some interesting category decisions in the Emmy ballot:

  • Chris Messina and Adam Scott submitted as leads.
  • Tatiana Maslany is submitted as "as Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel and Krystal" for leading actress.
  • There was apparently something called Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder Mystery.
  • Even though he was always billed as a guest, and appeared in not every episode, Lawrence Fishburne is running in Supporting Actor for black-ish, as are Hugh Laurie for Veep, and Kyle McLachlan for Agents of SHIELD.
  • But despite being regulars, Jessica Pare and Kiernan Shipka get to submit as a guest for Mad Men.
  • Yet again, appears Game of Thrones is running all submissions in supporting.
  • The CW is pretty sparing in submitting folks beyond leads, but does submit Emily Bett Rickards for Supporting Actress (who would have a pretty damn fine submission episode).
  • Guest Actor submissions include Josh Charles (for the Inside Amy Schumer episode) and Dwayne Johnson (for hosting SNL), 
SADLY, I WILL NOT BE ACCOMPANIED BY AUDREY HEPBURN:  So, I will be in Rome in September for 4 and a half days (a Tuesday night through early Sunday morning), preceded by a jaunt to Manchester, England.  I invite the collective wisdom of the ThingThrowers for things to do (and eat), places to stay, and books I should read.
WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO BE A LANNISTER TOO?  Take a look at the casting call for a "little moment in a major scene" from the GoT season finale, and its rather particular requirements.