Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter is the Time for Coming Out

Easter is the time when Christians celebrate Jesus Christ's coming out of the tomb, and rising from the dead after being crucified. He announced this "coming out" to everyone he could find:
On Easter morning some women and apostles went to Jesus' tomb, expecting to find his body. But the tomb was empty, and the angel at the tomb told them, "He is not here; he has risen!" Later they saw their risen Lord face to face. The gospels record these events, but the earliest written report concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ was written by St. Paul within twenty-five years of Christ's death in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep." Later St. Luke the historian wrote in his introduction to the book of Acts, "After [Jesus'] suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).
And now it is Easter season, and another man in his 30s is "coming out" to the world, after being sought-after by a number of women. That man is former Menudo member Ricky Martin (one of my favorite Rickys).
I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.
The entire statement, linked above, is actually quite well-written and moving.

Is it all that surprising? Is it, as the website Popeater suggests, a "bombshell" revelation? Probably not, because, as that Popeater article points out, the terrible Barbara Walters did her level best to out the poor man back in 2000:
Earlier this month, Barbara Walters revealed she regretted trying to force Martin to open up about his sexuality in a 2000 interview, saying that her questioning may have ended his career. "In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was," she told The Toronto Star. "A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question."
If that vampiric creature asked me about my sexuality, I would equivocate as well. Actually, if she asked me any question I would run screaming in the opposite direction -- I am pretty sure that she feeds on the tender flesh of young, good-looking men such as myself.

Anyway, I don't know anyone, with an opinion on the subject, who didn't think that Mr. Martin was gay. Not that it matters, really. I am still unsure as to why it is that so many people are interested in the romantic desires of other people.

Oh, yeah. The Bible probably has something to do with it. Which is something to think about during this season of "coming out."

Something else to think about, if you're looking for some Easter music this year: you could do a lot worse than Mr. Martin's catchiest song, "Livin' La Vida Loca":

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poodle Bitch Did Not Expect to Love "Life Unexpected"

Poodle Bitch has first paw experience with adoption, as she herself was adopted as a mere pup. She considers herself lucky to have found the human companions that she did, as she has heard the most dreadful stories – stories she has neither the desire nor the stomach to relate here – of canine adoption nightmares.

Nevertheless, Poodle Bitch has on occasion wondered what her birth mother was like. What kind of bitch would Poodle Bitch be today, if that now nameless, faceless Poodle Mother had raised her? Poodle Bitch’s curiosity is idle at best, woolgathering for those times when she is otherwise unpreoccupied by important subjects and diversions. Diversions such as the television program “Life Unexpected.”

Poodle Bitch did not watch the first few episodes of this series because (a) it was on “The CW,” and Poodle Bitch was given to understand that “The CW” was exclusively for teenaged girls and dirty old men who write for glossy entertainment magazines about the "cultural relevance" of shows about teenaged girls engaging in three-ways, and, (b), it concerns a human teenaged girl who finds her birth mother after spending the first 15 years or so of her life as a “foster child.”

Poodle Bitch now regrets that she missed those early episodes. And she hopes that others will learn a lesson from her – that lesson being, don’t prejudge a show just because it appears on the same network as such tedious fare as “Gossip Girl,” and, well, to be honest, Poodle Bitch does not know any other CW shows by name.

But Poodle Bitch loves “Life Unexpected.” This was unexpected.

Poodle Bitch forgives herself for waiting until recently to give "Life Unexpected" a try. Who would blame her, when "The CW" marketed it by comparing it to the arch and artificial movie "Juno" and the equally glib and remote "Gilmore Girls"?

Tonight’s episode began with Cate and Ryan, hosts of a popular Portland morning radio show, deciding once again to get married. This is big news to viewers of the show, but if you haven’t been watching, Poodle Bitch will excuse you if you scratch your head. You see, Cate and Ryan were the engaged co-hosts of a popular morning radio show when their lives were turned upside down by the appearance of the teenaged daughter that Cate had put up for adoption back when Cate herself was a mere 16 years old.

16 is very, very old for a dog to be giving birth, but apparently for humans it is considered very early. So much so that Cate decided she could not provide her daughter with as good a life as some nameless, faceless adoptive parents. That is why Cate decided to do what she thought was best for her daughter, and let her go.

In a touching scene last week, Cate informed Ryan that she couldn’t even bear to hold her daughter, because she was afraid she might not want to let her go; even though she felt that this was in her daughter’s best interests.

Anyway, the reason that Cate and Ryan’s latest engagement is so important is that Ryan called off the engagement a few weeks ago, when he learned that Cate had slept with Baze when the two of them, Cate and Ryan, were technically not seeing each other.

And just who is Baze, Poodle Bitch can here you inquiring through the internet tubes. Well, Baze is the father of Cate’s daughter, Lux.

Speaking of Lux, she has some trouble of her own. As she arrives to school she encounters Jones, the star quarterback of the varsity football team. All that Poodle Bitch knows about football is that one of the quarterbacks in the NFL had a dogfighting ring, and that the man who is married to one of the Victoria Beckham, AKA Posh Spice, is also a player, although on another continent. Nevertheless, Poodle Bitch doesn’t hold this against the sweet Jones, who tried so hard to impress Lux a couple of weeks ago, when he drove her three hours to visit her friend Tasha who had been recently adopted.

Poodle Bitch implores the reader to keep up with her.

Jones took Lux to the winter formal, or some other type of cotillion that human teenagers enjoy. However, Lux’s former boyfriend, Bug (he has a tattoo on his neck), showed up, and the two of them engaged in the act of coitus immediately before Jones took her to this dancing event.

Baze found one of Bug’s condoms, and, thinking it belonged to Jones, went to the dance to confront Jones. Jones of course didn’t know what Baze was talking about, but Lux admitted that the condom was Bug’s, that Bug had returned to Portland from the hostel in Sacramento, and the two were picking up where they left off.

Jones, heartbroken, left the dance. Lux stayed, and Bug arrived with a bouquet of flowers.

And now, for some reason that Poodle Bitch doesn’t quite understand, Jones has invited Lux to his party. He encourages her to bring her boyfriend, Bug. “It will be great to see him again,” he says, ironically.

Cate, planning her wedding with real zest, asks Lux to be her maid of honor. Lux is honored by the request, although she doesn’t have a chance to actually say yes before Cate receives a call from her sister, Abby. Abby is miffed because she has only just heard that Cate is now re-engaged to Ryan – why did she have to receive this important information in a voice mail from their mother?

Well, Cate explains, if you were home more, or at least answered your phone, you would know everything that’s going on in my life. But apparently you’ve been “shacking up” with some “mystery man.”

At this point, Lux excuses herself. She knows the identity of the “mystery man.” And she knows that Cate will be upset when she discovers who it is, herself.

It is Baze. The man whose sperm fertilized the youthful Cate’s egg those 16 years before, in the back seat of a car in the school parking lot during the spring cotillion.

But Cate’s more immediate problem is that Abby has just assumed that she will be Cate’s maid of honor, and is already planning whatever types of events those so honored plan. Being a dog, Poodle Bitch has little knowledge of such things. But she does enjoy yoga; or, at least, she does a “downward facing dog” every time she gets up from a nap, so she is sympathetic to Abby’s suggestion that Baze accompany her to her yoga class.

However, Abby has only just suggested that Cate might want to do a workout herself, to avoid the whole “double boob thing,” an absurd suggestion, as the waifish Cate appears to weigh a delightful 98 pounds; but Cate takes the suggestion to heart.

And ends up at Abby’s yoga class. Stretching out next to Baze. At this point, Cate realizes that Baze and Abby are sleeping together. She declares, loudly, “You are th e guy that my sister is sleeping with?”

All of this before the first commercial break.

The episode concerned the attempt of Cate and Ryan to elope, rather than deal with the troubles that spring from planning a wedding involving their “crazy” relatives. They plan to take Lux and go to a bed and breakfast, and be married the next day.

Cate goes to Baze’s to retrieve Lux. Lux, however, is at the party at Jones’s. Because the rain has picked up, Cate is now stranded at Baze’s with her sister Abby, and Baze’s roommates. For their part, the roommates don’t like Abby – she is encroaching on their turf, and having what they consider a deleterious effect on their friend. They confront him to try to apprehend the real reasons for Baze’s sleeping with Cate’s sister.

Baze explains that he is really concerned about his daughter, Lux. You see, Lux walked in on Baze and Abby the morning after they’d spent their first night together. He wants to show Lux that it was actually more than just a “one night stand.”

Poodle Bitch knows only a very little about humans; mostly what she has read in the works of Mary Robinson and Samuel Johnson, but she can tell you that this sounds exactly like the type of thing that a human would say. Humans are very good at rationalizing their decisions. She understands that they must derive some comfort from that, and to a certain extent, she envies them.

Mary Robinson, the great author and dog companion, might have been at home writing for "Life Unexpected."

Abby claims that Cate is upset because she is jealous. She, Cate, really wants Baze. But Cate explains that her problem is with Abby, not Baze. Abby insinuates herself into Cate’s life “in the most insane ways.” Just as Abby “insinuated” herself into the maid of honor role, so has she “insinuated” herself into the bed of the father of her child.

That child, by the way, is having problems of her own. In a fit of jealousy, she confronts Jones after seeing him kiss another girl. Why is he “moving on,” when earlier that very day he claimed that he would have a hard time “moving on” from her?

Why does she want to be with Bug, but when she sees Jones with another girl, she becomes jealous? She can’t have it both ways, he tells her. She replies, incoherently, that she isn’t trying to have it both ways. But of course she is, which is another all-too-human characteristic.

Poodle Bitch lives her life in a way that is unequivocal, and uncompromising. That is an all-too-canine characteristic. But she will admit that she envies that humans can be so straight-faced in their schizophrenia.

Lux calls Ryan, and asks him to retrieve her from Jones’s party. Ryan does so, but with the rain coming down in hammers and nails they are unable to make it back home, so they must stop at the radio station where, apparently, they don’t have generators, as the power is out there, as it is back at Baze’s. Poodle Bitch knows little about radio, but she wonders why a radio station would lose power but that is a small quibble, as Ryan brings Lux into the radio booth, where the two seek to get to the root of Lux’s problems with Jones and Bug.

Lux and Bug have been together, “off and on,” for about two years. That is a lifetime for human teenagers. We are treated to a couple of flashbacks to Lux’s difficult life as a foster child. She has terrible abandonment issues. Poodle Bitch cannot imagine what it would be like to spend the first 15 years of your life moving from one temporary living situation after another.

But back to Cate and Baze, et al: Baze, having been convinced that he should stop seeing Abby, attempts to break up with her. She, being a therapist, is adept and parrying all of his reasons – he is just afraid of going after what he wants, because he’s afraid he’ll lose it.

No, Baze says, finally. I can’t see you anymore because I actually have feelings for Cate. “I had no idea,” Abby says. “Neither did I,” says Cate, who has been listening at the door.

It is unclear if Baze was being truthful, or if he was merely trying to get Abby to break up with her. But he’s stuck with his story, and he has to play it out.

“It’s going to be so weird now when we’re together,” Cate says. “Weird for Lux, weird for Ryan…”

Abby screams at Cate: “You bitch about us being together, and you bitch about us not being together,” she declares, using Poodle Bitch’s name inappropriately. “This isn’t Burger King, you don’t get to have everything your way!”

In this way, Lux’s and Cate’s stories mirror one another. They are truly mother and daughter, and this is a story worthy of the great Mary Robinson. This is the way human beings act, and interact. They are messy, selfish, sincere, selfless, pitiable, enviable, confusing, engaging, striving, contradictory. Human beings do not, and can not, react in predictable or even completely coherent ways. That is something that Poodle Bitch admires about this show.

If Cate didn’t have feelings for Baze, Abby explains to Cate, then it wouldn’t matter that Baze has feelings for her.

Having watched the program for the last six weeks, Poodle Bitch cannot understand why anyone would be conflicted about the choice between Ryan and Baze. Ryan is clearly and logically the better man. He is sincere, earnest, trustworthy, kind, loyal, and the actor who portrays him, Kerr Smith, has absolutely dreamy, bedroom eyes. Baze is an irresponsible schlub. But he is also good-looking, in a disheveled sort of way, and he is endearing in his infrequent attempts at self-improvement, spurred on by the appearance of his daughter. He’s helped by the fact that he is portrayed by Kristoffer Polaha, who is no Kerr Smith, but is not without charm.

Yet Baze displays his venality when Cate confronts him later. I lied to get Abby to break up with me, he explains. He doesn’t have any feelings for Cate. The actress who portrays Cate, Shiri Appleby, manages to convey apprehension, hurt, anger, and disgust with a single glance. Ms. Appleby has been gifted with a pair of eyes that are unusually large, bright, and expressive, and she uses them to great effect; there are times when the writing is uneven, but Ms. Appleby’s eyes can cover almost any weaknesses in the writing, as infrequent as those are.

When Cate asks Baze, “You want to know what I think of you?” and then answers her question with “Not much,” it’s the look that gives the line its power.

Back at the radio station, Ryan is able to help Lux understand the extent to which she hurt Jones’s feelings by rejecting him. It’s not unlike when Lux was an orphan, and she was rejected by a certain foster family. Rejection hurts, no matter the size of the rejection, or the circumstances. Lux needs to be more empathic – a quality that might have hurt her during her life as a foster child.

Even Baze grows up a little bit, telling Abby that he lied about having feelings for Cate. He lets her down nicely. But Abby thinks Baze is lying about lying. “The fact that that was your go-to lie – there’s probably more to it than you think.”

For her part, Cate admits that she is a little jealous of Baze and Abby, and she is afraid of what that means. Later, in talking with Abby, Cate comes to realize that much of the strain on the sisters’ relationship was caused by her resentment over the fact that during her pregnancy, she felt like no one was there for her – not even her younger sister. Abby has felt shut out of Cate’s life since the time when she was pregnant with Lux, and maybe that’s why she started dating Baze; it was a way to “insinuate” herself back into Cate’s life, in a meaningful way.

This leads to a tearful hug between the sisters. It also leads to Poodle Bitch fighting back tears. Cate and Ryan decide not to elope, but they are going to get married in two weeks, which, Poodle Bitch notes, is the season finale.

Poodle Bitch sincerely hopes that Cate doesn’t mess things up before then. Poodle Bitch also must admit that she kind of hopes that Cate does “mess things up.” That’s what humans do.

Mary Robinson photo source.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Uma Thurman Film Makes £88 on Opening Weekend-- How Should a Producer Spin That?

When the producer of your film says this to the press, you know you're in trouble:
"Think how much crap succeeds at the cinema. Motherhood is not bad. It's a very decent movie. I've seen movies that are not half as good."
I've seen movies that are not half as good. This is the producer of the film Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman, talking to the press.

That is one of the funniest things I've ever read in my life. It is so funny that I'm afraid I'm going to have paste it again:
"Think how much crap succeeds at the cinema. Motherhood is not bad. It's a very decent movie. I've seen movies that are not half as good."
The Guardian has the full story of the disastrous opening weekend for the movie that I admit I'd never heard of before this. It reads a bit like an onion article.
Over its opening weekend, no more than a dozen people went to see Motherhood, a semi-autobiographical account of stressed-out Manhattan parenting written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann. The film made just £88 on the weekend of Friday 5 March. On its debut Sunday, box office takings were £9, meaning one person bought a ticket.

The disaster has now degenerated into a bitter confrontation between Metrodrome, responsible for marketing the film in the UK, and producer Jana Edelbaum, who blames the company for Motherhood's atrocious performance.
It was Ms. Edelbaum who remarked to the author of the article that there are far worse films out there than hers. And she may very well be right, I don't know.

But take a look at that log line. "A semi-autobiographical account of stressed-out Manhattan parenting written and directed by someone you've probably never heard of."

How did they get nearly a dozen people to actually go to the movie?

Uma Thurman is a talented actress, and she's been in some good movies. She's also been in some bad ones. Her track record probably isn't good enough to "open" a movie on her own.

So, Uma Thurman's good sometimes, but what's the movie about?

Well, it's a semi-autobiographical account of stressed-out Manhattan parenting written and directed by someone you've probably never heard of.

Hmmm. What do we care about stressed-out Manhattan parenting? I'm going to go check out the 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland

Even people in America didn't want to see it:
The film, thought to have cost $5m to make, earned just over £40,000 when it opened in the US last October, but Edelbaum had no idea quite how badly it had performed in the UK until contacted this week by the Guardian. "You're kidding?" she said. "We must have broken a new record for grosses."
As I've already said, I never heard of it. I'm kind of surprised it made £40,000, which is almost $80,000, I think. Not sure about the exchange rate right now (or was that back in October?).

But I don't buy that Ms. Edelbaum didn't know quite how poorly the movie had done. She knew. For a number like that, she probably knew it down to the penny. Producers know that kind of stuff.

As for the director, Ms. Dieckmann, I didn't know her name, but according to wikipedia she actually has a fairly distinguished resume. She has directed music videos by R.E.M. and Kristin Hersh, and episodes of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, a terrific show that was on Nickelodeon about 80 years ago. And a couple of other movies that might be good.

So, yeah, maybe the producer was right. Maybe the movie isn't as bad as most of the "crap" that succeeds at the cinema.

Uma Thurman carrying the weight of the world on her back in the financial failure "Motherhood." As the film's producer says, it's better than most crap that makes money.

Pic source.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What is the Job of a Film Critic?

Longish piece up today at When Falls the Coliseum, about film critics. Full piece is here.

A bit:
First of all, check this out: Movie ticket prices are going up.

Many movie theaters across the country plan to raise ticket prices this weekend, particularly for premium-priced 3D tickets, The Wall Street Journal reported today (Thursday). It noted that 3D IMAX tickets in Boston for How to Train Your Dragon will rise to $14.50 versus $11.50, the price charged last weekend in the same theaters for Alice in Wonderland. Ticket prices for the 2D version of the movie will rise 3 to 4 percent.

Wow. That is a big jump. Three bucks for 3-D tickets. I’m not much of a mathematician, but that is at least, um, a 20% increase. This is coming at a time when movie studios are increasing their 3-D movie output. Warner Bros, for instance, is releasing all of its “tentpole” releases in 3-D.

Warner Bros will be releasing five movies in 3D in 2010 and nine movies in 2011. Alan Horn announced at ShoWest that all the studios tentpole movies, superhero films, and big special effects releases, will be distributed in 3D. He called it the new standard for the company. And yes, he was clear that this includes all of the future DC Comic Books films. That means that the new Superman and third Batman will be released in 3D.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Poem for Michelle "Bombshell" McGee and Jesse James


Bombshell McGee, stank queen of San D
Her flesh a marquee of ridiculous degree.
So many tats to see— can we assume Jesse
Just didn’t know about the swastikas?

Troubling Michelle, a vision from hell
Traced upon her shell pictographic alarm bells
Of a sleazy Raphael with a story to tell
Of white power and of swastikas.

Angry white girl,” heavily inked twirl,
Begging for a whirl and so crazy you’d hurl.
She seemed such a pearl, but then had to unfurl
An armband covered in swastikas.

Oh Jesse James; just looking for fame.
Now you can lay claim to a deep sense of shame.
Unwilling to tame your own passion’s flame—
Next time check your partners for swastikas.

Pic source.

Is Tiger Woods a Criminal?

That is the provocative question asked in my latest post at When Falls the Coliseum-- it's all about Tiger Woods's latest alleged mistress, pornographic film actress Devon James.

Opening bit:
Former presidential candidate and great American hero John Edwards based at least one of his campaigns on the unfairness of the “two Americas“– that there was “one America” for rich people like him, who could basically do whatever they wanted and get away with it, because they were rich; and another “America” for poor people who had to take it when rich people like John Edwards screwed them over. Mr. Edwards had a vision to combine these “two Americas” into one America, where everyone would screwed over equally by John Edwards.

So far and unfortunately, Mr. Edwards’s vision has gone unfulfilled. And one need look no further for evidence than the Tiger Woods incident(s).
Rest here.

I had to start out with John Edwards, because I just had such a hard time working up the indignation, however feigned, that was required to write this particular post. But trust me, it's about Tiger Woods.

And pornographic film star Devon James, of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Please Meet Jessica Simpson. Please Fall in Love With Each Other. Please Comfort Each Other. Tenderly. Romantically.

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce Jennifer Love Hewitt to Jessica Simpson. Perhaps the two of them could enjoy a romantically fulfilling physical relationship together. They could make a sex tape. Would you watch that sex tape? I'm not too proud to say that I wouldn't avoid watching it.

Why am I so concerned about introducing these two (full disclosure: I once saw Ms. Hewitt in a Cost Plus Worldmarket or something like that in Glendale California a few years ago, and she actually spoke to me, so I naturally feel I have a vested interest in her well-being)? Well, I have just read an interview that Ms. Hewitt did for USA Today in which she discusses her new book, the title of which implies that she is a "Love-aholic."
You watched her grow up on Party of Five and run for her life in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Now Jennifer Love Hewitt stars in The Ghost Whisperer on CBS as Melinda Gordon, a woman who communicates with ghosts. She also has written a book, The Day I Shot Cupid: Hello, My Name Is Jennifer Love Hewitt and I'm a Love-aholic (Voice, $23.99, on sale today). Hewitt, 31, spoke with USA TODAY about her book, about dating — she has been linked to John Mayer, Carson Daly and Antonio Sabato Jr. — and about her recent breakup with Ghost Whisperer co-star Jamie Kennedy.
Ms. Hewitt has been linked to John Mayer. You know who else has been linked to John Mayer?

Jessica Simpson.

John Mayer stated that Ms. Simpson was "sexual napalm." I did a quick google search and could find no proof that he had made the same statement about Ms. Hewitt, but that's okay. My point is, these two have a connection.

But there's more than the fact that they've both been romantically linked to the same irredeemable jackass. As Ms. Hewitt says:
I'm a hopeless romantic. I love love. My middle name is Love. Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. I want to have a family and children. I am a sucker for every romantic comedy that comes out.
Know who else is a hopeless romantic? That's right; Jessica Simpson. Back in 2008 she stated as much in an interview in Elle magazine:
“I’m a girl that loves to be in love,” she says. “I love love!” she adds, delighted with herself for such a crisp formulation.
Jessica Simpson loves being in love. She also "loves love." As in "Love."

As in, Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Ms. Simpson has been romantically linked to several men-- former husband Nick Lachey, Bam Margera, Mr. Mayer, American-style football player Tony Romo, Billy Corgan, and probably a bunch of others I don't know about. I haven't been keeping up with her as much as I probably should.

Anyway, Ms. Hewitt and Ms. Simpson-- the answer to your ongoing "love" problems is right under your noses. No, I'm not just talking about your mouths, that would be crass. I am talking about your mouths a little bit, but that is not my primary concern.

My primary concern is getting you two lovebirds together. So you can love each other tenderly. So that you can caress each other's bodies, and apply to each other's lips passionate kisses that will make the memories of bad, nasty, dirty men like John Mayer just melt away.

As Ms. Hewitt states in the USA Today interview:
I know there is somebody great out there for me.
There is somebody great out there for you, Ms. Hewitt. Her name is Jessica Simpson. Please allow me to introduce you.

Seriously, please let me introduce you. I am begging you to let me help you in this way. I will even make a trail of rose petals from the door to the bed. I will light candles. I will try not to make my presence known as I watch. Unless of course you're both a little shy and need a little encouragement. Maybe at first you'd like a man there with you, to sort of help you get started.

Anyway, I'm available.

Jessica Simpson, please meet...

...Jennifer Love Hewitt. I am sure you'll both be happy together.

Jessica Simpson pic source.
Jennifer Love Hewitt pic source.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amazing Randi Comes "Out"-- Why Didn't Sylvia Browne Predict This?

One of my favorite human beings of all time, the great skeptical hero James "The Amazing" Randi, has come out of the closet, as they say:
Well, here goes. I really resent the term, but I use it because it’s recognized and accepted.

I’m gay.

From some seventy years of personal experience, I can tell you that there’s not much “gay” about being homosexual. For the first twenty years of my life, I had to live in the shadows, in a culture that was — at least outwardly — totally hostile to any hint of that variation of life-style. At no time did I choose to adopt any protective coloration, though; my cultivation of an abundant beard was not at all a deception, but part of my costume as a conjuror.

Gradually, the general attitude that I’d perceived around me began to change, and presently I find that there has emerged a distinctly healthy acceptance of different social styles of living — except, of course, in cultures that live in constant and abject fear of divine retribution for infractions found in the various Holy Books… In another two decades, I’m confident that young people will find themselves in a vastly improved atmosphere of acceptance.
The statement is as heartfelt and erudite as you would expect from a man who has dedicated his life to exposing the fraudulent motherf*ckers who prey on people who are grieving from the loss of loved ones. The psychic pscumbags like John Edward and Sylvia Browne.

Why didn't his "psychic" foils predict this? I mean, Sylvia Browne can supposedly speak to the dead. She couldn't tell that The Amazing Randi was gay?

The link to the jref statement made it onto wesmirch, which might the first time a skeptic has made his way onto the same page as-- well, Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Avril Lavigne (really? she's still around?) and a bunch of other people who really don't matter. So I guess congratulations to him.

Here's one of The Amazing Randi's greatest hits, helping Johnny Carson expose psychic scumbag Uri Geller on "The Tonight Show":

Here he is smacking down "astrology":

Here he exposes television "evangelist" and "faith healer" Peter Popoff:

And Randi on psychic pscumbag Sylvia Browne:

James "The Amazing" Randi is a real hero, and he happens to be gay. Although he doesn't like the term "gay." He can call himself whatever he wants. He's one of the best people on the planet.

Pic source.

Future Headline: Woman Sentenced to 6 Months for Not Using Condom

I went with something kinda of alarming (or do I mean alarmist?) regarding the Obamacare bill that just passed the house-- over at When Falls the Coliseum. A piece called, well, you can figure it out from the title of this post. First two paragraphs:
Michelle Hottentot, 26, of Sherman Heights, has been sentenced to six months in jail for violating the state’s Health Care Freedom and Insurance Act. Ms. Hottentot was convicted of having unprotected sex with an unidentified man with whom she was not in a committed monogamous relationship.

Prosecutors had argued that Ms. Hottentot’s promiscuous behavior was in violation of the state’s health care laws, which require that all citizens not “knowingly engage in any behavior that might be considered ‘risky’ to any reasonable person or entity.” Cities around the state have been prosecuting people for any number of activities, including riding skateboards and inhaling helium to make their voices squeaky.
All of it here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poodle Bitch Still Does Not Know "The Price of Beauty," and She Wonders Why Jessica Simpson was the One They Asked

Poodle Bitch has made no secret of her contempt for Jessica Simpson. The woman is vacuous and pathetic, eliciting both sympathy and irritation. Ms. Simpson seems to have only two redeeming qualities—the breasts that her father has boasted “can’t be hidden.” She continues to push herself upon a public that can only bear so much of her, laughing until the tragedy becomes almost too much to bear, and then forgetting her again.

At some point, Poodle Bitch wishes that Ms. Simpson would get on with her life, if not out of the public spotlight, at the very least in such a way as to better herself. Despite her fame, she has met with stunning failure as a singer, actress, and variety show host. She seems to have terrible taste in human men. Something must be done; she must help herself. No one else will.

Perhaps traveling the world, learning about other cultures, could help her.

Poodle Bitch will admit that she was at first intrigued when she heard about Ms. Simpson’s new show, “The Prince of Beauty.” A television program dissecting the cultural differences about ideals of beauty, even physical beauty, could make for penetrating television. Having Ms. Simpson along as host added another layer. This, after all, is a woman who has built much of her career on the sturdy edifice provided by those breasts that her own father loves so much. Moreover, she has been accused of being everything from “too fat” to “too skinny.” There is much there to play with.

Alas, Poodle Bitch is disappointed to report that “The Prince of Beauty” neatly sidesteps any of its unique possibilities. It is difficult to say this after merely one episode, but Poodle Bitch believes that it might actually be the worst television show that the odious VH1 has ever offered.

And Ms. Simpson might be the least appealing “star” VH1 has ever built a television program around.

Ms. Simpson begins the first episode with a doe-eyed lament that “there is a lot of pressure to feel beautiful.” Poodle Bitch wonders if perhaps the pressure that Ms. Simpson is feeling has more to do with looking, than feeling beautiful. Poodle Bitch is not a human, but she has a hard time understanding why anyone would care whether Ms. Simpson feels beautiful.

Is not the issue that she must look beautiful?

Yes, for Ms. Simpson flatly states that “People put so much pressure on women to be beautiful.” This is spoken as part of a voice over, while images of Ms. Simpson in short, tight dresses on red carpets are displayed. Poodle Bitch cannot help but wonder if perhaps Ms. Simpson is actually part of the problem, if indeed this is a problem?

Poodle Bitch wonders if Ms. Simpson is one of those “people” who put so much pressure on women to be beautiful.

“I’m going to travel the world to see what makes a woman in different cultures feel beautiful,” Ms. Simpson insists. Poodle Bitch believes that Ms. Simpson does in fact require some kind of education in that regard. However, she believes that Ms. Simpson should take her educational medicine without a camera for which to perform. Ms. Simpson does not represent America. She does not represent American culture. Poodle Bitch believes that Ms. Simpson represents nothing more than a spoiled, privileged, sad young woman trying desperately to prove her relevance to an indifferent world.

Poodle Bitch wonders if Ms. Simpson would undertake such a journey of discovery if last country album had done better?

Not helping are the two “friends” that Ms. Simpson brings along with her. One of them is a fellow named Ken, who does Ms. Simpson’s hair and makeup. In other words, this man is an employee of Ms. Simpson; yet he is described by her as “one of my best friends in the world.”

Poodle Bitch is a dog, so she is unclear on this point: Do humans typically pay their friends to hang out with them?

The other friend, CaCee, “just makes everybody laugh.” That is all we are told of her, although she is shown helping Ms. Simpson pick out clothing with Ken. Poodle Bitch cannot help but infer that the sad, truly friendless Ms. Simpson is paying CaCee to hang out with her, too. As her personal shopper, or stylist, or something equally tragic.

How is Poodle Bitch to enjoy a program when she feels sad for the protagonist? Sadness that gives way to irritation, such as when Ms. Simpson states “The reason I’m going on the journey of beauty in all of these different countries is because I want to find it for myself.” Poodle Bitch wonders what, exactly, “it” is supposed to be in that illiterate sentence? “Beauty”? Poodle Bitch wonders about a human who needs help finding an abstract idea.

Poodle Bitch also wonders why she should care whether a woman who has built her career on having enormous breasts, and shapely legs, but very little in the way of intelligence, ever finds “beauty.”

The first stop for these three sophisticates is Bangkok Thailand. The three are shown being driven in a large automobile, pointing at various landmarks and making inane observations. Poodle Bitch is already considering urinating on her television set.

“It’s a whole—nuther world,” CaCee says. This is the woman who, according to Ms. Simpson, “makes everybody laugh.”

Apparently, she doesn’t make everybody think.

The three are of course “exhausted” from their flight, so they get a Thai massage. Ms. Simpson hopes she doesn’t pass gas, then gasps and cries, “ow!” as her body is contorted by the massage. Has she learned anything about beauty yet?

Thailand’s “beauty ambassador” is a model and actress named Sonia Couling, who hosts Thailand’s version of “America’s Next Top Model.”

Poodle Bitch knows when she is being played for a sucker, and she has now reached her breaking point. The television has gone off. Nothing about this program is serious; it is merely a television vehicle for Ms. Simpson, an excuse for her to take her “friends” with her on a trip around the world, while, for a change, someone else pays them to associate with her.

Poodle Bitch has better things to do with her time.

Pity poor Jessica Simpson. She tried to capitalize on her physical assets, her career faltered, and now she is suddenly concerned about what other cultures consider beautiful.

Photo source.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Does Anderson Cooper Look Like an Angry Max Headroom?

Yahoo's main page has a picture of a very sour, angry looking Anderson Cooper (an "anchor" for a news-themed cable network called "CNN"):

Apparently, the guy who appears on a very low-rated cable news program didn't do very well on the celebrity version of "Jeopardy!", according to Yahoo's article:
With a final score that totaled $0, Cooper missed questions about world leaders, geography, and literature (among other topics). By the time "Final Jeopardy" came around, he was so stumped by a question about the author of "The Wizard of Oz" that his screen displayed simply the word "Who."
Anyone who's ever watched "Celebrity Jeopardy!" knows that the celebrity version is even easier than the Teen Tournament. Ending the game with no money at all is a unique embarrassment.

That aside, the picture Yahoo had on their main page, with the odd "Jeopardy!" set in the background and Mr. Cooper's sour yet robot-like expression and elegantly-sculpted hair made him look somewhat like 1980s cult hero Max Headroom:

Only, you know, far less animated and pleasant.

Max Headroom pic source.

Hollywood's Comic Book Casting Crisis: Not Enough Actors to go Around

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the "coveted" role of "Captain America" has been offered to an actor called Chris Evans.
Chris Evans is one step closer to the role of Captain America.

Sources tell us the actor, who once donned superhero garb in two "Fantastic Four" movies, has been offered the role of Captain America.

Marvel has not confirmed the development and CAA, which reps the actor, declined to comment.

Evans' offer would include starring in up to three "America" movies plus "The Avengers" movies and appearances in several other Marvel movies. While an offer to star in "America" may seem like something you don't have to mull over too long, one possible complication is that Evans is committed to co-starring in the Anna Faris romantic comedy "What's Your Number?" Both are scheduled to shoot this summer.

The role of Captain America and his alter ego Steve Rogers has been one of the most heavily scrutinized parts by the industry, the media and the comic book fandom in recent memory.
I emphasized the portion relevant to my point. This is the guy who played THE HUMAN FREAKING TORCH in those two miserable "Fantastic Four" films. The Fantastic Four are four of the most important characters in all of comics. The first issue of their series basically jump-started Marvel comics, for crying out loud.

Now he's been offered the role of Captain America?

Are there that few actors in Hollywood? They can't find someone who hasn't already starred as an iconic comic book character in another franchise (granted, that franchise was as I've already stated miserable, but still).

Chris Evans is benefitting from a dangerously low number of actors available for comic book-related roles. Studies have shown that for every comic book  movie role, there are only 0.2 actors available. Won't you do your part to help ensure that these roles are filled? Please consider donating to my blog, by purchasing the novel Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist-- link to the right of this post?

I knocked around Hollywood for quite awhile. I met many a struggling actor. You can throw a rock on Santa Monica Blvd at noon on a Tuesday and hit one (and you probably should, too). Why can't they get some completely fresh face for this role? They really need to get a "name"?

He's Captain America. For crying out loud. He can open a movie on his own.

But there's more. In addition to his "FF" work, Mr. Evans is starring in some other comic book-based films:
Evans, also repped by 3 Arts Entertainment, has the DC Comics adaptation “The Losers” in the can and also appears in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the popular Oni Press graphic novel series.
Not only is he appearing in two other comic book adaptations (set to appear this year, no less), he's starring in films based on properties from other publishers besides Marvel.

I mean it. There is a crisis in Hollywood. There just aren't enough actors for all these comic book adaptations. This is serious, and think about this. How many comic book fans want to see the guy who played The Human Torch in the rotten FF movies take a stab at another, even bigger character?

If and when there is a Captain America film, and if and when I actually see it, I know exactly what I'll be thinking: Why the hell is Johnny Storm wearing Steve Rogers's uniform? This is insane, the Human Torch ain't Captain America.

I've already covered this ground in my post on Ryan Reynolds, who has appeared or is to appear in at least three comic book adaptations himself:
Ryan Reynolds appeared in "Blade Trinity," which was based on the Marvel Comics character "Blade," and this summer he appeared as "Deadpool" in the Marvel Comics-based "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Then came word that the Deadpool character would be spun off into his own franchise. Now, it has just been announced that Reynolds has landed the coveted role of "Green Lantern" in the film adaptation of DC Comics' "Green Lantern," which is tentatively titled "Green Lantern."

But my sources tell me that Reynolds' deals to appear in these superhero franchise films extend farther than that.

I can report- exclusively- that Ryan Reynolds has been cast in every upcoming superhero film!

How quaint! Mr. Evans will have Mr. Reynolds beat, if he takes the Captain America role. That would be four different comic book roles. Megan Fox is also (apparently, allegedly) making a lot of comic book-based films.

This is a real crisis, almost as bad as the Infinite Crisis, which was very, very bad. Comic book movies are truly the only "sure things" in Hollywood. With the economy in the toilet, it is more important than ever that Hollywood do well. The industry NEEDS comic book films. But with so few actors available for these plum roles, there is a serious danger that some of these films might not get made.

And that would be a real tragedy.

Please consider doing all you can to ensure that there are enough actors for these coveted roles.

Chris Evans pic source.

While You Were Sleeping with a (Possible) White Supremacist

Sandra Bullock is an attractive, talented woman that any man in his right mind would be terribly happy to have as a wife. And yet, her husband, a fellow with the unfortunate name "Jesse James," apparently cheated on her.

I'm shocked!

Actually, I am feigning shock. I am not shocked at all. This Jesse James fellow is rich and famous, and was so before he married Ms. Bullock. Wikipedia tells us that he has hosted at least two different television shows, Monster Garage, and the unfortunately-named Jesse James is a Dead Man (I admit I didn't really know who he was). And as everyone knows, men who are wealthy and have the opportunity tend to sleep with women. Even if they're already married. Even if they're married to a talented, attractive, Academy Award-winning movie actress. I have already written about it here, in the context of Tiger Woods's current issues. The great show "South Park" just did an episode about it this week (you can watch said episode here-- it's pretty funny).

(Aside: Did they rip me off? I bet they read my blog!)*

It's not that the talented and attractive Ms. Bullock wasn't talented and attractive enough for Mr. James, it's just that she wasn't... tattooed and fetishist enough.

Anyway, wealthy famous man cheats on his wife. That is the least surprising thing I've ever heard, and it's not even worth writing or thinking about. But. This story has an interesting wrinkle, as we're just finding out.

The woman with whom Mr. James had his ("alleged"?) affair is, possibly and allegedly, a white supremacist. Her name is Michelle McGee, although she apparently calls herself "Bombshell." She is a fetish model. According to People magazine:
America's sweetheart, she ain't. Michelle McGee is covered in tattoos – one on her forehead reads, "Pray for Us Sinners" – works as a stripper, chats and poses on an adult Web site, and uses a lewd phrase for her Twitter page. Her nickname is "Bombshell."

A San Diego-based tattoo model, McGee claimed to have had a months-long affair with Jesse James, the husband of recent Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock.
Other online photos of McGee show her in various semi-nude poses. In one, she's eating candy hearts from a pink dog bowl; one on the home page of her Web site shows her standing in heels and underwear in a coffin. Another photo shows her getting one of her buttocks tattooed.
But some say there's another side to her. On her Twitter page, which has an unprintable moniker, in between posts about stripping at the Platinum club in San Diego, are reference s to her children. People have said she spoke of two sons who she doted on.

"She was very down-to-earth, very friendly ... very easy to talk to and very likable," says Rich Peterson, owner of Konformity Clothing, for which McGee modeled in exchange for clothes, including some in child sizes, apparently for her kids.

Danielle Medrano, founder of SoCalGlamourGirls.com, says McGee mentioned after a photo session last summer that she was dating James.

"She definitely told me they had good chemistry and they got along really well and he was super duper sweet," says Medrano. But what McGee most talked about were her own children.
As is suggested by People magazine's article, fetish models occasionally pose for some shall we say interesting pictures. Eating from dog bowls, standing in coffins, that kind of thing. Some people are into that, and they're willing to pay money to see a heavily-tattooed woman engaging in it. To each his own, I guess.

Michelle "Bombshell" McGee, in a contemplative mood.

But according to TMZ, which has the pictures, Ms. McGee also posed for some Nazi ("fetish"?) pictures:
The woman who reportedly had an affair with Sandra Bullock's husband, Jesse James, has another bombshell to drop -- a full scale Nazi photo shoot.

TMZ has obtained the shocking photos of Michelle McGee, which were taken almost a year ago. We're told the Nazi-themed layout -- complete with a swastika armband and backdrop -- was the photographer's idea, but that Michelle was very enthusiastic.
You can visit TMZ to check out the pictures. They are worrying, to say the least.

But, again, she is a fetish model. She doesn't necessarily have to endorse the philosophy behind the particular fetish, she just has to pose, get her money, and move on with her life.

The TMZ article mentions that her ex-husband alleges that Ms. McGee might actually be a white supremacist. Radar online has more about that.
Modica also charges about his ex wife: “There are coffins in the living room and child block magnets on the refrigerator that spell out White Power…her other son Elijah is Jewish and she thinks it’s funny that she makes the Nazi salute.”

Michelle claims in court papers that Modica has been violent with her and obtained a temporary restraining order on Feb. 22, 2008, as this court battle has raged for years.

According to Modica, Michelle is bipolar and “has also been dating gang members, one of whom showed up at my doorstep in I suppose a way to intimidate me.”

He goes on to say in his declaration: “I believe that Michelle is mentally ill and should be in the care of a therapist which the court ordered her to see, but she refuses to do so. She is supposed to take medication for bi polar disorder but she doesn’t.”
Ms. McGee also has the letter "W" on her left leg, and "P" on her right-- it's alleged that these letters stand for "white power." Of course, they could stand for anything. She could just be a really big fan of "The Thin Man" star William Powell, for instance.

Or probably not.

Anything in the ex-husband's court papers should be taken with a grain of salt; after all, they are in a custody battle, she got a restraining order against him, and it's obvious that this is an acrimonious fight that they're having.

But it doesn't look good for Ms. McGee. I suppose if some fetish pictures of her posing with a Jewish person, or a person of color, suddenly appear, we'll know for sure that the whole "Nazi photoshoot" thing was just another job. Until then... yikes.

But this brings up a larger question, and I direct it to the men out there. Would you turn down the chance to sleep with a woman you find physically attractive, if you disagreed with her personal beliefs? I mean, you are really, really attracted to this woman. Physically, she is super hot. But you find her "philosophy of life" to be abhorrent.

And where do you draw the line? After all, a lot of truly horrible things have been done in the name of religion. Would you therefore refuse to sleep with a woman because of the crusades? If you're a hardcore democrat, and you think that republican ideas are turning this country into a cesspool of environmental filth and hopeless societal decay, do you say no to that republican hottie?

I've always said that, because I'm such a crackpot, that I don't hold anyone's politics or religion against them when deciding whether or not to date them. I've slept with democrats, republicans, socialists, communists, christians, jews. I actually haven't slept with any muslims, that I know of-- because I haven't met that many of them. I'm an anti-authoritarian atheist, and there apparently aren't enough of those to go around.

But I've done pretty well for myself, let me tell you.

Ahem, anyway I guess a lot of it might have to do with the circumstances under which you discovered this information. Do both of you have your pants off, and she all of a sudden comes out with "Oh, by the way.."? Or do you learn this during the furious text-message courtship that seems to be a part of these scenarios? Or do you learn this from checking out her fetish pictures online?

The question is made cloudier by the fact that Mr. James is a rich celebrity and could presumably have his pick of women. He's not some nameless jerk like me. I mean, somebody like me has far fewer prospects, and has that biological imperative to spread his seed as much as he can. He can't be too choosy. Mr. James could afford to "shop around."

He knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted Ms. McGee. He didn't have to settle. And really, when you look at Ms. McGee, and look at Ms. Bullock-- could those two women be any different? He was tired of stable and attractive. He wanted to "walk on the wild side." With, um, a nazi tattoo fetish model who might be a white supremacist.

*I bet they don't, actually.

Michelle Bombshell McGee pic source.
Sandra Bullock pic source.

Figuring Out Country Music

I have a new piece up at When Falls the Coliseum, about modern country music, and my own attempt to write a country song. Sample:
There is a type of music that holds much appeal to the rural working person, also known as the people of the soil. It is called “country” music, exemplified by the likes of such classic performers as those who appeared on the television program “Hee Haw,” and of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. To be honest, this type of music is not my forte; my tastes tend toward whatever is being played in Starbucks, although I did purchase the Taylor Swift CD after Ken Tucker gave it a positive review on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross.

The first time I popped that CD into the player, I was surprised at the reaction it received from my poodle bitch. She is a quite refined and at times aloof dog, yet she seemed enchanted by the melodies. She listens to it quite often now.

But my real “country music” education began this week, when I was forwarded an email containing a link to a charming “youtube” video featuring an otherwise adorable young child “rocking it out” to a song entitled “Boots On,” originally recorded by someone called Randy Houser.
All of it can be read here. It's a bit long-ish. And hilarious-ish.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There is a St. Patrick

I have a new piece up at When Falls the Coliseum, entitled "Yes Virginia, there is a St. Patrick." It is hilarious, I hope. Sample:
Dear When Falls the Coliseum,

I am 8 years old and a cute, innocent little girl. My friends told me that there is no such thing as St. Patrick, and that St. Patrick’s Day was just an excuse to let grownups get drunk. Are my friends right?



Dear Virginia,

As I sit here at my computer savoring my fourth Irish coffee of the morning (top o’ the morning to you!), I can’t help but to feel melancholic about your question. In a word, your friends who have been saying these things you asked about are spreading vicious lies to hurt your feelings and confuse you, or they are retarded, one or the other. Are your friends retarded, Virginia? It’s okay if they are, but you can do better. Maybe your parents are overprotective. I am SO SICK OF PAREnnts that treat there kids with kidgloves! Letm e tell you, my my parents didn’t’ tprotect me from ANYTHING< and I turned out to be a REALLY COOL GUY with a pretty bad headache rightnow and I’m pretty sure I feel another blackout comingexkmnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnn

It gets funny from there!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RE: Erin Andrews Peephole Stalker Gets 2 1/2 Years

The stalker of ESPN sideline "reporter" Erin Andrews (the guy who drilled a hole in the wall of her hotel room(s) and filmed her, among other things, combing her hair and ironing her clothes while nude) has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, and ordered to pay some restitution.
Michael David Barrett, 49, of Westmont, Illinois, received a 2 1/2-year term and was ordered to pay $7,366 in restitution to Andrews, who is also a contestant this season on Dancing With the Stars.
At first I thought, "2 1/2 years in prison seems like a lot (prison is very, very bad); after all, what he did was disgusting, but people have committed far more serious crimes have gotten by with far less."

But in the last paragraph of the People magazine story on the peephole freak's sentencing, we get this:
Prosecutors told the court that Barrett posted on the Internet another 32 videos that showed another 16 as-yet-unidentified victims.
Whaaaatttt? This guy was a serial peephole videographer, who posted videos of 16 other people? Holy crap send this guy away for life, why did People magazine take so long to get to that little bit of information?

Erin Andrews, probably not watching the peephole video online.

Pic source.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Woman Determined to Become Fattest in the World: Why Not?

Via wesmirch, a story from the Daily Mail about a woman from New Jersey who is determined to become the FATTEST. WOMAN. IN. THE. WORLD.
Donna Simpson already weighs 43st, but she is determined to nearly double her size to become the world's fattest woman.

The 42-year-old from New Jersey, U.S, is set on reaching the 1,000lb mark (71st) in just two years. Remarkably she insists she is healthy, despite now needing a mobility scooter when she goes shopping.
Because the Daily Mail is a London paper and website, the article is full of the oddball weight measurement "stone." I am not sure of how many "stones" make a "pound" (the American unit of weight measurement, not the British currency), and I am too lazy to look it up, but we can guess at the conversions based on the article's assertion that Ms. Simpson wants to hit 1,000 pounds, which it claims is 71 stone.

That means that it's 71 into 1,000, which is about, um, 60? So that means that one stone is about 60 pounds? Or is it the other way around, and 60 pounds is one stone? Or is 60 stones one pound? That one can't be right.

Did I do that right? I am not a mathematician.

The point is, this woman's goal is to become the world's fattest woman. My first reaction is to shrug. Everybody should have a goal, and lots of people have goals that I think are ridiculous. Politicians, for example. No reason why anyone should want to be a politician; I will definitely take Ms. Simpson over a politician any day.

My second reaction is, Somebody has to be world's fattest woman. So why not Ms. Simpson?

As you can tell from the two paragraphs I cut and pasted from the article, the author is oozing with contempt for Ms. Simpson's goal. A number of the comments on the story are downright vituperative in their condemnation of the woman.

So who is egging her on in this endeavor? Well, for one thing, it's a British-based "records" book, The Guinness Book of World Records:
Ms Simpson already holds the Guinness World Record as the world's fattest mother, when she gave birth in 2007 weighing 38stone.
I don't know if Guinness has a category for "World's Fattest Woman" (which would be sexist), but they do have a category for "world's fattest mother" (also sexist). So maybe there is some kind of record.

And why shouldn't Ms. Simpson go for it? Unless her family is opposed?
You might expect her long-term partner Philippe, 49, to advise her to slim down, but instead he encourages her to eat more.

He met Donna on a dating site for plus-size people and is a self-confessed fat admirer, although he himself only weighs 150lbs.

'I think he'd like it if I was bigger,' said Donna.

'He's a real belly man, and completely supports me.'
First of all, why does the article, which has been using "stone" to measure weight up until this point, suddenly revert to "pounds" to describe the much thinner partner Phillippe? Unless the British don't have a way of expressing "150 lb" as "stone"? (By my calculations it would be just under three stone, by the way.)

Second, she found a man who likes her the way she is. Isn't that what everyone is looking for? As Billy Joel famously sang, "Don't go changin', to try and please me." Everyone tells their kids, and we see it all the time in movies and television, Find someone who will accept you for who you are. Well, this woman seems to have done it.

Good for her!

That said, I do find Ms. Simpson's quotes to be a bit schizophrenic. She says "I think he'd like it if I was bigger" (has she not talked about it with him?), and then says he "completely supports me." She thinks. Maybe.
To achieve her goal, Donna says she will need to eat up to 12,000 calories a day (the average woman should consume only 2,000.)
That "average woman should consume only 2,000" calories is booby-trapped. According to whom, exactly? And would you or anyone consider Ms. Simpson to be "average"?

Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, famously consumed 12,000 calories a day while training to achieve his goal. Why not this woman?

Oh, because her goal is completely insane? Because it's ludicrous to want to be FAT like that? Because she is damaging her health and needs help?

Again, says who? It's her body, right? Doesn't a woman have a right to do with her own body whatever she wants?

But how is she paying for all this?
To fund the massive $750 weekly food shop, she runs a website where men pay her to watch her eat fast food.
Oh, wow. People pay to watch her eat fast food. What an amazing world we live in, where an enormous woman can find people who are willing to pay to watch her eat! Where men who enjoy watching an enormous woman eat can do so!

Donna Simpson, enjoying some McDonald's fast food. Apparently, there are men who pay to watch her eat. I'm not sure if I would, but to each his own.

Sometimes I love the world, and this is one of those times. I mean it; there is something for everyone out there.

Ms. Simpson seems genuinely happy now that she is so large. Apparently, her mother fed her and her siblings lots of fattening food, but when her mother died her father remarried, to a woman who put her and her siblings on a diet:
'I used to steal food from the cupboards, which were still full because my mum used to store food,' she said.

But as she got older, Donna began to worry about her weight and started taking diet pills.
Between the ages 14 and 18 she slimmed down to 11 stone, but was still unhappy.

'Dieting just made me miserable because I was thinking about food all the time.,' she said.
She tried to conform to society's idea of what a woman should look like. It made her miserable. She accepted herself. She is happy now.

She is happy as an obese woman. Good for her.

I've already written a lot about overweight people, and the unfairness and scorn to which they are subjected because of things (biology, genetics) that are completely out of their control. I still don't understand why it is that we're motivated to judge as insane someone who is certainly swimming outside the mainstream, but isn't really hurting anyone else.

But, as some of the comments on the Daily Mail point out, Ms. Simpson has a daughter. She holds the Guinness record for being the world's fattest mother. So isn't her daughter suffering as a result? Define suffering. After all, she has a happy mother. Who wouldn't want to be raised by a happy mother?

Other than that, we have nothing about how she's being raised. Is she being fed fatty foods all the time? What is she was? Are you going to take her away? What about kids who are allowed to play video games or watch TV all day? Or surf the internet without every stepping outside? What about kids who are only given some fatty foods?

And if you don't like this woman's beliefs about food, what are you going to do about parents who raise their kids to be devout Christians? Vegans? Environmentalists? What about parents who drink even a little alcohol in front of their kids? Barack Obama smokes cigarettes; should his daughters be taken away from him? He's certainly setting a bad example.

Ms. Simpson isn't making the choice that I would make, and she isn't doing with her body what I do with it (that sounds dirtier than it really is), but it's not any of my business. That's why I wrote this blog posting about it. To prove how I don't think it's any of my business.

The pic came from the original article, which can be read here.

Attempting to Understand the Popularity of Food Network Personality Guy Fieri

Yesterday I smacktalked his new show, "Minute to Win it." Today, at When Falls the Coliseum, I go after Fieri himself. And of course I pull no punches.
Two of my favorite things in the world are fine food and game shows. There is nothing I enjoy more than curling up on the Victorian settee to watch the latest episodes of “Jeopardy!” and “The Price is Right” while eating foie gras-stuffed quail with asparagus and drinking port wine. The extreme pleasure of consuming great food combined with the excitement of a thrilling game show causes the cares of the world to just drift away.

Given my love of food and of game shows, the appearance of the NBC program, Minute to Win it, should be cause for celebration. After all, it is a game show, and it is hosted by a popular figure from the Food Network.

You might think that one such as I would enjoy the Food Network. You might think that, but do not say it out loud, because if I hear you, I will remove my gauntlet and slap you across the face.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Minute to Win It: Beating the Nut Stack with Guy Fieri

Why Guy Fieri? What is it about this guy that people respond to? He must be popular; he’s on just about every show on the Food Network. He just seems like a doofus to me. Now he’s on an NBC game show called “Minute to Win it.”

A number of our game shows originate in England. Remember “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”? How about “Deal or No Deal”? Or that show where people tried to fit their bodies into holes in walls (I think it was called “Hole in the Wall”)? Those were based on British shows. Well, “Minute to Win It” apparently goes those one better—it’s a ripoff of a British show called “The Cube,” which is being developed for American television with Neil Patrick Harris as the host.

I don’t love NPH, but I don’t exactly hate him, either. I hate Guy Fieri. Blast him and the “creators” of MTWI for getting on the air first.

The premise of MTWI is that random people have sixty seconds to perform slightly humiliating tasks using everyday household objects. For each task successfully performed, they win increasingly large amounts of money, and if they perform ten of these acts, they win one million dollars. If that sounds like a fun concept to you then you and I should hang out some time. Unless of course, you think that putting Guy Fieri in as host is the icing on the cake. In that case, don’t call me; I’ll call you.

As I’ve already suggested, I don’t like Guy Fieri. I think I might have written earlier that I “hate” him. That might be too strong a word, since he’s never done anything to harm me personally. But I do find him to be the television hosting equivalent of an open, oozing pustulous sore that screams hipster jargon from 1998 and just tries so hard to be your friend, awesome dude. You know that’s how him. And. His. Homeys. Roll. That is. So. Money!

That’s how Guy Fieri talks.

As host of MTWI, Fieri’s primary job seems to be to make asinine observations in asides to the camera while the challenges are going on. For example, in the first episode (featuring a very large bouncer affectionately known to friends as “Big Steve,” you know, because his name is Steve, and he’s big), he provided the following commentary:

This is gonna be awesome!

He has got determination written all over his face!

I love this look!

Oh he’s concentrating!

He’s got everything shaking!

Everybody loves Big Steve. What a cool dude!

That’s one. That’s exactly the rhythm he’s got to get!

I hope he kills this. I hope he just beats this one down!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Hey, jerk, you’re taking his statements out of context. Of course they look stupid all in a list like that.” Trust me, context doesn’t help.

This is one of the official Guy Fieri photos released by NBC to promote "Minute to Win It." Does this make you want to watch the show? Guy Fieri holding a bunch of balls, pointing at them "finger gun" style? Can't you tell how off the hook he is?

Anyway, to the challenges. Big Steve’s first: empty an entire box of tissues in one minute. Big Steve pulls out tissues roughly one at a time for about 50 seconds or so; he just makes it in time.

That one wasn’t so bad. The next one, however, was embarrassing. Big Steve has a pedometer affixed to his head, and he is made to bob his head up and down over and over again. He must bob his head 125 times in sixty seconds, a task that would seem to be better suited to the participants of “Rock of Love,” or perhaps “Flavor of Love.”

Poor Big Steve’s entire body convulses like he’s got DTs. But he hit 135 on the pedometer. We’re even treated to a slow-motion replay on the “Power Cam.” Every jiggle of Big Steve’s ample body is amplified to highly comical effect.

Actually, there is a thin line between “comical” and “tragic.”

By now Big Steve has won $5,000, and Fieri asks him, hipster-style, “Do you wanna take the 5 grand and cruise?” By which he means, “Do you want to take the money and run?”

Do you think Big Steve rolls like that? No way, dude. This guy is off tha hook—what? He is going for it!

Next challenge: Bounce three ping pong balls across three dinner plates into a fish bowl filled with water but no fish. He only got one, and lost one “life.” (The contestants get three “lives.”) At this point, Fieri pulled Big Steve aside and they had a pointless conversation that I suppose was supposed to be some kind of “pep talk.”

“You got this?”

“I got this.”

“Let’s do this!”

Big Steve won the ping pong ball challenge but kept playing, because he didn’t realize he’d won. “I was so zoned out,” he explained.

At this point, Big Steve had won $10K. The next level would be $50K, and that would be the minimum he could win. Of course if he goes on and loses, he would go home with nothing.

“Stay and play, or cash and dash,” is the ultimate question, as Guy Fieri puts it. I really dislike this guy.

Big Steve decides to “stay and play”! And he gets his next challenge: To throw bean bags at six push lights to turn them off. What is on the line? Guy Fieri lays it on the line in his inimitable style (and why would you want to imitate him?)

“For fifty. Thousand. Bankable. Dollars,” Fieri says nonsensically (but emphatically).

Well, Big Steve beats that one down, finishing in just over 30 seconds. As Fieri puts it, “Dude, you tore it up my friend.” At this point Fieri brings Big Steve’s sons onto the stage with him and asks him to explain about how he wants to move to the country with the money he’s probably not going to win. I mean, we’re 47 minutes in and he’s (to quote Fieri), “Five. Levels. Away. From fifty thousand dollars!”

Next challenge, for $75,000, is to slide ten lug nuts off a chopstick and create a nut tower. Big Steve says he likes this game. That’s one of the program’s more endearing conceits: The contestants have been practicing at home. There are 60 challenges on the show’s website, so everyone knows what they’re going to be facing.

As Big Steve is about to begin this one, Fieri offers his most penetrating aside yet: “Everybody’s cheering him on. Everybody.” Like he can’t believe that a studio audience that is being told to cheer is actually cheering!

Another aside: “Ah, nice start… Ah, he’s shakin’, his nerves are gonna get the best of him.”

They do, too. He gets to seven nuts, and then failed. Fieri: “It’s not as easy as it looks, especially when you got seventy-five grand right. In. your. Ear.”

In his ear? I’m not sure what Fieri means by this one. Was the $75,000 (metaphorically of course) whispering in his ear? Is the ear the seat of nerves, or the consciousness?

But Big Steve still has one of three “lives” left, so Fieri pulls him aside for another pep talk: “This is the final sixty seconds in this competition if you do not beat the nut stack.” That is actually what Fieri says. You have to beat the nut stack.

Beat the nut stack!

Another aside, as Big Steve is preparing to make his final assault on the nut stack: This is go big or go home for Big Steve.

It’s go home. He doesn’t beat the nut stack.

Second episode featured a cute, perky 24 year-old nanny from Arkansas, but even she wasn’t enough to force myself to watch anymore of this show. It didn’t help that the nanny referred to herself as “Rachy-Poo” (her name was Rachel).

Sorry, Minute to Win it. You had your chance, but you failed. Or, rather, Guy Fieri did. I guess I’ll just have to wait for “The Cube.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Corey Haim Dating Daisy de la Hoya? And, Just How Rotten is Dr. Drew Pinsky

Recently, the actor Corey Haim passed away, apparently of a drug overdose. He was only 38, and it's really too bad.

But his life had taken a true downward trajectory, and his friends should have been able to notice the warning signs. Namely, that he was dating "Daisy of Love" star Daisy de la Hoya.
Things appeared to be looking up for Corey Haim when he died.

Not only did the fallen 38-year-old actor have eight film projects in the works, but he also had a new love interest who wanted to rescue him from substance abuse.

After being introduced by Corey Feldman shortly before Haim died, he began dating 27-year-old Daisy de la Hoya, the star of VH1 reality show Daisy of Love…
When you're dating Daisy de la Hoya, things are not "looking up" for you. Anyone who watched either the "Rock of Love" season on which Ms. de la Hoya appeared, or her own show, could tell you that.

But clearly, Ms. de la Hoya is broken up over the loss of her new love:
"I'm sooooooo devastated right now," de la Hoya tweeted this morning. "This is the worst day ever I can't believe this."
Read that again. How devastated was she? She was "sooooooo" devastated. That's how you can tell the depth of her feeling. In a tweet, you're given only 140 characters with which to work. Ms. de la Hoya spent 7 of those characters on o's in the word sooooooo. That is really, really devastated.

"This is the worst day ever," she added. She sounds like a third grader complaining about losing an iPod.

Sometimes you wonder if those reality shows are unfair to the participants. There were a few times when I was watching "Daisy of Love" when I wondered if it was possible that Ms. de la Hoya could really be that shallow, self absorbed, and venal. "They must be making fun of her," I thought, "with the way they're cutting the show together."

But with a tweet, Ms. de la Hoya proves once again that London is very lucky to have gotten that other woman pregnant, and gotten away from her.

But she wasn't done with her tweeting-- she had something even worse to add:
De la Hoya also tweeted, "Why do I always fall for the lost soul? We could of been lost together, now your lost forever.... Ill miss you."
Because, Corey Haim's death is about you, Daisy. You always fall for the "lost soul."

Daisy de la Hoya, who was so often posed with a bottle of Jack Daniels with smoke wafting about her, wanted to help Corey Haim conquer his addictions. Oh, dear.

UPDATE 2:10 PM PST: Dr. Drew Pinsky, sleazy host/"therapist" of Celebrity Rehab and Sober House, is using the occasion of Mr. Haim's death to push himself and his own show, Sober House, premiering either today or tomorrow:
Corey Haim apparently made a fatal mistake when he recently told Celebrity Rehab's producers he had no interest in participating, the show's host, Dr. Drew Pinsky, tells PEOPLE.

Pinsky, an addiction-medicine specialist, says that friends and associates of the former child actor – who died Wednesday at 38 – have told him for years that Haim needed help with recovery. Pinsky says he gave them his phone number but Haim never called.

Pinksy adds that although Haim has been to rehab facilities several times, "he wasn't embracing treatment in any real way" and was only fooling himself when he told his show's producers "I do not need help."

"He's dead. Do you need to know anything more?" Pinsky said.
Yeah, he just died this week, and the VH1 reality stars come out of the woodwork to ride his coattails, down, down into his grave. So to speak. That metaphor doesn't quite work, but I'm so disgusted I can't come up with a decent one.

Over the course of the current season of "Celebrity Rehab," I have come to regard Dr. Drew Pinsky with ever-increasing disgust. The self-aggrandizement, the pursing of the lips, the judgmental glares, the repetitive belittling of those in his charge, and the insistence on bringing Kari Anne Peniche back, and turning her loose to cause chaos in now THREE shows ("Sex Rehab," "Celebrity Rehab," and "Sober House") show that, for whatever good he might have done in the past, he is purely in it for the "celebrity" now.

This is the same Dr. Drew Pinsky who recently left his "real doctor" position, under a mysterious cloud:
Celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky confirmed this week that he is leaving his post as co-medical director of Aurora Las Encinas Hospital's chemical dependency program.

Pinsky, who has led the chemical dependency unit at the hospital for at least 19 years, did not respond to questions about why he left, beyond confirming his departure to The Times through his agent.

Pinsky's departure comes as the high-end psychiatric hospital in Pasadena, where four patients died and one was raped in recent years, faces renewed scrutiny after inspectors learned of several recent escapes and near-suicides.
So maybe Mr. Haim wouldn't have been quite so safe in Dr. Pinsky's care, after all?

Oh and by the way, back to the People story, there's this:
Haim's agent, Mark Heaslip, says he doesn't think Haim died of an overdose.
Dr. Pinsky seems pretty sure that Mr. Haim died of a drug overdose, and maybe he did. But we don't know for sure yet. What kind of doctor makes a statement that he could have saved someone's life, when he doesn't even know for sure how he died?

Holy shit Dr. Drew Pinsky is an asshole.

Pic source.