Saturday, April 12, 2008

BY YOUR COMMAND: Cylon politics took an interesting turn this week. Discuss, with spoilers, in the comments.
WE ACCIDENTALLY REPLACED YOUR HEART WITH A BAKED POTATO. YOU HAVE ABOUT THREE SECONDS TO LIVE: George Clooney is probably America's most interesting movie star, so conscious of his playing the role of "celebrity" and using it in a variety of different ways, and Ian Parker's profile of him in the latest New Yorker is certainly worth your time:
Clooney is America’s national flirt, a pitchman on talk shows and red carpets who, against the background hum of the world’s lust and envy, is lightly ironic, clever, and self-deprecating, with furrowed brow and bobbing head, and a gyration in the lower jaw suggesting something being moved around under his tongue. This busy charm — a man on his way out to a party, feeling pretty good about his hair — was profitably packaged in “Ocean’s Eleven” and its two sequels, films that, more than anything, seemed to be oblique views of the A-list esprit de corps, real or imagined, that went into making them; they were fictions yearning to be “making of” documentaries. (Together, they earned more than a billion dollars.) And that charm was largely withheld, to effect, in the downbeat roles that Clooney took in “Syriana” and “Michael Clayton.” There he played hurting, unanchored men. In both cases, he was assigned a romantic partner—played by Greta Scacchi and Jennifer Ehle, in turn — who was edited out of the movie, with Clooney’s blessing. (Referring to his “Clayton” character — a back-room fixer in a New York law firm—Clooney explained to me, “If he’s loved, then he has a buffer, and somehow it isn’t as awful.”)
I know the reviews have been mixed -- is "Leatherheads" worth seeing?
QUIS CUSTOD IPSOS CUSTODIET? Okay, so all of the Little Earthling's preschool friends are very into superheroes and want to play superheroes at school. And apparently he just doesn't get it. I'm a science fiction guy. My son knows enough to understand the importance of The Cage ("Captain Kirk is probably hiding somewhere") or The Doomsday Machine ("It's not a bad guy, it's a bad telescope. Or a bad flashlight."). But he's too young for a fifth Nixon Administration and Dr. Manhattan. So what to do?

To wit, is there a good superhero cartoon that I can rent on Netflix so he can get the gist of the whole superheroes thing? Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Superfriends. Age appropriate superheroes for a 3.75 year old. Talk to me.
NO, YOU CANNOT HAZ CHEEZBURGER: Discuss-the project to translate the entirety of the Bible into LOLCat--bizarre? Offensive? Ridiculous? Art? Pointless?

Friday, April 11, 2008

DOES WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN: As you may recall, novelist Michael Chabon wrote an early draft of Spider-Man 2, and enough was saved that he got a "screen story" credit. Chabon's full screenplay is up for the moment on the Internet, and may be of interest--just reading the opening sequence, you can picture how majestic it could have been.
LOOKS GOOD ON YOU, THOUGH: I was more measured the last time I criticized a TwoP redesign, so this time I'll be blunt: whatever prozac-addled adolescent monkey created the bizarre, seizure-inducing new look should be beaten severely with a serif.
THE WAR OF THE ROSES/WAR AND POOS: Last night brought the first TiVo conflict of the post-strike era, and it was a doozy, with the HDDVR getting Survivor and NBC HD's Technical Difficulties Message, and the upstairs box thankfully picking up SD 30 Rock (followed by The Office) and Idol.

One could look at this Office as a disappointment -- we waited half a year for another episode, like "Diwali" "Phyllis's Wedding," going to unrealistic lengths to make us uncomfortable about Michael? That, I submit, is the wrong way to look at it. This episode was all about easing us back into the comfortable rhythms of the show -- the horrified Jim cutaways, Pam's deadpan confessionals, the clueless Andy sycophancy, Dwight's dogged pursuit of his two loves, Michael's tackiness (bonus: Jan's egotism). As a reminder of who our core characters are, it worked well enough. Now get back to the office. Also: even shot from only the shoulders up, Angela is distractingly pregnant.

30 Rock, for me, was far weirder. It was far more sit-commy than usual for that show, especially with the tacked-on Pete subplot. Some funny moments, especially the brief Tracy banana scene (and I always appreciate the absence of Jenna), but I never really go for the Bad Liz Lemon stuff. I realize what Fey was trying to do -- this episode was a jab at NBC's strike behavior, as much as Greenzo was about NBC's cynical environmental consciousness -- but it didn't hold together as well for me.

Over on Pervivor, Ozzy, despite his protestations, sure struts like the top rooster. Tribal council was interesting in a way different from the way that most interesting tribal councils are interesting. In this one, an argument broke out between two people whose analysis was exactly correct (though only one of them was smart and self-conscious enough to understand that). Anyway, because I root mostly for competence on ths show, I was sorry to see this bootee go. You know what? Sometimes trying not to spoil pretty much ruins what you can say about a program.
WELCOME BACK TO THE JUNGLE: Reports are stirring that Axl Rose has (finally) delivered Chinese Democracy, the first album of original Guns N' Roses material since 1991's Use Your Illusion I/II to his record company. Does anyone still care? Other #1 albums in 1991 included Vanilla Ice's To The Extreme (#1 for 8 weeks), Mariah Carey's debut (#1 for 11 weeks), R.E.M.'s Out Of Time (#1 for 2 weeks), and albums by N.W.A., Skid Row, and Michael Bolton.
THE KNOTHOLE GANG: Commenter dp asks: "Short of ordering best available, can anyone in the Philly area recommend the best area of Citizens Bank Park to sit in?"
NOT VERY BRIGHT: A quick review of recent concert occurrences, in case you're ever invited on stage with The Boss:
PUT ME IN COACH: Sort of Blink-182 meets John Fogarty meets Rafi. It's Justin Roberts' Pop-Fly.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

APPLE GIVES BACK: If you want to see just how big AI is, just take a look at your iTunes Top 100. As of this moment, I count at least 12 songs that have sales partially or wholly driven by recent AI appearances/performances:
  • #7--Carrie Underwood, "Praying for Time"
  • #8--Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"
  • #10--Miley Cyrus, "See You Again"
  • #11--"Shout To The Lord" (Idol Gives Back) (and man, is that an awful, awful song)
  • #13--Daughtry, "What About Now" (Idol Gives Back, Live)
  • #21--Annie Lennox, "Many Rivers To Cross"
  • #24--Daughtry, "What About Now" (album version)
  • #39--"Don't Stop The Music" (Idol Gives Back)
  • #40--Robbie Williams, "Angels"
  • #53--Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World"
  • #82--Mariah Carey, "Fly Like A Bird" (Idol Gives Back)
  • #92--Cast of Rent, "Seasons Of Love"
In addition, 2 other Carrie Underwood songs ("All American Girl," "Before He Cheats"), 2 other Daughtry songs ("Home," "Feels Like Tonight"), and 2 Jordin Sparks songs ("Tattoo," "No Air") make the Top 100. Also, because Apple doesn't place downloads of contestant performances on the Top 100, those don't appear on the list. This is a dominance beyond High School Musical level, which is pretty darn impressive.
BRIAN BENBEN SHEDS A TEAR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have two tiers this season: Young David Archuleta's, and everyone else's.

Michael Johns' boot tonight reminds me of Tamyra Gray's in season one -- an utterly solid and competent singer (though, okay, she was better) fallen prematurely by a bad choice in a wide-open genre. It is impossible for me to argue, based on this week alone, that he *wasn't* the worst of the eight singers, but it's weird seeing someone go from "never in the bottom three" to gone without being actively bad -- and yet every eliminated person is someone who had never been threatened before -- i.e., folks being lax because their favorite has never seemed at risk.

David Cook is, quietly, a very happy man tonight. His main competition to make the finals is gone.
A CHICKEN LADY, PUREED BASS, AND DEAD PARROT: Nerve and IFC have teamed up to create an awesome list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches of All Time, with entries coming from obvious favorites like SNL and Monty Python, as well as Kids in the Hall, Chapelle, and, even Abbot and Costello. Lots of clips to kill your productivity this afternoon, as well as I am sure plenty of omissions, which you no doubt will jam the comments thread with. I'll start with "The Eradicator" from Kids in the Hall and SNL's "Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber."
DIRTY LITTLE SECRET: It seems as though many Secret Talents of the Stars will remain so--after airing the premiere (featuring the country western song stylings of George Takei, the stand-up comedy of Clint Black, and the tap dancing of Mya) has been axed. According to Wikipedia, we missed the chance to see Danny Bonaduce on a unicycle, Ric Flair salsa dancing, and Ben Stein dancing the jitterbug.
ONE SKANK, TWO SKANK, RED SKANK, BLUE SKANK: OK, if you rent your home to the producers of Rock of Love for use as a home for Bret Michaels and his ladies (and we use that term very loosely here), isn't there at least a pretty good argument that you've assumed the risk that Bret might well trash the place? My favorite is that producers are now "claiming they were not aware of what Michaels was up to when not being monitored."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

COINCIDENTALLY, "IDOL GIVES BACK" IS WHAT I LIKE TO CALL MY TAX RETURN: I guess I'm tapedelayblogging this thing (and by the way, the serious parts -- I am not touching that shit, don't worry). Let me first say that I think it's great that Idol is doing this. I don't remember Alias Takes a Bullet for Victims of Violence or The Jeffersons Help You Move On Up. But ...

Idol Gives Back? I didn't pay attention to this last year, so sorry if this is an unoriginal thought, but don't you usually want to make the charity the focus, not the charitor? Is the group sing going to be "I Am the World?" And also, when somebody tells me to "give something back," I understand that to mean "... to the person from whom I took it in the first place." I'm guessing Uganda didn't get all messed up texting votes for Bucky Covington. So the show should really be called Idol Gives Some of What You Gave Us to Somebody Else.

Anyway, nothing gets me in the mood for giving like SYTYCD dancers fondling David Archuleta. Did somebody leave Lacey in the toaster too long? She's the color of Lauren's tights.

Maria Shriver's skull is on the outside. Somebody should tell Kobe that he doesn't need to wear the nicotine patch on his eye socket.

I buy Paula as a tone-deaf Tenille, but Randy is a shitty Captain.

Paula (to kid in between Paula and Randy in back of car): Where do the children play?
Kid: Most of them don't come out of their house because they're scared of them doing a drive-by.
Paula: Why the hell am I sitting by the window?
[Next shot: Kid sitting by window.]

Why am I watching Lois Lane, Chase, Agent Weiss, the Bachelor, and Bonnie Sommerville(?) singing a song? They should open up for that band with Stephen King and Amy Tan, and maybe Bruce Willis can join them on harmonica, and then there will be no vanity left anywhere else.

Miley Cyrus: America's Paige Michalchuk. At least I'm pretty sure that's Miley Cyrus, and not her alter ego, the Jonas Brothers.

Ann and Nancy Wilson are still so bad-ass. If I were Carly I would be embarrassed.

I always get Jon Cena and Jon Secada confused.

Did Idol have Amanda and Ramiele and Hernandez back just to man the phone banks? Man, cold. Amanda is like, "give more, or I will FUCK you up," and Ramiele is like, "double that, or I'm going to sing," and Archuleta is having a panic attack because he's not practicing right now. Seriously, he basically admitted this on last night's show.

One word out of Beckham's mouth, and Spacewoman goes, "I am so over him." I forgot British people could sound dumb.

You just can't tell me that David Archuleta (or, for that matter anybody else in this year's crop) is capable of a confident, polished, mature performance like that Underwood one. I never liked her, but she does put the lie to this crop of wannabes. I do wish Jesse Spencer were in her string quartet, though.

Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Dane Cook, Mary Murphy, Robin Williams, Tyra Banks. Now I feel like crying.

Wow, Miley Cyrus hates stutterers. I had a joke here, but oh, so wrong. Even I can't post that.

And with that, my DVR cut out. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you can still give at
AND AS END FEEL FINE I IT IT'S KNOW OF THE WE WORLD: Via a reader, this neat alphabetical lyrics quiz, and by alphabetical I mean "can you recognize a song if all its words were in alphabetical order", such as #45:
along alright and as be burning but can’t carriage cook cornmeal cry darling dear don’t dry everything feet fire forget friends future georgie gone gonna good got government great have hypocrites i i’ll i’m i’ve in is it lights little logwood lost make meet mingle my night no observing of oh on only past people porridge push remember say share shed sister sit so tears the then they this through to trenchtown use used was way we when which while with woman would yard you your
Give us your own challenges in the comments.
I SUGGEST VERONICA CORNINGSTONE: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Katie Couric may well be in negotiations to leave the CBS Evening News. They report that her likely destination is as a replacement for Larry King over on CNN. Two questions spurred by this--if Katie's leaving, where should she go? Is replacing CNN's besuspendered interview the right place to go? And who should replace Katie as anchor? My answers? She should retire or perhaps start some sort of show similar to The View, and Anderson Cooper.
MY COAT IS OLD AND GROWING THIN: This is a second attempt at this post. I deleted the first one, as I said in the comments a few threads back, because I am ridiculous. Upon further reflection, I am also right, so I'm going to say it: To the ever-expanding list of things that I have declared on this blog to be not cool (a list that, as 3under5 reminds me, includes Bon Jovi, Drew Barrymore, the Eagles reunion, and Van Hagar, as well as, I believe, Archuleta, mobile-device belt holsters, and wallets with windows for your ID), I am adding: men's spring coats.

I'm not saying that one should not wear a coat in the spring. To that, I say: "brrr." I'm just saying that months of looking for a coat that is appropriate for both casual and office-casual wear while at the same time registering a positive value on the lame-to-cool spectrum has convinced me that that coat just doesn't exist. Standard Banana Republic zippered windbreaker? Platonic neutral on the cool scale; the equivalent of saying that if you don't try you can't fail. North Face fleece? Not if you're not rock climbing at that exact moment. Overcoat? Too hard to drive in, adverse reaction with messenger bag, faintly smells of Columbine. Collarless leather motorcycle jacket? Only if you're a Vicodin-popping misanthropic diagnostician, otherwise you're trying too hard. Blazer or sport coat? Don't get me started.

I think I've owned two cool spring-appropriate coats in my lifetime: a leather bomber jacket (no logos) from the 1980s and a grunge-era $5 thrift-store plasterers' union jacket (made cool because the union label was so ridiculous -- what union features a worker on his hands and knees on its merchandising? What message are you trying to send to management?). I would have had a third -- a black motorcycle jacket (one of those zippered confections) for my ride across the country -- but a friend of mine had one and that would have been exceedingly uncool. What I'm trying to say is that cool jackets have existed, but they don't exist right now.
HIGHER, STRONGER, GETTING-AWAYERER: If all goes according to expectations, in about 45 minutes or so a person will run right by my office carrying a burning stick, chased by what I can confirm is an angry mob consisting of colorfully-dressed and liberally-placarded people, a disproportionate number of whom have black hair or are bald. (Note: No politics here, people! No politics!)

This got me thinking of a dilemma to which my mind wanders frequently: in the absence of another's ability to surround, head off, or call for backup, what is the optimal way to flee*? I realize you probably have to start out in a dead sprint and at some point you have to go to the kind of run that you might be able to maintain forever, but how and when do you transition between the two? I used to think that efficient fleeing would require you to sprint top-speed until you're about 10 yards or so ahead of the chaser, and then calibrate your speed to the speed of the chaser, thus always maintaining your 10-yard cushion. The more I think about it, though, I think there's a value to putting as much distance between you and the chaser at the beginning, to discourage him (or her, depending upon the nature of your misdeed, I suppose) from trying to keep up and to increase the possibility of losing the chaser entirely. The problem with this approach, though, is that an intrepid chaser can just continue pursuit, gaining ground as you get winded. Surprisingly, Baseball Prospectus has been no help at all.

Also, I'm not sure how I know this, but I'm fairly certain the efficient escape route involves vaulting over a fruit stand, running through a suburban family's afternoon barbeque party, and somehow rakishly surprising a scantily-clad woman.

*(My assumptions are that you and the chaser are in equal physical condition; that there are no enclosures that would prevent you from continuing to run forever; and that the rate of exhaustion/distance increases linearly as speed increases, although a logarithmic increase is equally plausible.)

ETA: San Francisco, eager to avoid a Seattle WTO-style wang-dang-doodle, has faked us out. Instead of running the torch from AT&T Park up the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf, SF rerouted it to Bush and Van Ness several miles away, leaving thousands of protesters along the waterfront with no totem to scorn. Perhaps the protesters should have guessed from the fact that there was not a single policeman along the Embarcadero today.
THERE IS NOW IN MY MOUTH THIS SHARP CHAIN -- AND IT NEVER COMES OUT: For those of you who have been yearning to see Harry Potter's doodits on this side of the Atlantic, you will shortly have your opportunity. The Daniel Radcliffe revival of Equus is coming to Broadway this fall. (I will confess that I have always found the notion of Uncle Vernon playing Dysart opposite Radcliffe's Alan Strang to be mildly bizarre.)

Fans of the play? Neighsayers?
NEXT STOP, PENNSYLVANIA STATION: I'm as opposed to inappropriate conduct on the train and other forms of public transit as anyone else, but I don't know that I'd "shout[] an obscenity at a passenger talking on his cellphone and slap[] the hand of another," as did someone who is currently on trial in Manhattan Criminal Court (and who gets the front page of the Times Metro section today). Particularly unendearing is his insistence on comparing himself to Rosa Parks--about which Sarah Vowell probably has something to say. (The Sorkin clip referenced by Vowell is available starting at about 10:40 here (with Chinese subtitles, no less!))

Edited--one of my links is now fixed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Smoove Is Waiting | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

IN THE MORNING, ROOM SERVICE WILL BRING UP A SELECTION OF PANCAKES, MANY OF WHICH WILL BE EMBEDDED WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS OR BLUEBERRIES AND/OR OTHER SUCH DELIGHTS: Smoove B only writes for The Onion about once a year at this point, but that week has arrived again. Smoove is pining for a former lover.

The Tony Awards: Exactly Like the NBA's Western Conference -- Vulture -- Entertainment & Culture Blog -- New York Magazine

"TRACY MCGRADY, AS EVERYONE KNOWS, IS THE CARYL CHURCHILL OF THE NBA": Or so claims this New York magazine mashup of the contenders for the NBA Western Conference crown and the Tony nominations in the Best Play categories:
MACBETH -- NBA counterpart: Phoenix Suns
As Mike D'Antoni's Suns do to the NBA, BAM's production of Macbeth brings a teensy touch of the European avant-garde to Broadway. And the addition to each's roster of a bald-headed monster — Patrick Stewart's Macbeth and Shaquille O'Neal — might have seemed like folly at first but now feels like genius.
In other basketball coverage in the magazine, Jeff Coplon writes a definitive eulogy for the Knickerbockers.
IF YOU WILL IT, DUDE, IT IS NO "DREAM ON": In a week in which every contestant was free to choose anything in his or her respective wheelhouse, you'd think someone would going to go home for choosing poorly more than anything else. But no one was that good, surprisingly, and even the top end of tonight's curve is no better than a B/B-.

All three "rockers" are at risk -- none of David Cook, Michael Johns or Carly Smithson were all that memorable. Like almost every other contestant in the show's history, Carly was outmatched by taking on Freddie Mercury. Whatever that Our Lady Peace song was, Cook's performance of it felt inert and restrained. Yawn. And Aerosmith, really, Michael? Good enough to survive, but only barely.

Most at risk, however, is Syesha, who committed the sin -- regularly noted on this blog -- of trying to perform a song that another Idol previously owned. Fantasia put so much of her emotion and personality into "I Believe"; Syesha didn't give us that.

So who's safe? Kristy Lee Cook was fine. I've got nothing much to say about that.

Clifford the Crunchy Muppet knows his zone: "Songs Popularized As Background Music In TV Shows To Express Sadness," and his take on the Dr. Mark Greene Death Theme was, indeed, rather lovely.

Young David Archuleta, as Fienberg notes, took too long to get to the good part of Robbie Williams' brilliant "Angels," and it still never quite took off. Still, he's YDA, and he's not going anywhere.

Finally, I'm not sure if Brooke White was genuinely overcome with emotion during "You've Got A Friend" or if it's the demonstration of that widely-attributed maxim that "the secret of acting is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made." Either way, I figure, she's survived worse weeks than this.
I'M GONNA BE LIKE YOU, DAD, I'M GONNA BE JUST LIKE YOU: While attending to other business last night, I watched, with one eye, MTV's heavily-promoted Rock Off the Old Block Parents Just Don't Understand Your Mama Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll Rock the Cradle. If you're like me, at some point in the last six years you have complained about American Idol's relentless cheesiness, from its chrome-and-clip-art-fire stage to its lowest-common-denominator song selection to its fetishization of conformity, melisma, and adolescent male androgyny. One way to silence that complaint would be to fix all of the problems with Idol. Another way would be to demonstrate that it could be far, far worse. Ergo: Rock the Cradle.

Oy. There is no part of this Idol ripoff that is without problems -- the set (cramped and cardboard-flimsy), the contestants (mostly terrible, all lacking either charisma or talent and often both, and including one unpleasantly mouthy child with disfiguring plastic surgery), the parents (mortified for their children, but at least nice about it, if name-droppy), the host (cut-rate Dunkelman), the judges (Belinda Carlisle looking ageless but coated in spar varnish; some choreographer; some stylist; Britney's prodigal Svengali -- none of whom said anything worth hearing, making it Idol 1/3, Cradle 0), the weird editing choices (if you're trying to sell a talent show, should you show the band rolling their eyes at the contestants' lack of talent?). So allow me to single out one part of the production for particular criticism: the sound engineer. The pitch problems were so pervasive across all contestants that the only possible explanation is that they couldn't hear themselves sing. Just one in a million details that seem almost intended to remind us that if another show sometimes seems too professional, that at least means that it's professional in the first place.

Actually, I have one more criticism. It's really hard to get clearance for Led Zeppelin songs on TV or in the movies. The only time I can recall it being done by somebody who was not a friend of the band was when Sean Combs was allowed to rap over an orchestra doing Kashmir on SNL. So the fact that Dee Snider was able to twist Robert Plant's arm so that his son could screech his way through "Rock and Roll" is kind of galling.

Monday, April 7, 2008

MY JOY: I am thrilled to let everyone know that The Wife's new book, Certain Girls, hits stores tomorrow. It is Jen's followup to Good in Bed, set twelve years later, as Cannie and Peter deal with Joy's impending bat mitzvah, Joy deals with being twelve years old and wanting to find out more about the possibly autobiographical sex-filled tell-all bestselling novel her mother wrote a decade ago ... listen, it's just chock full o'awesome, and you will find it to be an exceptionally satisfying read.

Preview chapter one here (PDF), and if you can, join Jen for her events this week in NYC and Philadelphia. You will not be disappointed.
AT LEAST SHE DOESN'T HAVE FELINE AIDS: Rachel Dratch, ridiculously funny on Second City and SNL but shoved aside from 30 Rock for Jane Krakowski, is unfortunately still looking for work:
Rachel Dratch is learning it’s not funny being an out-of-work comedian. She left Saturday Night Live two years ago and then was replaced on 30 Rock. What’s she up to now? “Maybe you can tell me,” she said at a Smart People screening on March 31. “I know you’re supposed to come up with fake stuff you’re doing. But honestly, I’m not doing much.” After SNL’s hectic pace, isn’t downtime nice? “It’s starting to get old,” she said. “I’m starting to go crazy. I’m ready for a job.” The low point came, she said, when last month’s Vanity Fair arrived with its cover story on women in comedy, featuring a dozen top comediennes — none of whom was Dratch. “Dude, that was a dark day,” she recalled. “I was like, Oh, there’s everyone I worked with.” She’s not picky about her next gig. “I’d work in a black-box theater company at this point,” she said. “I’d work with George W.”
Dratch's overall weirdness and fearlessness worked well in a sketch format, but I'm not sure where she goes from here. It seems to be easier to be a guy in the entertainment industry who looks like Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill than to be a woman who looks like Rachel Dratch or Janeane Garofalo. Anyone want to play career counselor?
HAAAAVVVEEE YOU MET TED? Raging debate--Ted Mosby--jerk or not a jerk?
THE COURT ORDERS THE PARTIES TO MAKE IT WORK: Apparently, the Weinstein Company, producers of Project Runway, have signed a deal with Lifetime for season 6 (to begin airing in November), taking the show away from Bravo. NBC/Universal, Bravo's parent, has sued, claiming they have a right of first refusal. Season 5 will air before November, and casting has already begun.
HA HA! YOUR MEDIUM IS DYING! So, the 2008 Pulitzer Prizes are out. A few things of note:
  • Dominance by the Washington Post (Public Service Prize for Walter Reed coverage, Breaking News Prize for Virginia Tech coverage, National Reporting Prize for Cheney coverage, International Reporting Prize for private security contractors in Iraq cover, Column Prize to Steven Pearlstein, Feature Writing Prize to Gene Weingarten for "violinist in the subway").
  • Tom Batiuk recognized in editorial cartooning as a finalist for his "Lisa Dies" sequence in Funky Winkerbean.
  • The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao is your fiction Pulitzer winner.
  • Surprising no one, August: Osage County is your drama Pulitzer winner (some surprise in that neither In The Heights nor Passing Strange gets a finalist slot).
  • "A special citation to Bob Dylan for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."
WHAT IS THE WHAT? The cast of Lost asks the questions that the viewers want answered. (YouTube.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

AND RICHARD ROEPER, OF COURSE, WAS USELESS: Apologies for their being no Top Chef thread until now, but the question is simple: surely you have a better idea for a movie-inspired course of food than most of what we saw this week. A White Russian-flavored semifreddo for The Big Lebowski? A modern take on the slider in tribute to H&K Go To White Castle? A Tootsie-themed entree with a traditionally Jewish food cross-dressing as Southern -- say, kasha and bowties but with a sausage gravy?
12 O'CLOCK HIGH: It must be easier to be oppose psychoactive drug use if you own a P-51 Mustang.
FAITH, I MUST LEAVE THEE, LOVE, AND SHORTLY, TOO / MY OPERANT POWERS THEIR FUNCTIONS LEAVE TO DO: Charlton Heston, actor and icon, has died at the age of 84. Planet of the Apes and the Ten Commandments notwithstanding, I still think my favorite role of his was as the Player King in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

He will be missed.
YOU BET YOUR LIFE SPEED RACER, HE'S GONNA SEE IT THROUGH: There's a new Speed Racer trailer out. Please note the presence of the Mammoth Car at 1m 17s.