Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Parade RickRolled

I'm sure millions of Americans scratched their heads watching this Internet phenomenon come to life during an already surreal performance by strange looking monsters from the Cartoon Network hit "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends." But for those who got the RickRoll reference... enjoy this Turkey Day treat before you eat your big meal tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wow, The Sarah Palin Show Gets Funnier With Every Episode

Sarah Palin has refused to shut up more than two weeks after losing the election, proving herself unsure of how one is supposed to behave after one loses a presidential election. You know, with grace and dignity and all that. But that wouldn't be our Sarah's style!
And now we get this video of her giving an interview while Turkeys are being beheaded right behind her as she yammers on about nothing and makes passive aggressive comments about being criticized (even though she deserves every bit of it.) This has got to be a metaphor for something, right?

The guy who is slaughtering turkeys and keeps looking back at her is my favorite part of the video.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oliver With An Indian Twist

Danny Boyle's crowd pleasing rags to riches romance "Slumdog Millionaire" opened in theaters this past weekend, doing brisk indie business against the Bond onslaught. "Slumdog" is a Dickensian tale about a poor young man in India who ends up on the country's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," where he does extraordinarily well for a poor and uneducated kid... and the film flashes back to show how he knew all the answers to the increasingly tough questions.

Each flashback reveals more and more about our plucky hero Jamal's "Oliver Twist"-esque back story as he learns to survive on the streets of the slums through resourcefulness and invention. The movie has a sweet romance at the center, which gives it a beating heart to keep the sprawling story focused as it dives head first into the packed and lively streets of India. The movie should be praised for giving Western audiences a new and revealing perspective on the rapidly changing Indian cultural landscape... while never slowing down, becoming preachy, or becoming anything less than completely entertaining.

Boyle's energetic direction and storytelling push the movie forward with locomotive speed and exuberant force, even when the story goes to darker places. Boyle pulls off a very delicate balancing act by combining a gritty, handheld, on the dirty and dangerous street style reminiscent of "City of God" with a fairy tale-esque story of romantic fantasy. And the three young actors who play Jamal over the years all bring enormous charm and likability that make him a character truly worth rooting for. "Slumdog" is a crowd pleaser in the truest sense that will have you cheering with excitement by the (very funny and joyous) closing credits. It's a really unique and terrific experience, and another triumph for the madly creative and extremely prolific Boyle.

San Francisco, The Scariest Place On Earth

Oh my god, did you know that they have homeless people in San Francisco? That's one of the terrifying things you'll discover in Bill O'Reilly's "documentary" on the city by the bay. Quake in terror at the prospect of "secular progressives" like the hippies, slackers, and dropouts (who obviously represent everyone in The City) taking over our country!
I love his producer who did the documentary who had never been to San Francisco talking about how "regular people are tolerant... and enlightened" as if it's a bad thing.

I feel like O'Reilly has really gone off the deep end with his latest attacks on "secular progressive" America vs. "regular America." O'Reilly calls himself a "patriot," then shits on literally half of the country and implies that they're all marginal weirdos? It's got to make him panic to see so many people voted against the ideology he's been blabbering on about on his show for so many years.

Here's a tip Bill... maybe a little less fear mongering and a little more accepting the idea that the reason America is a great country is because it's got all kinds of "folks" and not just O'Reilly's (mythical) vision of "decent" small town Americans who work hard at their jobs, go to church on Sundays, vote Republican, and don't quite understand those crazy gays and hippies in San Francisco. But then again, where would the ratings go if he didn't have fear to monger?

Friday, November 14, 2008

That's Not A Panda

O'Reilly went on "The Daily Show" last night and the culture wars were finally fought to the end between he and Jon Stewart. Good stuff.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Losing With Class And Grace

Lost among the celebration for Obama's historic and amazing victory was talk of John McCain's concession speech. Watching him talk, it was as if the McCain many of us loved and respected in 2000 was finally back, as if the 2008 GOP Presidential candidate who betrayed many of his values and best qualities just disappeared into the ether once the election was decided. McCain seemed earnestly moved by the history of the evening, even though he came up short on his dream to lead the country he loves so dearly. His words touched me and brought a few tears to my eyes. I'm so excited and thrilled that my side won for once, but seeing McCain graciously accept the outcome of the election and the fact that he will never be president was really poignant and restored much of the respect I've always felt for the man.

When McCain congratulated Obama in the speech, the loyalists in the crowd began to boo... a very un-classy thing to do, and it's a moment when you can almost feel McCain wondering who the hell these hateful people who became entrenched with his campaign really are, and maybe a sad realization that he lost because these are the types he ended up courting for votes. Many of the people at McCain rallys towards the waining weeks of the election were hateful mobs who believed Obama is a terrorist socialist who wants to bring down the USA, instead of a transformative politician who has the potential to shake up history and restore America's reputation throughout the world, and McCain clearly grew more and more uncomfortable with the anger these people displayed as November 4th approached. McCain never wanted to gain the vote of the religious right nutjobs who took him down in 2000, and I imagine he's relieved that he doesn't need to deal with those people anymore. I also imagine he's glad to cut all ties to his disastrous choice for a running mate, the unworldly, anti-intellectual, and terribly naive Sarah Palin.

I'm really hoping and expecting that McCain will work closely with the new administration. I fully expect Obama to live up to his promise to reach across the aisle and try to heal the wounds caused by the very divisive last eight years. Who needs partisanship right now? We need to heal this country, and political infighting amongst dems and repubs is not going to help anyone in this critical moment of our nation's history.

John McCain was running against history in 2008, and even though he's likely personally disappointed that he will never become the president of the United States, he was gracious and humble enough to movingly acknowledge that Obama's win is a stunning step forward for the country.

Welcome back, Maverick.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

But Who Will Warn Us About The Dangers Of Dinosaur Cloning And Nanotehnology Now That He's Gone?

"Jurassic Park" author and "E.R." creator Michael Chrichton passed away today.

Chrichton was a bit of a hacky writer, but he probably had more influence on me than Hemingway or Fitzgerald. I went to film school because of "Jurassic Park." The "J.P." novel and "Sphere" were my favorite books ever when I was 12. Chrichton's techno thrillers were like candy to me when I first starting reading books beyond the R.L. Stine reading level.

The guy was a notorious pain in the ass to filmmakers, and according to legend only worked well with Spielberg (because he's Spielberg.) But he wrote the pretty awesome Yul Brenner sci-fi movie "West World," created "E.R." (which was good at some point,) and, well, wrote "Jurassic Park." He also wrote some book about how global warming is a hoax and the people who believe in it are dangerous fools. But that's beside the point.

That guy wrote "Jurassic Park." It's a little sad, even though he was a bad writer with a bad temper who wanted to discredit people trying to fix the environment. I might not have made it to film school had he not written that book. Rest in peace, Michael Chrichton.

Hope Mixed With A Side Of Disappointment And Sadness

Last night was a wonderful victory for American progress with Barack Obama's election. But on the same historic night that a black man was elected as the next President of the United States of America, civil rights were being stripped from millions of Americans through the passage of the vile Proposition 8 in California (and similar gay marriage bans in Arizona, Florida, while Arkansas passed a horrifying ban on gay couples adopting children.) Prop 8 creates a constitutional ban on gay marriage, and the yes on 8 campaign was funded by millions of dollars from Mormons outside of California, some of the money coming from outside of the U.S.

The basic argument was that gay marriage somehow threatens the fabric of "traditional families." What I'm trying to understand is how my family is somehow a threat to other families.

I was raised by a lesbian couple. My mothers have been together for nearly 30 years. I'm 26, and I'm the oldest of four siblings. My parents have never broken up or even been separated in my lifetime. When my parents decided to have children, they took it as a solemn commitment to stay together in good times and in bad, no matter how much they drive each other crazy sometimes (as all couples do.) With most "traditional marriages" ending in divorce, how is my completely normal and loving American family somehow a threat to anything or anybody? All three of my siblings and I are normal and well adjusted (if sometimes slightly neurotic) people. We've all gotten into good colleges and none of us have ever gotten into any real trouble. When I was in high school and still lived at home, we would have family dinners together every night that my birth mom would make from scratch, like a stereotypical "traditional mother" (though very few "traditional mothers" still cook dinner for their families every single night in this day and age, but my mom did.) My family spent a lot more time together than most American families do... we had movie nights, and family trips into the city, and we would gather in the living room to watch our favorite TV shows together. We still spend the holidays together every year, and I hear from both my moms at least once a day when they call to just check in and see how I'm doing. We're practically a 1950's sitcom perfect family, other than the fact that my parents are two women instead of a man and a woman. What's so terrifying about that? What is it that these people fear or are trying to make other people afraid of?

I'm deeply disappointed and personally hurt by the choice California voters made in this election. I thought that Californians were a more tolerant bunch than this, but too much money was poured into the passing of 8 by the Mormon Church, who feels it's okay to impose their morality in a ballot proposition, separation of church and state be damned.

A vote for Prop 8 was a vote for intolerance, bigotry, and inequality. The fact that is passed is extremely discouraging, but the fact that is passed by such a narrow margin gives me a glimmer of hope. More and more people seem to be getting it, and soon enough a majority of people will be empathetic to the civil rights of gay couples. Equal rights for gays is the next big civil rights battle, and the same people who once tried to prevent African Americans and women from getting the vote are trying to prevent couples who love each other from marrying, just because both members of the couple are the same gender. Those people who tried to stop progress 40 years ago eventually failed, after brave progressives fought long and hard for what they knew in their hearts and minds was right and just. And now a black man has been elected president on the same day that a gay marriage ban passed in California. It's as if one chapter on the story of American civil rights is closing and another one is beginning.

It's going to be a long, tough fight, with many setbacks along the way. But America will get there. Barack Obama's election is proof that it will take time, but America will get there.

Yes We Did

In "Jurassic Park," Chaos Theory expert Ian Malcolm warns repeatedly of the dangers of the dinosaur filled theme park (though I'm not sure why one would need a Chaos Theory spewing mathematician to tell you that a park with hungry cloned dinosaurs set loose in the modern world for the first time in 65 million years could be dangerous... it seems like it would be pretty obvious.) When all hell breaks loose, Malcolm says "Boy, do I hate being right all the time."

Last night I got to reverse that cliched bit of dialogue when I said "Boy, do I love being wrong all the time (in terms of this crazy election cycle.)"

I voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. I was too cynical to really believe in the hype surrounding Obama. I didn't think Obama had a shot at winning the presidency. He was too young and new. America is just not ready to elect a black man. He's not going to be able to fight back against the Republican election machine. Only the Clintons know how to beat the GOP in the modern era. He needs to fight back after McCain starting getting nasty in the campaign or he's going to look spineless and lose. His middle name is Hussein and that's going to scare people. His first name rhymes with Osama and that's going to scare people. He's going to gain the support of young hipsters, but older voters will not be moved by his message. He needs to stop saying McCain is an honorable American all the time, because McCain would never say the same thing about him. People are too cynical to buy into his message of hope. The youth vote is going to lose their passion for the guy and not come out to vote.

These are all the things I thought and feared.

But instead Obama stuck to his guns, ran a disciplined, on message campaign, never lost his cool, and never lost focus. He ran a campaign aimed at inspiring people and appealing to their hopes and dreams instead of their cynical side. And now he's made history, becoming the first black man elected to the highest office of the land. After eight long years of lies, wars, natural disasters, a growing national deficit, and a lowering standing in the eyes of the world, Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States of America by offering people hope and the possibility of change. For one night, at least, I was able to drop my cynicism and actually believe in something good happening in America.

It's nice to be wrong, sometimes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I Didn't Believe It Could Happen...but it looks like it's all happening. Wow.
Change. Hope. All that jazz. This is happening, and it's all happening tonight.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween Fail, Continued (UnFailed)

So I was driving home from work on Friday night and saw all the kids out enjoying Halloween and the adults out acting like kids and decided to quit moping and just go out and have fun. I ended up walking down to the big West Hollywood parade and went to two parties. I still had no real costume to speak of, so I had to improvise a bit with a very half assed and cheap Kenneth from "30 Rock" costume...

I was surprised how few Sarah Palins I ended up seeing. I saw less than five Palins, one of them a "sexy Palin" (who was, admittedly, pretty hot) and not even one drag Palin (mostly because the drag queens are usually far too clever to do a costume that a lot of other people already thought of and are ahead of the rest of us on the kitsch curve so must know that Palin's camp value is already played out, or something like that.) I did see a countless number of Jokers, unsurprisingly... but none were as good as Creed from "The Office" doing the "pencil trick" routine.