Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Best Picture, 'Slumdog Millionaire,' 'Frost/Nixon,' 'Doubt,' 'Revolutionary Road,' 'The Reader.' Maybe 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.' Extremely strong possibility of 'The Dark Knight.' 'WALL-E' is good enough, but voters will cover it in the best animation category. 'Synecdoche, New York' is easily good enough, but they're embarrassed you had to explain it to them.The big wild card? No one's seen Clint Eastwood's 'Gran Torino' yet.
You've got to have a baby with a name that could be a rock star or a senator, so he'll get work either way.And so a few weeks later, Ashlee has a baby boy. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the newest addition to the United States Senate, Bronx Mowgli Wentz.
Better hope that little Bronx can carry a tune.
(see also Baby Name Wizard Laura Wattenberg's take on the Jolie-induced trendiness of names ending in "x'")
IMHO: Rhode Island, Missouri, Vermont and the ironically phallic Utah design are awesome; I am not a fan of the random montages of Ohio, Florida and Arkansas.
(DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. still to come next year.)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
That's the Denis Leary whose new book, if you haven't been watching the Daily Show or reading E! Online, says:
There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can't compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks…to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don't give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you—yer kid is NOT autistic. He's just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.Leary says, apparently with some justification, that one can't just read that passage out of context:
I thought I made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child.... The point of the chapter is not that autism doesn't exist -- it obviously does -- and I have nothing but admiration and respect for parents dealing with the issue, including the ones I know. The bulk of the chapter deals with grown men who are either self-diagnosing themselves with low-level offshoots of the disease or wishing they could as a way to explain their failed careers and troublesome progeny.Let me say that I believe Leary's explanation of his intent completely. He refers to specific paragraphs of his book, and he's done enough charity work to earn the benefit of the doubt. I do not for a second believe that he either said or was trying to say that autism isn't an actual, devastating disorder.
And guess what: it doesn't matter. What he actually said is idiotic.
First, Leary's premise is that there is a difference between "real autism" (his words), which exists, and something else, and that Leary himself can tell the difference. It's not clear whether Leary thinks the something else -- "low-level offshoots" of autism -- exists and is just wishfully misdiagnosed, or whether Leary just thinks that Aspergers and PDD don't exist because he thinks they don't exist. Either way, it's an uninformed opinion. I read an article by a guy who said of his son, "if you met him for ten minutes, you wouldn't notice anything. If you spent a half-hour with him, you'd think he was quirky. If you spent several hours with him, you would know that something was wrong." My guess is that Leary's broad-stroke generalization isn't based on the three-hour encounter, or even the 10-minute one. As between a parent's questionable "self-diagnosis" and Leary's completely uninformed one, I'll take the parent's, thanks.
That's not what bothers me the most about Leary's argument, though. It's the thought that "inattentive mothers" and "competitive fathers" are shopping for diagnoses for selfish reasons. If anybody out there is sympathetic to Leary's argument, let me ask you: whether you are inattentive, competitive, or neither, what would you do if your kid were having unusual, even if "low-level" difficulties? Late speech, inability to handle abstract concepts, failure to interact with other children, complete indifference to typical children's interests, poor motor control? Would you say, "dang, my kid is stupid and lazy," or would you go to an expert and say "is something wrong with my kid?" Even if you're paranoid and crazy and your kid is just fine, would that somehow make you a bad parent?
One thing it would not make you, notwithstanding Leary's argument, is lazy. Let me tell you what you can expect with a diagnosis of a "low-level offshoot" of autism. With a diagnosis of Asperger's or PDD, you get the hope that with therapy and hard work, your child will learn to pass, to seem "normal" (the ASD community prefers "neurotypical") enough to live the life that you lived or better. But you also get some other stuff. You can expect a lot of hard work and frequent disappointment. If you are lucky, you can expect countless hours -- weekends, afternoons, time off work -- with therapists, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a year for years and years. If you are very, very lucky, you will fight a constant battle with your insurance companies and government service providers, month after month, to get them to pay for it. If you are less lucky but still lucky, you will lose this fight and pay out of your own pocket. If you are unlucky, you will take what you can get from the state and can afford on your own but you will not have the resources to pay for interventions that are recommended to you and you will watch your kid fall further behind and know that you were unable to provide the help that other people could afford. And all of these parents, the lucky and the unlucky ones, get to worry every night about whether their kids will ever get to the point where they won't be called stupid and lazy out of ignorance or malice. What Leary doesn't understand, and what these parents do, is that a diagnosis isn't an end product; it's the beginning of a very long and possibly endless ordeal full of exhausting work, interminable frustration, and sickening heartbreak.
These parents -- the ones who go out and get these diagnoses, sometimes knowing what's in store for them -- are not indifferent, not lazy, and not motivated by competitiveness. If they were lazy, bad parents, they wouldn't get the diagnosis at all (though that's obviously not the only reason people don't get early diagnoses), because it's a shitload easier and cheaper to let a kid fail than to do whatever you can to help him succeed. Denis Leary, you are so, so wrong.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
- Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Demme hired 53 local extras to appear in Philadelphia who were all either HIV-positive or had AIDS. Today, only one is still alive, and she talks with the Philadelphia Daily News in advance of a benefit screening here.
- We last checked in with William Gates and Arthur Agee four years ago; this week, the Chicago Tribune visits the subjects of Hoop Dreams again.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
And if you check out Mo Ryan's blog, you'll get some nifty information about guest stars for this season as well as which actors are and are not part of this season's roster of regulars. (Hint: I see dead people, but not regularly.)
Pedroia led the majors with 54 doubles. He tied Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for first with 213 hits, and ranked second with 118 runs and 61 multi-hit games, both AL highs. He also stole 20 bases in 21 attempts.Interestingly, Pedroia was left off one ballot entirely -- by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who gave Kevin Youkilis his first-place vote.
Anyway, just so we have it written down instead of floating around in Jack Bauer's grey matter, the Rules of Greater Los Angeles Basin Spying:
- Well-dressed people are spies.
- People in dark clothing are spies, and people with dark turtlenecks are foreign spies.
- Strong silent types are spies.
- Sexually predatory women are spies.
- Nightclub owners are spies.
- The IT guy is a spy.
- People with briefcases, purses, music boxes, or chewing gum are spies with bombs.
- If you are introduced to a person you have not yet met, he or she is a spy.
- When you go out on a date, most bystanders are spies, and bartenders and waitstaff are head spies.
- People who wear glasses are spies with fancy gadgety spy glasses.
- Your childhood friends are spies.
- A sexual encounter with a person will automatically turn that person into a spy.
- Your parents are spies, except where killed by spies.
- Parents who have been killed by spies are not dead and instead are just out spying.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thanks for being along for the ride -- our readers, commenters and lurkers -- and most especially to Matt, Alex, Isaac, Phil, TPE, Kim, Bob and Kingsley (wherever he is), without whom this isn't nearly as much fun, and without whom this blog wouldn't have such an odd-yet-endearing acronym.
There's only one real way to celebrate this day, and it's becoming something of a tradition around here on days like this: KIKKO-MAN!
The automotive industry as we once knew it is dead. It will reinvent itself with a leaner identity and a more responsible spending philosophy. And that will likely translate into a more conservative approach as it pertains to cutting checks for luxury suites and unlimited entertainment expenses. It wouldn't be a surprise if Detroit loses at least one of its four professional sports teams within the next 10 years because ownership sells to an outside interest and the franchise moves to an area with a stronger economic base.
If you don't think that's possible, then you're not looking at the current local economic situation with a realistic eye. Detroit and Phoenix are the only two cities that support four professional sports teams in four separate facilities. That requires four teams capable of finding enough corporate backing for those all-important luxury suites in four different stadiums/arenas to keep the coffers filled without sharing the facility operational costs with another tenant.
Come to think of it, maybe the gigantic difference between TV-ASD and real-world ASD explains why Bailey was unable to diagnose it until Dixon drew her a road map.
Anyway, the worst thing about ASD on television is that it makes people who have never spent any time with someone with an ASD think that they know what ASD is like. Saying that an ASD is that thing where people walk on their tiptoes, can do math in their heads, and are incapable of altering their routines is a lot like saying "Asians are subservient, excellent at numbers, and drive poorly." It gets tiresome.
*Other than on ANTM, which realistically portrayed a woman with actual ASD until Tyra cured her.
- Recreational stalking of Twilight star Robert Pattinson;
- NCIS, the hottest show on TV that no one's talking about;
- People who think they can dance and are willing to stand in long lines to prove that this is the case;
- Whether Valkyrie can save Tom Cruise and MGM; and
- Wallace Shawn, and how he's both in and out his element with his current recurring role on Gossip Girl.
The current draft:
- "January," Pilot
- "January," Ravens & Chimes
- "There's No Love in February," The Orion Experience
- "Two Days in February," The Goo Goo Dolls
- "March," Great Lakes Myth Society
- "April Fools," Rufus Wainwright
- "April," The Hentchmen [sic]
- "Maggie May," Rod Stewart (I know, but I think he'll like it)
- "May Queen," Liz Phair
- "June," Pete Yorn
- "July Jones," New Pornographers
- "July! July!," Decemberists
- "August," Rilo Kiley
- (September? help?)
- "October," Rachel Ries
- "November Has Come," Gorillaz
- "Cold December," Matt Costa
- "December," Weezer
Sunday, November 16, 2008
2. In the list of airports that would get you from Delhi to Kazakhstan, Frankfurt would not have been in my top ten list. I'm shocked it wasn't just through Dubai or Istanbul for all the teams.
3. To Kimmi Kappenberg II: you're on a reality show. Hell, you're on The Amazing Race. They're telling you the challenge in a restaurant. What do you think they're going to ask you to do?
5. Reading is fundamental.
(Even if Don Pardo screwed up Michaela Watkins' name in the intro, calling her "Michaela Watson".)
(Also, it looks like they've finally compiled all the digital shorts in one place.)