Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roman Polanski's Life Vs. The Life He Could Have Had

Roman Polanski, the film director, was recently arrested in Switzerland on an outstanding warrant issued in California after he fled the country before he could be sentenced for the crime to which he'd pled guilty, having sex with an underage girl.

Maybe you heard about it; everyone's talking about it.

The Smoking Gun has a transcript of his plea:

On August 8, 1977 Polanski appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court and copped to a felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse. As seen in the below transcript, he acknowledged being aware that the victim was 13 at the time of their March 1977 encounter in a Mulholland Drive home owned by actor Jack Nicholson. Polanski, now 77, fled the country before being sentenced, fearful that he would be imprisoned by Judge Laurence Rittenband, the jurist before whom he entered his guilty plea.

It's interesting to note on pages 15-16 of the plea transcript, the Judge specifically informs Polanski that the court is not bound by the terms of the plea agreement, regarding the sentencing.

Before you do so, however, I must advise the defendant, under Section 1192.5 of the Penal Code, that the approval of the court to the plea is not binding on the Court, that the Court may, at the time set for hearing on the application for probation or pronouncement of judgment, withdraw its approval, in light of further consideration of the matter; and three, in such case, the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw his plea, if he desires to do so.

Polanski then pleads guilty, to having sex with a 13 year-old girl. Later, when he discovered the judge actually meant what he said about maybe withdrawing its approval of the plea agreement, he left the country. He's continued to make films, winning an Oscar for directing "The Pianist," and working with actors like Johnny Depp, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, and Harrison Ford. He's lived in France and Switzerland, with his astonishingly beautiful wife.

It's been a luxe life on the lam for movie director Roman Polanski.

Most fugitives assume fake identities and hide out in flophouses, but since fleeing from a rape charge in California in 1978, Polanski has lived openly in France - regularly shuttling from his Paris penthouse to a swank Swiss hideaway.

He has not lived a life common to those who admit to committing sex crimes with minors, especially not now.

Compare his lot to that of a group of homeless sex offenders in Georgia:

Nine homeless sex offenders directed to live in the woods behind a suburban Atlanta office park have been ordered to move and are scrambling to find new places to go.

The sex offenders were searching for a new place to set up their tents Tuesday after state authorities told them they had to leave the area.

They had been directed to the spot by probation officers who said it was a location of last resort for the sex offenders barred from living in many areas by one of the nation's toughest sex offender policies.

William Hawkins is a 34-year-old who has lived in the camp for about two weeks and says he's not sure where he'll move. He says he'll be arrested again if he has nowhere to go.
The muddy camp on the outskirts of prosperous Cobb County is an unintended consequence of Georgia law, which bans the state's 16,000 sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, parks and other spots where children gather.
For Hawkins, it feels like an extension of his prison time.

The former truck driver has been on the registry since he was convicted of attempted sexual battery of a 12-year-old in 1991 when he was 15. He said after he emerged from his latest stint behind bars without a place to live, he was directed to the forest despite pleas from his wife to allow him to live at the couple's home in Swords Creek, Va.

"I don't understand how the state gets away with it," Mindy Hawkins said from her home in Virginia. "This is ridiculous — especially when he has a family, a home, a support system here. It's inhumane."

Her husband had tried to make the meager outpost feel as much like home as possible as he waits for his probation to end early next year. Now he is scrambling to find another place to pitch his tent in the next 24 hours.

"I don't know where I'm going to go," Hawkins said. "And if I don't have anywhere to go, they will re-arrest me."

Or the men forced to live under a bridge in Miami:

Ten months later, [Juan] Martin is still under the bridge, and the number of men living with him has doubled. They have different backgrounds but one thing in common: They are all convicted sex offenders. Fourteen men, ranging in age from 30 to 83, call this place home. Some sleep in cars among the pilings, others in grimy Wal-Mart tents wedged beneath the bridge. Martin, who spent two years in jail after being convicted of exposing himself to a 16-year-old girl when he was 19 or 20 (a crime he says he didn't commit), no longer has to wear the black GPS monitoring device that many of his neighbors do. He finished his five-year probation in 2006, but he can't find a place to live that complies with the county's residency laws. So Martin is forced to live here—in a colony under an overpass where the amenities include a generator, a composting toilet, and a workout area with a bench and free weights—indefinitely, because he and the other men were ordered here by law-enforcement authorities.

These stringent restrictions on the movements of convicted sex offenders have come into existence since Polanski made his plea and then skipped out of the country. Polanski wouldn't have had to deal with them. But I find it interesting that there has been such an outpouring of sympathy for the man who's divided his time between a penthouse apartment in Paris, and a chalet in Switzerland, but there is no petition being circulated to protest the treatment of the man who served his time in prison, served out all his probation, and still can't get out from under the bridge in Miami.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Poodle Bitch's First Video

Poodle Bitch has made a short piece of animation. It is not exactly "Lady and the Tramp," but it is still worth forty seconds of your time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Chicken Pl*cking: Saturday Night Live "F-Bomb"

Thank you Jenny Slate, for dropping "the f-bomb" on national television last night/this morning, on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live (of course the video, found on The Live Feed, is not safe for work):

MSN has the story:

Newcomer Jenny Slate let the dreaded word slip during a parody of a talk show by biker women. The sketch was laden with tough talk from its three characters, but the most objectionable word was substituted with an inoffensive stand-in for that vulgarity.

Then, midway through the sketch, Slate slipped and said the word.
The sketch aired live at about 12:40 a.m. Eastern, well after prime time, when use of expletives can be punished by the FCC.

First of all, as I've already written, the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States states,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It doesn't say anything about "except during certain times of the day, when *t*h*e* *c*h*i*l*d*r*e*n* might be watching." It specifically says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom speech." Pretty straightforward.

And, how can a word become less vulgar, just because it's uttered later at night? Especially given the fact that a recent study said that 36% of homes have DVRs.

These poor children can casually set their TiVo to catch Saturday Night Live, then innocently turn it on Sunday afternoon at three PM.

And be scandalized!

Here's an idea: Let's get rid of the FCC. Or at least take away their ability to punish people for exercising the rights guaranteed to them by the US Constitution. Let the Saturday Night Live cast members drop all the "f-bombs" they want, and if people don't want to watch, they don't have to.

Jenny Slate has replaced "chicken pl*cking" newscaster Ernie Anastos as my new First Amendment hero.

Jenny Slate pic source.

The Secret of "Flash Forward" Revealed

ABC's new show "Fast Forward" is a sort of secular version of the series of "Left Behind" novels. Seemingly everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, and most of them see visions of the future- April 29, 2010. Some see that they will pregnant, some see that they'll be cheating on their spouse, some see that they'll be having an alcoholic relapse, and some see nothing at all.

These are all rather traditional ideas of anxiety about sin.

The recovering alcoholic's wife leaves him notes around the house telling him he's a bad husband-- painfully judgmental, especially in light of the fact that she's told him that if he ever relapses, she will leave him. Why then does he feel as if he's the failure when his vision shows him drinking again? Doesn't the fact that everyone on earth has blacked out, and he's one of apparently only three people investigating it, along with the burden of being married to a woman who constantly tells you what a failure you are, give you enough reason to "relapse"?

The woman who sees herself getting the sonogram comments in a non-sequitur "I don't even have a boyfriend." What has that to do with anything? Especially in 2009-2010? Haven't women learned they don't even need a boyfriend to procreate?

And why does the woman who leaves her alcoholic husband post-its telling him he's a bad husband feel so bad about her vision showing her with another man?

These are the real questions of "Flash Forward."

But let's get to the secret. Since it's so obviously inspired by the "Left Behind" books, I went to the Bible for answers. First, everyone blacks out for 2 minutes 17 seconds, so of course I went straight to Numbers chapter 2 verse 17:

Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.

The mystery man at the Detroit ball park (the one person who apparently didn't lose consciousness during the blackout) is a member of "The Tabernacle," or whatever they're going to call it on the show. It's these people who will "set forward" every man in "his place by their standards."

What's the place, and what are the standards? Enlightenment!

From 1 Kings, chapter 4, verse 29 (April 29):

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.

Why "1 Kings"? The star tattoos that the main character sees on the arms of the men breaking into the FBI office. The stars represent the breaking up of the ten tribes of Israel-- with the odd star representing royalty.

Below is the trailer for the movie version of the first "Left Behind" book. It's remarkably similar to the trailer for "Flash Forward":

Anyway, now that I've solved that little mystery, I plan on turning my attention to solving the riddle of The Beautiful Life: TBL. With characters with names like "Isaac," "Christopher," and "Shepherd," you just know there's some deep Biblical stuff going on in that show.

Well I see that it just got cancelled. I had a whole big reveal about it, but never mind.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How Far Does Jay Leno Go For A Joke? Australia? Does He Just Make Stuff Up to Joke About? And, the "Vaginal Blowing" Jokes He SHOULD Have Told

Jay Leno's prime time show "The Jay Leno Show" premiered last week, and out of curiosity I've watched almost every episode so far. It's pretty much what he used to do on "The Tonight Show." If you liked that, you'll probably like this. Some segments have hit for me, and some have missed; but what do I know?

There was one segment he did that I thought was extremely funny, called "Ghosting in America." But that was a couple of comedians from Australia, Hamish and Andy. YouTube won't let me embed the clip from Leno's show, so here they are on an Australian show:

Jim Norton's a funny comedian, but his "Uninvited Guest" segment seemed a bit flat. I really can't remember anything about the other comedians' segments. There's also a bit in which celebrities drive a hybrid car around a track for a minute or two. That's as exciting as it sounds.

One thing I've noticed about Jay Leno is that, during his monologue, he tells a lot of jokes about things in the news. I think they call that "being topical," or "topical humor." That's all well and good, but on at least one occasion last week, Leno seemed to tell a joke about something that hadn't happened- at least, something I couldn't find any information about online.

I've already deleted the episode from the TiVo so I can't go back and transcribe it, but if you're really curious you might be able to find it on the show's website. The joke concerned Paula Abdul setting up a webcam so that her dogs could watch her all the time, or something like that. I thought that Poodle Bitch might be interested in reading about that, so I googled it. I wasted a good ten minutes of my life digging around trying to find any reference to that story anywhere online. I went to wesmirch, dlisted, Just Jared, The Superficial, etc, etc, and I couldn't find anything about it.

Did Leno make it up just so that he could tell the joke?

Then, for last night's (Friday, September 25th) episode (with the great Hugh Laurie), Leno went all the way to Australia for a joke about coffee enemas (why does he seem to have so much interest in Australia, by the way?). Since I still have it on the TiVo, here's the full transcript:

"I hadn't heard about this, but it was in the paper today-- Australian health officials are warning people around the world, be on the lookout for unlicensed doctors prescribing bad coffee enemas... they use coffee in enemas... You thought health care was expensive before, wait'll Starbucks is involved-- wha-- wha-- through the roof; please..."
[audience applauds]

Naturally, I thought this would be a good thing to write about for my blog celebrating the classic horror/science fiction/crime/humor novel Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist. It took me a couple of minutes (and I really thought this was going to turn out to be another of Leno's "in the news but not really" jokes), but I finally found this article:

BOGUS doctors offering "quack" therapy will face jail and massive fines under new laws proposed by Health Minister John Hill.

Mr Hill today announced the State Government would adopt the recommendations of a parliamentary committee examined therapies being offered by unregistered doctors.

These included offering to cure cancer through the use of "organic coffee enemas" and another practitioner who claimed to be able to cure cancer through "vaginal blowing".

Now, having read the story, of course my focus has changed. It's not about the obscurity- it's not about the fact it's from Australia. Leno took a story in which coffee enemas and something called vaginal blowing are referenced, and he went with the coffee enema angle instead of the vaginal blowing.

I am sorry, but that is comedy malpractice. If the choice is between enemas-- no matter what the material of the enemas-- and something called vaginal blowing, you go with the vaginal blowing.

Did one of his writers have a bad Starbucks experience that morning?

Read Leno's joke again. It's not exactly bad, but it's not what I'd call brilliant, either. His delivery helps. Leno employs a lot of writers (I assume); none of them could think of a way to make the joke about vaginal blowing?

The term is funny all by itself. Vaginal blowing.

"Have you heard about this? I read it in the newspaper today-- health officials in Australia are warning people about unlicensed doctors performing unnecessary vaginal blowing. This is true, it was in the paper today... See? That's how you can tell men and women apart. Men don't think twice about paying for stuff like that; but women get suspicious. No price is too high! Wha-- wha-- through the roof!"


"According to my wife, there's no such thing as unnecessary vaginal blowing! Wha? Am I right?"


"Officials became suspicious when the people claiming to be doctors were actually offering to pay the patients."

Or, if you insist on bringing Starbucks into it:

"Apparently, someone became suspicious when these 'doctors' were performing their blowing procedures in the bathroom at Starbucks."

And that's just off the top of my head. (His delivery would help.) I could probably come up with about ten more jokes, which I would be happy to do for a modest fee.

Jay Leno, not telling a joke about vaginal blowing.

UPDATE: Tuesday September 29 @ 8:02 AM PST: Last night, Leno went back to the "coffee enema" well during his monologue, making another joke about the Australian health authorities warning about "bad coffee enemas." First, he asked if there was such a thing as a "good coffee enema," then he said, "The best part of waking up is Foger's in your butt," a reference to a very old commercial jingle. Funny stuff.

Pic source.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Lurid Story with (Tenuous) "Reality Show" Ties- Sort of. According to One Version of an AP Story

When is a "reality show" a "reality show"?

I think most people would agree that "The Bachelor" is a reality show. One man judging from among twenty (or so) women who will be his best possible mate. They parade before him in different outfits. They show off their talents. They answer his questions.

It's almost like a beauty pageant that lasts for weeks. The Associated Press apparently suffers from some confusion as to how to define a reality show. It's come up because a contestant from a television show called "America's Sexiest Bachelor" has been charged with murder.

The expectedly sober piece is headlined:

Former 'America's Sexiest Bachelor' contestant charged with killing ex-porn actress near LA

Now that the headline has managed to conjure in your mind lurid images of reality show contestant decadence, along with of course images of people having sex, you're primed to read the article.

A self-proclaimed preacher who was on the TV beauty pageant "The Sexiest Bachelor in America" will be arraigned next week for allegedly torturing and murdering his girlfriend, an ex-adult movie actress.

They waited until the first paragraph to tell us about the "allegedly torturing" part? How does that not make it into the headline? And, why should we care that he was a contestant on a "TV beauty pageant"? (Not that it matters, but he represented Nebraska.)

But this is interesting. In the paragraph I quoted above, the Associated Press refers to the show as a "TV beauty pageant." The story is dated 9/25/09, 5:28 PM. But check out the Associated Press's story from 3:37 PM:

A self-proclaimed preacher who was on the reality TV show "America's Sexiest Bachelor" will be arraigned next week for allegedly torturing and murdering an ex-porn actress in suburban Los Angeles.

In less than two hours, the "reality show" has become a "TV beauty pageant." What happened, AP? Did they send out the story before bothering to check what "America's Sexiest Bachelor" actually was? I suspect someone couldn't resist piggybacking on the terrible story of Ryan Jenkins and Jasmine Fiore.

The story does feature some superficial similarities. We know this because the last paragraph of the AP story helpfully points it out to us:

Lee's murder is reminiscent of another case last month, in which Ryan Jenkins, a former contestant on the reality TV show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," allegedly killed his wife, ex-model Jasmine Fiore, in Los Angeles, then fled to Canada and killed himself.

Ah, of course.

But there are some similarities. Like Jenkins and Fiore, they met in Las Vegas. According to the LA Times:

Those who knew the couple said they began dating after meeting in April at a swimming pool at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. At the time of Lee’s death, they had been living together for about four months, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Philip Wojdak.

Jenkins and Fiore married very soon after meeting, just as Brian Lee Randone and Felicia Lee moved in together soon after meeting.

And then, of course, he (allegedly) killed her.

So you can see how remarkably similar are the two stories.

Back to the AP:

Brian Lee Randone, 45, was charged last week with one count of murder and one count of torture. He was scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 29 and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Randone was arrested on Sept. 11. Prosecutors said he beat and choked Felicia Lee during a domestic dispute at their apartment in the foothill community of Monrovia, northeast of Los Angeles.

He then dialed 911 to report she was unconscious, investigators said.

That's another similarity: Apparently Ryan Jenkins also notified the police shortly after (do I still have to write "allegedly"?) killing her.

In 2000, Randone appeared on the Fox special "The Sexiest Bachelor in America." He vied with contestants from other states but did not win.

A Fox spokeswoman said Friday that she was not immediately familiar with the show.

Not even a Fox spokeswoman knows that the hell "America's Sexiest Bachelor" was. I would like to have listened in on that phone conversation. "America's Sexiest what? No, I don't doubt we aired it-- we air a lot of crap no one remembers. I just-- well, I'm just not immediately familiar with that show."

But what about the victim?

Lee, who was born in Singapore, had parts in the movies "Rush Hour 2" and "The Fast and the Furious" and had done some modeling for the Playboy television channel, according to her Web site, which she shut down last year.

She also appeared in several adult movies under the name Felicia Tang. Candace Kita, a model who had worked with her, said Lee was nude in the movies but did not portray any sex acts.

In the headline, she's described with the extremely loaded phrase "ex-porn actress." It's only until we get eleven paragraphs into the story (I counted!) that we learn that she merely appeared nude, but didn't perform sex acts in the movies.

I guess if she appeared in a pornographic film, and acted in said film, then that literally qualifies her for description as an "ex-porn actress." She'd done some modeling for the Playboy channel, and appeared in some big-budget films (probably as "atmosphere," or an extra, but still). And she'd taken down her website.

She'd taken down her website!

Come on, AP-- she'd taken down her website, and you still describe her as an "ex-porn actress" in the headline. Do you have to start smearing her like that so soon?

Moreover, it turns out that Randone was not only a contestant on a "TV beauty pageant" or "reality show" (depending on the time of day), but he was also an evangelical mime.

I am serious.

Randone was involved in ministry as a mime and did "some evangelistic types of entertainment," [homicide detective Sgt. Brian] Schoonmaker said. He did not know when or where Randone performed.

Something is seriously wrong at the AP. They had a murder (allegedly) committed by an evangelical mime, and they go with the (tenuous at best) reality show angle?

There are so many reasons for someone to get fired over this.

Murder suspect, evangelical mime, and former reality show or TV beauty pageant contestant Brian Lee Randone.

Brian Lee Randone pic source.

Project Runway 6 Episode 6: Life is Unfair, and So Are the Judges

Poodle Bitch would like to point out that her blog can be found here.

The designers are taken to a movie studio lot- it looks like it might be the Fox lot, but Poodle Bitch is unsure. She does not regularly visit studio lots; she is not one of the “beautiful poodles.” Tim Gunn and Collier Strong tell the designers that their next challenge will be to choose a film genre, and create an outfit for a character from that genre.

As the winner of the previous challenge (and deservedly so), poodle companion Irina is given the chance to select first. She rather sensibly chooses film noir. Poodle Bitch has to say that she is a bit disappointed; Irina has immunity, and could really have let her “inhibitions run wild” (sorry, she has Rod Stewart on the brain, for some reason) with something like science fiction; but, no matter. Irina is the top designer, and Poodle Bitch has faith.

The designers’ names are pulled from a bag at random by Mr. Gunn.

Logan chooses action adventure. Given the way some of the models talk about Logan on “Models of the Runway,” Poodle Bitch is sure that they will disappointed that “pornography” was not a genre up for selection.

Carol Hannah does not pick woodland fairy, she , too, chooses action adventure. Perhaps she’ll make something for Legolas?

Ra’mon takes science fiction. He interviews that he grew up watching “sci fi,” and knows all about “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” Poodle Bitch is not a snob about speculative fiction like a certain human with whom she lives, so she will refrain from making comments on the science fictional worth of the two “Star” series, “Wars” and “Trek.”

Louise goes obvious and selects “film noir.” “That has your name written all over it,” as Mr. Gunn says. Poodle Bitch has watched enough reality to know that this is what’s called “foreshadowing.”

Althea also chooses film noir, and now Poodle Bitch is confused. She thought there were only two of each genre. How can poodle companion Irina, Louise, and dull as dishwater Althea all select the same genre?

Gordana selects period piece.

Nicolas unsurprisingly selects science fiction. Did he not do some kind of ridiculous straight out of Philip K Dick’s most fevered Valis inspired nightmare outfit last week?

Nicolas designed these (along with Gordana, in fairness to him- but he did most of the design work) a few weeks ago. Poodle Bitch believes no comment is necessary- this criticizes itself.

Christopher selects period piece.

This leaves two “westerns” left, for Shirin and Epperson. No one wanted to do any western-inspired outfits, for some reason. Poodle Bitch thinks this might be an interesting way for certain designers to stand out. She has to admit that “film noir” is probably a bit too easy for most of these designers.

Epperson complains that he wanted “period piece,” but Poodle Bitch would like to point out that, by definition, westerns are period pieces. It is all in how one looks at it.

The designers are immediately taken off the (Fox?) lot and back to the Fashion Institute, which makes little sense to Poodle Bitch. Why bother taking them to the lot in the first place, if they’re only going to spend five minutes picking genres? They could have done that at the Institute. Even worse, the designers are informed that this is a one-day challenge. They have until midnight tonight to finish. So they spent two hours each way, in traffic, traveling to the lot that served only as a pretty backdrop, and now have until midnight to create their clothing?

Epperson begins by thinking of John Wayne, which won’t help him to design a gown.

Shirin starts thinking “saloon girl.” Poodle Bitch is a big fan of the television show “Deadwood,” and she does not understand why these designers are so down on western wear. There is plenty of interest to be done with it.

Carol Hannah is foregoing the “woodland sprite” look, and doing a sexy assassin. Poodle Bitch would ironically point out that that hasn’t been done before.

Logan apparently has a crush on Carol Hannah. “She’s nice to have around,” he interviews, with timid charm. Regular viewers of “Models of the Runway” know that Logan could have his pick from among almost any of the models, so his interest in Carol Hannah is both unfortunate and misplaced. Regardless, Poodle Bitch hopes that he has a happy life.

Oh, and Logan is designing a “military esque-slash-like sword fighter.” This is just another way of saying “sexy assassin look.”

For her part, Carol Hannah thinks Logan is “distracting” and “hot.” Don’t get burned!

Nicolas says that he’s out in fantasy land. In his own world. Given his feelings about his own work, Poodle Bitch would agree with that.

Althea says she likes “the sort of femme fatale woman, very sort of classic, edgy.” Poodle Bitch would like to point out to Althea that “femme fatale woman” is a redundancy, and there is very little that is “edgy” about a fashion designer being inspired by films noir. If Althea really were “edgy,” she would have selected “western” as her genre. As it is, Poodle Bitch is far more interested to see what “Trekker” Ra’mon comes up with.

Irina feels she doesn’t need immunity.

Christopher worries his interpretation of “period piece” might confuse the judges. If someone like, say, Nicolas who makes the same thing over and over again and has very little in the way of actual inspiration, were to say this, Poodle Bitch might consider it an example of hubris, but given Christopher’s relative skill, and the way the judges have judged this season, Poodle Bitch shares his concern.

Epperson makes the valid point that Poodle Bitch had been thinking. “’Western’ is a ‘period’,” he says. But it is his job to make “western” an exclamation.

Epperson has been creating good designs from the first episode. Why has he not yet won any of the challenges?

Someone keeps stealing Louise’s bobbins. Even as she sews, she is still working on her concept. More foreshadowing. Poodle Bitch is beginning to worry for her.

Mr. Gunn doesn’t like Christopher’s bare-armed gown for his Victorian vampire bride.

Epperson has embraced the western genre. “Annie get your gun,” Mr. Gunn says appreciatively. He is seduced by Epperson’s ruffles. Poodle Bitch would love to make something that seduces Tim Gunn.

Ra’mon’s human alien hybrid skin-like jumpsuit could be “sublime, or a big, hot mess.”

Louise needs to be less minimal.

Nicolas is told to exaggerate and go bigger. Poodle Bitch agrees. Nicolas is dull. He is so dull that part of his time with Mr. Gunn is taken up with an expression of worry about Ra’mon’s design. When Nicolas thinks of “sci fi,” he thinks of beautiful, not Godzilla. Ra’mon is twice the designer you are, Nicolas. Ra’mon is skilled and serious. You are silly.

But now Ra’mon is second-guessing himself. “It’s Kermit the frog gone wrong.” He’s going to start from scratch. A dress? A coat? Despite the fact that Ra’mon almost single-handedly saved Mitchell from elimination in the third episode, Poodle Bitch is beginning to worry about him.

Irina barely finishes her dress. Poodle Bitch has to say that she is not heartened by the small glimpses she has gotten from the editing.

This week’s judges are John Varvatos (Poodle Bitch is unsure of who he is, but she seems to vaguely recall finding herself on his email list, for some reason), Marie Claire editor Zoe Glassner , and Academy Award nominated designer Arianne Phillips.

Poodle Bitch needn’t have worried. Irina’s model looks dangerous and elegant.

Carol Hannah’s model looks like a character from “The Matrix.” Excuse Poodle Bitch while she yawns.

The same can be said for Logan’s. It looks like their pillow talk involved exchanging design ideas.

Ra'mon won such praise for the tiedye dress, which almost saved Mitchell. Can he go back to the well again (or, should Poodle Bitch say "toilet"? she has read that the above dress was dyed in one).

Oh, how Poodle Bitch wants to love Ra’mon’s design- and she does. Alas, it is the execution that lets him down. It looks like it was thrown together at the last minute, as it likely was.

Poodle Bitch’s favorites were Irina, Epperson Christopher, and Ra’mon. Her least favorites were Carol Hannah, Logan, and Nicolas. Irina, Carol Hannah, and Logan ended up in the middle, and are excused from the runway.

The judges think Gordana’s design is too dull, and too derivative. Poodle Bitch agrees.

Nicolas’s silly ice queen dress impresses the judges, for some reason. “Clever, bold, and risky,” Zoe says. Poodle Bitch would use the more appropriate adjectives, “Uninspired, safe, and boring” to describe the outfit. The hair and makeup, on the other hand, are quite interesting.

They call Louise’s dress boring and unspecial. This after praising Nicolas. Poodle Bitch wonders how it is that we are to take the judges seriously. Where is Michael Kors? Where is Nina Garcia?

Christopher’s mixing of eras gets praise from the judges.

The judges don’t like Ra’mon’s dress, much as they like his story. “Hot green mess,” Heidi says.

They did like Epperson’s denim and leather dress, with it seductive ruffles.

But it’s Nicolas’s ice queen that “blew away” the judges. How could the judges have gotten it so right last week, and so wrong this week? Nicolas’s dress might have been well-made, but it showed none of the inspiration of Ra’mon’s.

Ra’mon is sent home. Poodle Bitch cannot believe it. The judges must be smoking something that takes away their common sense. Carol Hannah, Logan, Althea, Gordana, and Nicolas are all far lesser designers, who "played it safe." Yet they are given passes, and in Nicolas's case, an undeserved victory.

This season has certainly tested Poodle Bitch. She understands that life is unfair, and the best designers are often treated shabbily by the vaguaries of fate, but must “Project Runway” so closely mirror that fact?

Ra'mon design picture source.
Nicolas design picture source.
Epperson design picture source.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

John Edwards: Not a Hero. A Motherf*cker.

Politicians are corrupt. That is just the way they are. The system in which they operate is corrupt; they have to be corrupt, too.

But John Edwards, the hair-obsessed former presidential candidate might be the worst of them all. Remember when he was running for president, and he crafted one of the most immodest campaign ads of all time? It's worth revisiting, in light of what we now know about his infamous behavior:

The transcript is priceless:

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me. Don't look to Elizabeth. We have support. We have health care. We have the American people behind us.

Look to them. They are the ones who we speak for. They are the ones that we stand up for.

And Elizabeth and I decided, in the quiet of a hospital room, after 12 hours of tests and after getting very bad news, what we were going to spend our lives doing, for all those that have no voice.

We're not going to quietly go away. Instead we're going to go out and fight for what it is we believe in.

It is time for our party, the Democratic Party, to show a little backbone, to have a little guts. To stand up for working men and women. If we are not their voice they will never have a voice.

I'm John Edwards and I approve this message.

Not John Edwards. FYI.

Okay, Mr. Edwards. If you insist, I won't look to you in my search for "heroes." (By the way, what do you call someone who "stands up" for "heroes," as Mr. Edwards claims to do in the sixth through eighth sentences? That's even better than being a hero!) A "hero" wouldn't exploit his wife's cancer in such a cynical way. Especially when he was having an affair with another woman.

Former U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday admitted that he had an extramarital affair.
Edwards, whose wife Elizabeth is suffering from incurable cancer, denied during his unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination this year that he had an affair.

"You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself," the former U.S. senator from North Carolina and failed 2004 vice presidential candidate said in a statement.

It's pretty sleazy to have an affair when your wife has cancer. But the man who isn't a hero says that any judgment I make about him isn't nearly so harsh as the judgment he's made about himself. He's "beaten up" himself over it.

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me.

Still, the affair and how it's dealt with really isn't my concern. That's a private family matter. Except that he ran for president. And lied about the affair during his run. A lot of people voted for him, thinking he was someone else.

It got worse for Mr. Edwards.

The married ex-senator from North Carolina - whose wife Elizabeth continues to battle cancer -- met with his mistress, blonde divorcée Rielle Hunter, at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night, July 21 - and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER was there! He didn't leave until early the next morning.
Senior NATIONAL ENQUIRER Reporter Alexander Hitchen asked Edwards why he was visiting Rielle and whether he was ready to confirm that he was the father of her baby.

Shocked to see a reporter, and without saying anything, Edwards ran up the stairs leading from the hotel basement to the lobby. But, spotting a photographer, he doubled back into the basement. As he emerged from the stairwell, reporter Butterfield questioned him about his hookup with Rielle.

Edwards did not answer and then ran into a nearby restroom. He stayed inside for about 15 minutes, refusing to answer questions from the NATIONAL ENQUIRER about what he was doing in the hotel. A group of hotel security men eventually escorted him from the men's room, while preventing the NATIONAL ENQUIRER reporters from following him out of the hotel.

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me.

"Heroes" don't run into the bathroom when confronted by an uncomfortable situation. They bow their heads, keep walking, and say "No comment."

Rielle Hunter and child. John Edwards claims to not be a "hero," but if that kid starts flying and lifting cars above her head, no paternity test will be necessary.

He even talked a campaign operative into claiming to be the father of Rielle Hunter's child.

Former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards talked a campaign aide into claiming he fathered a child born to Edwards' onetime mistress, sources familiar with the issue said Monday.

Edwards admitted to his affair with Rielle Hunter in August 2008 after months of denials, but said he could not have been the father of Hunter's daughter, who was born the previous February. Former Edwards staffer Andrew Young has said he was the girl's father -- but has recanted and says he made it because he believed in Edwards, lawyers and others familiar with the matter told CNN.

Young was married with children when he claimed to have fathered Hunter's child. He never signed any affidavits or legal papers, however, and reversed his claim after Edwards, as one of the sources put it, dropped Young "like a hot potato.

Hot potato Andrew Young. Manipulated by the unheroic John Edwards into taking responsibility for fathering the child of Edwards' mistress.

And now the story has moved from The National Enquirer to the New York Times, and it's only getting worse for Mr. Edwards.

But a federal grand jury in nearby Raleigh is investigating whether any crimes were committed in connection with campaign laws in an effort to conceal his extramarital affair with a woman named Rielle Hunter. At the same time, Mr. Edwards is moving toward an abrupt reversal in his public posture; associates said in interviews that he is considering declaring that he is the father of Ms. Hunter’s 19-month-old daughter, something that he once flatly asserted in a television interview was not possible.
According to people familiar with the grand jury investigation, prosecutors are considering a complicated and novel legal issue: whether payments to a candidate’s mistress to ensure her silence (and thus maintain the candidate’s viability) should be considered campaign donations and thus whether they should be reported. When Mr. Edwards was running for president, and later when he still held out hope of a cabinet position in the Obama administration, two of his wealthy patrons, through a once-trusted Edwards aide, quietly provided Ms. Hunter with large financial benefits, including a new BMW and lodging, that were used to keep her out of public view.

Mr. Edwards had to use that campaign money silencing the woman with whom he was having an affair so that he could speak for those who have no voice. That is what you call ironic. Almost heroically so.

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me.

Again- if you say so, Mr. Edwards. But it's kind of hard not to, when the man you convinced to claim paternity of your mistress's child alleges this:

Investigators are examining the benefits Ms. Hunter received from the two Edwards supporters, Fred Baron, a wealthy trial lawyer from Dallas who has since died, and Rachel Mellon, known as Bunny, a 99-year-old heiress to the Mellon fortune. Before his death, Mr. Baron said in a statement that he paid Ms. Hunter and helped move her and Mr. Young to California and other places on his own initiative, without informing Mr. Edwards. Mr. Edwards has asserted that he knew nothing of the benefits provided to Ms. Hunter by Mr. Baron or Mrs. Mellon.

In his book proposal, however, Mr. Young depicts Mr. Baron as going to great lengths to help a knowing and eager Mr. Edwards conceal from the public both his affair with Ms. Hunter and his paternity of her daughter. At one point, Mr. Young wrote, Mr. Edwards asked Mr. Baron if he could find a doctor who would falsify a DNA report.

Maybe a hero would try to falsify a DNA report, if it meant he could speak for the voiceless. That is the kind of sacrifice that heroes make. Because as you remember, Mr. Edwards was "beating up" himself over the affair. He probably "beat up" himself over this, too.

But then there's this:

In the [book] proposal, which The New York Times examined, Mr. Young says that he assisted the affair by setting up private meetings between Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter. He wrote that Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me.

Ah, but if you're looking for a really cool guy, who's hip to what the young people are listening to (when he's not "beating up" himself), then you can look to Mr. Edwards.

Because Mr. Edwards has absolutely no credibility, and has been shown to be a lying motherf*cker at every turn, it's impossible not to believe every thing that Mr. Young says about him. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Edwards told Ms. Hunter that they'd be together in a beautiful rooftop ceremony with the Dave Matthews Band for crying out loud once his wife finally kicked off.

This is the guy who got his campaign aide to claim paternity of his mistress's child. The guy who ran into a bathroom and stayed there for 15 minutes while National Enquirer editors and photographers peppered him with questions from outside the door. The guy who funneled hush money from his presidential campaign fund to his mistress. (Is it possible he ran for president in 2008 for the sole reason of raising money to keep this affair quiet? Why not? I believe it!)

If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me.

You're right, John Edwards. You're not a hero. You're a motherf*cker.

Not a hero. Motherf*cker.

Not a hero pic source.
Hunter and child pic source.
Andrew Young pic source.
Superman pic source.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tales of Regret: Celebrity Exception Edition

While working as a low-level office drone at a major Hollywood movie studio I had no prestige, but I did have ample opportunity to meet beautiful, intelligent women who were trying to break into the entertainment business just as I was. During a particularly grueling and humiliating office job that involved filing and refilling old television rights contracts, I was lucky enough to meet a woman to whom I was particularly attracted. Unlike as so often had happened in that situation, she was attracted to me, as well.

We bonded over the absurdity of what we were doing. Both of us considered ourselves too intelligent to be committed to such an obvious waste of time. They could have hired temps to do this stuff- how could they spare us in our respective offices?

We started dating the day we started the job. For about two weeks, we went out every night for dinner or a movie, or to a bar, and then spent nights at either her apartment or mine. It happened very fast, but it felt perfectly natural. I couldn’t see anything wrong with her.

One night about two weeks after the day we met, I told her, “My friend Chris asked me about you- if we were serious or not, and,” I started to feel nervous, “well, I told him that I thought of you as my girlfriend.”

I searched her eyes expectantly. Obviously, I was exposing myself emotionally. If she didn’t feel the same way, it was over right there.

She smiled and kissed me. “Well, that’s good, because I think of you as my boyfriend!” It was so wonderful that it almost made me sick.

Then a week later, we spent our first evening apart. Her department had an event and she had to work it, to provide bottles of wine to certain press people, and to ensure that the celebrities in attendance got from point A to point D without stopping at point C, or, even worse, point B, which would have been exceedingly tragic.

Of course I understood. In my department, we had events of this type just as often. Hers was larger and would last much later than any such event I’d been involved with, but, to be honest, her department was more important than mine.

So I spent that Friday night watching television, and then went to bed at around 11:30. An early night, but she’d exhausted me over the last two weeks.

A few hours later, she used the key to my apartment to let herself in and sneak into my bedroom, where she awakened me with kisses and frottage. That is a nice way to wake up.

“You’re excited,” I deadpanned.

“I am. It was a pretty good night,” she said.

“I’m glad you had a good night,” I said. “I know you were worried it was going to be a waste of time.”

She stopped and pulled away from me. She was smiling that smile that dazzled, that lit up the room even when the lights were off. “Okay, before you get really, really lucky, I just have to tell you this, because I’m going to burst if I don’t.” Her voice sounded giddy.

“Okay,” I said, laughing. I couldn’t remember ever seeing her that excited.

She inhaled, and her eyes widened charmingly. “Well, I was at the party, you know, and there were all these celebrities there. Ben Affleck was one of them, and he came up to me while I was talking to some reporter about the buffet- he had a complaint about one of the cold dishes, and I guess he thought I was with catering, anyway- Ben Affleck came up to me and started chatting me up.”

I felt excited for her. At least, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as she spoke. “Don’t pause!” I said.

Her smile got bigger; she was using it to keep the giggles at bay. “He came on to me! I think I could have slept with him tonight, but I didn’t, because I’m in a committed relationship with you!”

She then leaned forward and started kissing me, first on the mouth, then on the neck. It felt quite good, but I was confused as to why she’d stopped telling her story. “You had the chance to sleep with Ben Affleck and you didn’t?” I asked, incredulous.

“I told him I was with someone. Dating someone,” she breathed, absent-mindedly. She was licking my ear, so her mouth was right there- she didn’t need to say it too loudly. “You.”

I pulled away from her. I tried to keep my voice from sounding scolding. “Honey, if you have the chance to sleep with someone famous, you do it!”

“What?” The light in her eyes was almost completely extinguished. “Are you serious?”

“Now, I’m going to have this on my conscience. I’ve deprived you of the opportunity to sleep with someone famous- and an Academy Award winner, no less! -And by the way, I don’t think William Goldman wrote the screenplay for ‘Good Will Hunting.’”

She pulled away from me, her entire manner completely changed. “Okay, Richard, this isn’t funny anymore. Actually, it never was. Are you saying that if- if-” she struggled to think of someone “-if Jewel came on to you, that you would sleep with her?”

“Of course I would!” I said. “She’s famous!”

“So, we’re not in a committed relationship? I thought you were my boyfriend!”

“I am,” I said. “And you’re my girlfriend. But, if you get a chance to sleep with someone famous, you do it!” It was an important point, and apparently bore repeating.

“Wait. Just so we’re clear. We’re in a committed relationship. We are boyfriend and girlfriend. But if either of us gets the chance to sleep with someone famous, we should?”

“Absolutely,” I said. It seemed perfectly obvious to me. “That is an exciting thing to be able to say about yourself,” I said. I shook my head in wonder. “Could you imagine, being able to say, ‘I slept with Ben Affleck’?”

“But I’m with you!”

“And I’m with you,” I said, reaching out to take her hand. She pulled away even further. The bed had never been that big before.

“What qualifies as ‘famous’?” She persisted. “Just so I know who I can and can’t sleep with. Do contestants from ‘Survivor’ count? Could I sleep with Colby?”

“Colby” referred to one of the contestants on the second season of “Survivor.” It was a show we watched together.

I thought about that. “If he wins, maybe,” I said. “But basically, if you have to ask, he’s not famous enough.”

“I have to ask anyway, you jackass- it’s your idea! I don’t understand it at all. You seem to be saying that your celebrity exception is any celebrity that will sleep with you.”

I nodded. “You’ve got it,” I said. “I don’t want to prevent you having an experience like that, and I don’t want to be deprived of it, myself.”

“What about Billy Bob Thornton?” she asked. I could tell from her expression that she thought she had me. We’d once discussed how unattractive she thought he was.

“Yeah,” I said. “He’s a famous Academy Award winner.” I didn’t share her distaste for Billy Bob Thornton, anyway. I probably would have been excited to sleep with someone who’d slept with Angelina Jolie.

“So, I should have slept with Ben Affleck,” she said.

I nodded. There wasn’t anything more to say, really. I think we both knew it was over at that point. How could I trust her judgment, after this? That night we spent together without enthusiasm, and when she left the next morning, she left her key on the table beside the bed.

I regret not telling her about our “celebrity exception” rule sooner. It might have saved her the regret of missing out on a night with Ben Affleck.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Erin Andrews and Megan Fox Sex Tape

If you're cynical, you might think that headline was merely created to generate pageviews. To that I answer, Stop being so cynical; I actually have a valid reason for writing this entry.

And now, a couple of photos of Erin Andrews, ESPN sideline reporter, and Megan Fox, professional actress:

Erin Andrews.

Megan Fox.

Stop being cynical.

Megan Fox recently made news when she declared she would never appear in a sex tape, and never appear nude in a film.

"It would take one shot of me not looking good, and I would not be able to have sex ever again, because I would always just see myself looking like a hippo having sex."
She insists, "I can't ever imagine myself doing nudity in a film. It lives forever, especially now, with the Internet.”
"Literally all I have left are my private parts, and I don't want to also share them with the world. I'd like to keep them private. That's why they're called that!"

First of all, "private parts" are only called "private parts" by bluenosing prudes, seeking to cause others to feel the shame that they themselves feel about their own bodies and sexuality.

Second of all, it's precisely because "it lives forever" that one should do nude scenes, and make sex tapes. Megan, you're in your mid-20s now. You will never again be in your mid-20s. Do you really want-- at 60-- to look back on your life and wish that you could see what you looked like having sex at 24? Or at least to see what you looked like nude in a major motion picture, in which you will be photographed in such a way as to make you look astoundingly beautiful? For crying out loud, look at how Michael Bay photographed you merely opening the hood of a car in "Transformers":

Megan Fox, checking under the hood.

As an attractive celebrity, you have been given two gifts for which many people would give anything: fame, and physical beauty. To squander those gifts is an insult not only to yourself, but to those without the same opportunities you have.

Ultimately, however, it's your loss that you won't do a nude scene in a film, Megan. Somehow, the rest of the world will get over it.

Now to Erin Andrews, ESPN sideline reporter. She was the woman who was videotaped ironing her pants in the nude, without her consent. It made her into, in her words, "Britney Spears." In case you've forgotten what she looks like, here she is in a photograph from this month's GQ magazine:

Erin Andrews again. Stop being cynical.

As of this writing, the person(s?) who made the video tapes in question has not been caught, nor been punished in any way. Of course, it has made Ms. Andrews more popular than ever.

I'd never heard of her before the incident.

Anyway, given what she's told Oprah Winfrey about the incident, it's safe to say Ms. Andrews probably won't be making a sex tape, either.

"I think it'll always make me feel nervous, but I also feel it's my duty to come out and show this person, you know what, I worked hard for my career, and I got there the right way and they're not going to break me down."

Andrews began the interview, which lasted about eight minutes in two segments, by saying, "I’m getting better. It’s been a nightmare. I still kind of every day want to say, 'Am I going to wake up?'"
Asked how she feels about those who have wondered whether the video might have been a publicity stunt, Andrews said, "Disappointed, especially when it came from females as well. I would never do this to myself."

What happened to Ms. Andrews is appalling, there is no question about that. I am not sure how going on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about the nightmare is in any way a rebuke to the person or persons who made the videos, but I'm not her. If it makes her feel better, and she has a platform in which to do it, she should.

I have to say that it never occurred to me that the video might have been a "publicity stunt," but as I've already stated in this posting, I am not cynical. Still, my advice to her would be the same as my advice for Ms. Fox. Think about making a sex tape, or at least doing a nude scene.

You're only young once.

So, to summarize: Erin Andrews and Megan Fox should make a sex tape together. For their own sakes. They don't have to show it to the world, if they don't want to. That's up to them. But I think that just knowing it's out there will be enough for most people.

Erin Andrews pic source.
Megan Fox pic source.
Megan Fox under the hood pic source.
Erin Andrews GQ pic source.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Lowest Common Denominator" Episode 1: VH1's Worst or Best Show Ever?


I have decided to go ahead and recap VH1’s latest and, if not greatest then probably most honest new reality show “Least Common Denominator.” As the voice over man explains while each contestant is driven in a 1997 Toyota Corolla to the house in the Hollywood Hills, “These people are competing to become VH1’s ultimate reality star. The winner will receive not only $100,000, but will also become part of the VH1 reality show family, guaranteed at least one show with ten episodes per year, and a place on ‘the circuit,’ where they will be paid to make personal appearances at clubs and bars from Normal, Illinois to Alamagordo, New Mexico.”

That is truly an exciting prospect. For some of these people, it’s pretty clear that’s the best they could ever hope for.

Once all fifteen contestants have arrived- six men, eight women, and one of indeterminate gender- they stand outside the house (it’s the same house they use for Rock of Love, Daisy of Love, Charm School, and Flavor of Love) with wondering looks on their faces. It seems to eat up a lot of time and you start to wonder, are they making fun of these people because they’re just standing around, or are they making fun of themselves for not giving these people anything to do?

One of the contestants, a woman with stringy hair that’s so dirty you can’t tell what color it’s supposed to be, sallow skin dotted with acne, wild eyes, puckered, dry lips the color of a drowning woman’s, and teeth that are chipped, yellow, and go in three directions at once interviews--

--actually, I can’t tell what it is that she’s just said in her interview segment. It sounds like “Mwoau foughf moulth fogothf morthorforker,” but I can’t tell. She is going to be fun to watch, I’m sure.

Finally, a stretch limousine rolls up to the house. From the middle doors of said vehicle there emerge three large men who introduce themselves as the show’s bouncers, and the host’s bodyguards, Biff, Beef, and Curtis. Sternly, the one called Beef says, “Anyone steps outta line, I pound you like Beef. That’s how I got my nickname. Do you understand?”

The bouncers and host arrived in a stretch limo similar to this one. Sorry, I couldn't find any pictures of the bouncers or the host. Maybe next week.

For some reason, the contestants cheer. They’re just excited to be on a reality show, even if they’re having their lives threatened by the bouncer!

At that point, the limousine’s back doors open, and two beautiful women in pink and black lingerie emerge, followed immediately by a telegenic and well-dressed young man. He smiles and introduces himself as the host.

“You can call me The Executive,” he says. “I’m with VH1. It’s me that you want to impress; and if you do, I will put you on television forever. One show a year for the rest of your life. Oh, and there’s also the matter of the $100,000!”

This gets a cheer from the contestants as well, and I have to say this time the cheering makes more sense. I’d cheer too, if I had a chance at television fame, and $100K. For that matter, I’m cheering right now, and all I’m doing is watching the show.

“Before we get started,” The Executive continues, “I’d like to address the show’s title. Some of you might be offended by the idea of competing for ‘Lowest Common Denominator.’ But I’d like to point out that it’s actually very complimentary. The word ‘lowest’ means bottom, or foundation. It’s only on a sturdy foundation that anything can be built. The word ‘common’ means applying to the most people, which implies unity, or commonality. As President Barack Obama has said once in a speech, ‘We share a common destiny.’ And ‘denominator,’ of course, is a mathematical term, and math is very smart.”

The host invoked the name of Barack Obama to help explain the show concept. In the above photo, the president is texting his agent to have his name removed from the reruns.

The producers cut back to the contestants, who are staring with blank faces. Again I wonder, who are they making fun of here?

Inside the house, The Executive announces that he’s going give everyone nicknames based on their most obvious characteristic.  Contestants are brought one at a time into "The Executive Boardroom," which, unlike most boardrooms I've ever seen, has a throne.  The Executive sits on the throne, and is flanked by Biff, Beef, and Curtis.

The first one up is the woman with the strange teeth who interviewed earlier. “What’s your story?” he asks her.

This time, producers give her subtitles to explain her incoherent mumblings. Although, how they know what she’s saying is beyond me. Maybe they had her write it down later? (Even then- her hands shake so much, and her fingers are so spindly that I find it hard to believe she could hold a pencil.)

“I’m excited to be here” (the subtitles read) “I’ve been on meth for about three months now, and it was either this show or rehab.”

“I think I’ll call you ‘Meth Mouth,’” The Executive says.

Next up is an attractive woman in high heels, so she is called “High Heels.” I have to say that I think The Executive missed a real opportunity with the nicknaming of this contestant, considering the fact that she has the word “Left” tattooed over her right breast, and “Right” tattooed over her left breast. He could have nicknamed her “Can’t Tell Her Left Breast From Her Right,” or "Got Her Tattoo While Looking in a Mirror" or something. Okay, maybe that’s not particularly clever, either.

The first man takes his spot before The Executive. He’s in great shape, a kind of a beefy guy with spiked hair on his head, and completely hairless from the neck down. He’s wearing a tight button up shirt and tight jeans. He tells The Executive that he’s a male exotic dancer.

“Are you gay?” The Executive asks. “Because if you’re gay, I’m gonna nickname you ‘Gay.’”

“I’m not gay,” the male exotic dancer says.

“In that case, I’m gonna nickname you ‘Closet.’”

Next up is a woman who looks to be about 170 pounds or so. She is what I would call “voluptuous,” but The Executive apparently doesn’t agree with my assessment, as he starts making oinking noises as soon as she steps in front of him.

He turns to the bouncer called Curtis. “Is ‘Pig’ too ‘on-the-nose’ for this one?”

Curtis nods.

“I’ll nickname you ‘Mudflaps,’” The Executive says.

Mudflaps sneers at him and walks away.

The next one is man who is probably about 28, with a beer belly and the thick arms and neck of someone who was probably once a football player, but who now spends a lot of time sitting. He explains that he’s a truck driver, in a thick southern accent that also inspires producers to use subtitles. He sounds like the male version of Paula Deen. He actually kind of looks like the male version of Paula Deen, too.

“Damn!” The Executive says. “I wish you’d come in before that last woman, I could have named you ‘Mudflaps.’ Instead, I guess I’m just gonna call you ‘Redneck Trucker.’”

Redneck Trucker kind of looks like a younger, more masculine version of Paula Deen. Although, not much more masculine.

The next is a woman who explains that she is there for her children. “I have three kids,” she says, beaming. “You might have heard about me, actually- I was on the CBS Morning Show, because I was a medical anomaly. I had triplets that were fathered by three different men. I slept with them all on the same night, and they all fertilized me. Doctors were baffled.”

The Executive looks baffled, himself. Beef, Biff, and Curtis all look slightly embarrassed. Could they…? No, of course not.

“Your nickname is ‘Slutmom’!” The Executive says.

The next up is a woman who works at P.F. Chang’s. The Executive calls her “Chang.”

Next is a man who went to college, and claims to read at least five books a year. He’s dubbed “Weirdo.”

The next is the one of indeterminate gender. Now that we’re given a closer look at him/her, I still honestly can’t tell if she’s a he or he’s a she. Of course, it doesn’t really matter what I think. It’s The Executive’s opinion that matters. They talk for awhile, and for the life of me I can’t remember anything either of them says. It’s like I’m experiencing missing time, or something.

“Well, you’re such a nobody and a drip, I’m gonna nickname you ‘The First One Eliminated,’” The Executive says.

The First One Eliminated interviews, “That doesn’t bode well.” I have to agree with him/her.

The next one is a woman with a number of tattoos. She’s called “Tattooy.”

Then a man who looks like he’s about 140 pounds dripping wet is dubbed “Pantywaist.”

The two-years-sober alcoholic woman is nicknamed “Alcoholic.”

The woman studying to be a dental assistant is nicknamed “Smartypants.”

Next up is a man who appears to be Latino, mid-20s, and imposing in his wifebeater shirt and low-riding jeans. His muscled arms are covered in sleevework.

“Are you from Mexico?” The Executive asks.

“I’m from Compton,” he says. “Born and raised.”

“I’m gonna call you, ‘Illegal,’” The Executive says, after due deliberation, apparently not hearing what the man just said.

Finally, the last contestant appears. Since he is the last man to get a nickname, and he loves to play basketball, he’s nicknamed “The 6th Man.”

The 6th Man protests, “I don’t like to play basketball!”

“Would you rather I nickname you ‘The Second One Eliminated’?” The Executive asks.

“’The 6th Man’ is fine,” he says, miserably.

Now that everyone’s gotten a nickname, the contestants are encouraged to mingle during the first ever “Lowest Common Denominator” alcoholic mixer in the garden behind the house. Of course, being a sensitive viewer of reality shows, I’m wondering about the wisdom of having an “alcoholic mixer,” when at least one of the contestants is an admitted alcoholic you’ve just nicknamed “Alcoholic,” but I’m happy to see The Executive address that issue head-on.

Time for the contestants to "mix"!

“I know that at least one of you is an alcoholic,” he tells them. “And I’m counting on you to really show the rest of the contestants how to have a good time!”

Alcoholic does just that, heading straight for the bar, where her two years of sobriety come to a crashing end. When I say crashing, I mean that literally, as after only two drinks she throws a half-empty bottle of vodka at High Heels because she doesn’t like her “altitude.”

I think she meant “attitude,” but she’s drunk, so what can you do?

Closet spends the time trying to “hook up” with the female contestants. His attempts are so pathetic, it reminds me a little of myself. First he approaches High Heels. “That was really bad, what alcoholic did to you,” he says, softly. “I think your altitude is just right.”

“Thanks,” she says, barely paying attention.

“Would you like to make sex with me?” Closet asks.

High Heels snorts. “Please. I’m a starf*cker. You’re not famous yet. If you win this show, then maybe.”

Closet next goes to Alcoholic, who tells him she’s not drunk enough yet, and by the time she gets drunk enough she’ll be passed out anyway, Slutmom tells him she’s worried about what her kids might think of her (even though she does think he’s kind of cute), Chang tells him she doesn’t like men who appear to her to be gay, Smartypants is too concerned about disease, and Mudflaps just walks away without giving him any excuse.

Finally, Meth Mouth agrees, and they retire to one of the bathrooms. Even though we can’t see through the door, they’ve both still got their microphones on, so we can hear all the incoherent grunting. It makes for an uncomfortable two minutes.

Closet interviews, “She wasn’t my first choice, and I don’t really like the way she looked, but the way I do the sex with women, I don’t really have to look at their faces.”

I have to admit, even though the substance of what Closet has said could be construed as offensive, I do find it charming the way he says “do the sex with women.”

The next day the contestants are seated in what looks like the classroom from “Charm School,” and presented with their first challenge. The Executive explains: “Here at VH1, we take our background checks very seriously. As you all know, in order to appear on this show, you had to fill out an exhaustive one-page questionnaire in which you had to give us your names, addresses or at least cross streets, and you had to tell us the worst thing you’ve ever done in your lives. By the way, I’m surprised by how many of you have had sex with animals. Anyway, in today’s challenge, we’ll present you with five people who didn’t make it on this show. It will be up to you to figure out why they couldn’t be allowed to live here in the house with you.”

The contestants cheer, for some reason.

“And to help you out with that, you’re going to get some information on how to perform background checks by private investigator and star of ‘Sex Decoys: Love Stings,’ Sandra Hope!”

Sandra walks in wearing a very short white skirt and impossibly high heels, higher even than High Heels’s high heels. She explains, “The best way to get information on someone is to dress as a slut and try to entrap them into giving you information. Most people are disarmed by the appearance of a beautiful woman, and will tell her anything.”

Reality TV star and "Private Investigator" Sandra Hope tells the Lowest Common Denominator contestants how to gather information. Hint: It involves dressing like a tramp.

She then helps each of the contestants to create slutty outfits. Is it so wrong of me to think that Closet looks really hot in his skirt?

Okay, forget I said anything.

There follows a montage in which the contestants are shown speaking to the five questionable people in question. Jim, we’re told, is a serial killer, who’s actually wanted in three states. Why the producers don’t just turn him over to the authorities is a question left unanswered. Lisa has seven different diseases, which is three more than the limit for appearing on VH1 reality shows. Harold is missing two limbs, although to be fair to the contestants you could only tell that he was missing one. Mikey is eight years old, and therefore was deemed too chronologically young to appear on a VH1 reality show. Miley was a cat, and not quite human enough.

The First One Eliminated interviews, charmingly, that “I really want to do well with this challenge- I think it’s the only thing that can keep me from being eliminated tonight.”

S/he does do well- The First One Eliminated is the only one to get enough information to determine the actual reasons why each of the potential contestants was left off the show. But will it be enough to save him/her?

The Executive, along with Sandra Hope and, for some reason, Danny Bonaduce, are the judges for this challenge. Even though she got every single one very wrong (for instance, she guessed that Mikey was actually a robot), it’s High Heels who is declared the winner.

“And your prize,” Danny Bonaduce announces, “is to go on a date with me, which I’m sure excites you, because I’m such a BIG star!” I guess that explains why Danny Bonaduce was one of the judges.

High Heels bounces up and down excitedly.

Was the only reason Danny Bonaduce would debase himself enough to appear on this show just so he could get a little nookie?

“That is bullsh*t,” Illegal interviews. He better get used to it. These shows are supposed to be entertaining, not fair.

Anyway, during their date, High Heels and Danny Bonaduce have sex in a dumpster.

While they’re on their date, The Executive holds the elimination ceremony. In what is a surprise to exactly no one, The First One Eliminated is the first one eliminated. “Now that that person is gone,” The Executive says, presenting each of the remaining contestants with their complimentary bottles of Colt 45, “You all need to realize that none of you is safe. Winning this competition will change one of your lives forever, possibly for the better. Now get drunk, get as little sleep as possible, because tomorrow is another challenge!”

It looks like it’s going to be an exciting season.

Those contestants on Lowest Common Denominator who are not eliminated are presented with a bottle of Colt 45 during the elimination ceremony.

Stretch limo pic source.
Obama pic source.
Paula Deen pic source.
Alcoholic beverages pic source.
Sandra Hope pic source.
Danny Bonaduce pic source.
Colt 45 pic source.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why "Jennifer's Body" is "Tanking" at the Box Office

The movie "Jennifer's Body" is "tanking" at the box office this weekend, projected to earn less than $8 million.

How can this be? It features dialogue by Oscar-winning former stripper Diablo Cody, it features a make-out scene between two attractive young women, and it features a plot that is sort of "The Exorcist" mixed with "High School Musical." So I've heard.

It also stars Megan Fox. That woman is all over the place. She's appeared in two major hit films, "Transformers," and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen."

So why is her new film "tanking"?

First of all, if I made a film that earned $7.5 million in one weekend, I would be ecstatic. But considering the two "Transformers" films earned that much in about one single minute during their opening weekends, "Jennifer's Body" is likely to be seen as a disappointment.

Let's take a look at a couple of images from Ms. Fox's two hit films:


Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Now let's take a look at an image from "Jennifer's Body":
Jennifer's Body.

Notice the difference? In the films in which Megan Fox has appeared that have been hits, she has costarred with the charming young actor Shia LaBeouf.

Because Mr. LaBeouf does not appear in "Jennifer's Body," it is "tanking."

Compare their respective film careers. Since 2007, the year in which the first "Transformers" film debuted, Mr. LaBeouf has appeared in "Disturbia," "Surf's Up," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "Eagle Eye," "New York, I Love You," and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Those films have made a combined (estimated guess based on doing no research) $2.5 billion.

Ms. Fox has appeared in "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People," "Whore," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and "Jennifer's Body." Those films have made a combined (estimated guess based on doing no research) $900 million-- all of it from the "Transformers" sequel.

Megan Fox needs to ensure her agent casts her only in films in which Shia LaBeouf costars. Otherwise, she's going to find her films coming in behind movies about meatballs and Jennifer Aniston.

Megan Fox strikes a subtle pose.

Transformers 2 pic source.
Transformers pic source.
Jennifer's Body pic source.
Subtle Megan Fox pic source.