Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sylvester Stallone's Authorial Trespass

Found via the website Big Hollywood is this interview at Ain't It Cool News with Sylvester Stallone. Mr. Stallone has a new film coming out later this month (August 13th) entitled "The Expendables," and I am quite excited to see it, as I am a big fan of Mr. Stallone's work.

Some of it, anyway. I had a hard time getting through "Cobra," and "Driven," and "Over the Top."

But the "Rocky" movies (yes, all of them) are interesting and provocative commentaries on the times in which they were made, and on the ways in which modern men deal with the changes in the world around them, and to their own bodies. "Demolition Man" is a fantastic science fictional satire that seems eerily prescient with its "anything-bad-for-you-is-illegal"-except-Taco-Bell-which-won-the -"Franchise-Wars" given our current political climate (and it featured the great Wesley Snipes in a memorable hair color). Stallone also perfectly embodied another future lawman, the British comic book hero "Judge Dredd." Reading those British comics about a New York lawman of the future, it's clear the authors got their ideas about US culture from John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies -- and Stallone plays that character beautifully. (I don't in any way mean to impugn the stories from 2000AD. I'm a big Dredd fan; the "Judge Death" story arc from 1980 is one of my all-time favorite comics stories, from anywhere in the world.) In the mediocre movie "Cop Land," Stallone gave the stand-out performance in a cast that included greats like Ray Liotta, Harvey Keitel, Robert Patrick, and Robert De Niro.

And don't get me started on how much I love "Rhinestone," the country music comedy he made with Dolly Parton.

Stallone sings Drinkenstein! Total genius.

I even like that Stallone (allegedly) uses "performance-enhancing drugs." I think everyone should use performance-enhancing drugs, if they want to. It irritates the hell out of me that they're illegal.

So, yes, I'm a Stallone fan. Which is why I read with interest his Ain't it Cool interview. The short piece is actually Mr. Stallone answering questions submitted by Ain't it Cool users and is worth reading in full, but the last question in particular caught my attention:
Question: As I grow older one of the major things I enjoy about the 80’s action films are their high level of optimism about America and its place in the world. Whether it was Rambo 2, Rambo 3, Rocky 4, Red Dawn, etc. they made American’s feel invincible (and a bit cocky) but also proud of whom we are. The unbelievably ripped action heroes were a great physical manifestation of who we were as a nation. Post 9/11 I think many would love to feel that way again as we have transitioned from the great action heroes to action stars such as Matt Damon, Nic Cage, and Tom Cruise. All great actors but I can’t buy them as action heroes. Movies today seem to have the opposite effect and are focused too much on our flaws as nation and our failed foreign policy (Avatar, Green Zone). Do you feel this is simply because of the changing generations in Hollywood, a true reflection of the national temperature, or just an overall loss in optimism following the end of the American century that is reflected in the stories told on screen?

Stallone: Brain, Its 100 percent due to a transition into a different political climate than when the aforementioned films were done. That’s why it’s a minor miracle the last RAMBO would even be released, but I took a gamble there would be many people like you, who may not express themselves as clearly but really do desire to see an action film unfold that wreaks of pride and manly individualism that has unfortunately fallen out of vogue. I believe that everything is a cycle. And once again America will have its cinematic heroes reflect the incredible honor it is to be defending the most extraordinary country the planet has ever known. Just give it time, everything is a cycle.
The idea of authorial trespass fascinates me. Once an artist turns his/her vision loose on the world, it belongs to everyone. The readers or listeners or viewers should be allowed to make up their own minds about what they're taking in.

Too many people assume that "the artist" has some kind of magical power over his/her own work, and any opinion they have on that work is gospel. In fact, the artist's opinion matters only while s/he is creating the work in question. Once the artist has released it into the wild, his/her opinion is no more valid than anyone else's.

For instance, when J K Rowling revealed, a year after the last Harry Potter novel had been completed, that one of the characters in those books was gay, well, then, that character was gay.
The question was: Did Dumbledore, who believed in the prevailing power of love, ever fall in love himself?

JKR: My truthful answer to you... I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. [ovation.] ... Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald, and that that added to his horror when Grindelwald showed himself to be what he was. To an extent, do we say it excused Dumbledore a little more because falling in love can blind us to an extent? But, he met someone as brilliant as he was, and rather like Bellatrix he was very drawn to this brilliant person, and horribly, terribly let down by him. Yeah, that's how i always saw Dumbledore. In fact, recently I was in a script read through for the sixth film, and they had Dumbledore saying a line to Harry early in the script saying I knew a girl once, whose hair... [laughter]. I had to write a little note in the margin and slide it along to the scriptwriter, "Dumbledore's gay!" [laughter] "If I'd known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago!"
That's a genuinely shitty thing for an artist to do. If a character is gay, then make the character gay. Don't play coy about it in the actual novels and then announce later that the character was gay all along. And if you are playing it coy in the books (I haven't read them so I don't know -- does this Dumbledore have a male roommate? Drink a lot of appletinis?) then certainly you had a valid artistic reason for doing so, correct?

You've just removed part of the fun of reading, or taking in any work of art, be it watching a film or listening to a song. The discussion with others over the meaning of it all. When the artist comes out and says, "I intended this," the discussion ends for most people.

If you don't believe me, go back and read the audience's reaction to Ms. Rowling's revelation.


Dumbledore is gay now. Mystery gone. One more reason not to read the Harry Potter books. (And for crying out loud I'm not anti-gay. I'm anti-authorial trespass.)

Or, how about Robert Redford claiming that Dan Quayle misinterpreted a film in which he starred, "The Candidate"?
Paulson: And you mention “The Candidate.” You had to be more than a little surprised to hear Dan Quayle say he modeled himself after you in that film.

Redford: That scared me for the country. I thought if he, if he — if that was his model, then he really missed the point.

Paulson: And we see so much of that. We had Bruce Springsteen having to demand that the Republicans stop using “Born in the U.S.A.” because, as he pointed out, this is not a patriotic ballad.

Redford: No.

Paulson: And there seems to be kind of a surface-level reaction from politicians, a certain art, wanting to latch on to it. And yet the message of “The Candidate” is something that no politician would embrace. I understand that, that — for those who haven't seen it, it has to do with an idealistic young man who says what he believes in as long as he's not likely to win. And then things change.

Redford: The fundamental theme of the movie was to take a hard look at, at how we get people elected in this country. And that was what the real point of the movie was. The other was the characters to embody that theme, and, and the, the — kind of the Faustian bargain that people make going into politics, when they think, "I can be — I can maintain my integrity. I can maintain a level of truth.” But they have no idea what happens when you enter the political system. It's so full of compromise, and now more than ever — insidious, devious stuff to, to — rather than tell the people the truth, to keep it from the people while appearing to be truthful. So that, that kind of thing was what we were trying to say in the movie, that the only thing that matters is winning. And so — this character gets sucked into that. And it was about how we get people elected in this country, and we were answering it by saying, "Unfortunately, it's too much by cosmetics, not enough by substance."
Not only is Mr. Redford suggesting that there is only one way to interpret "The Candidate" (which is a great film, by the way), but that there is only one acceptable reaction to it.

Why couldn't Mr. Quayle have seen the film and been inspired to change that system the film criticizes?

But okay, I don't want to spend any more time even appearing to defend Dan Quayle of all people, so I'll move on.

With his film "Avatar," director James Cameron committed authorial trespass just about as often as he could. Check this from the New York Times:
Q. Have you gotten any criticism that the film might be perceived as anti-American?

A. It’s something that I’ve anticipated the possibility of because people will misinterpret things in certain ways. You can almost count on people misinterpreting things. The film is definitely not anti-American. It’s not anti-human either. My perception of the film is that the N’avi represent that sort of aspirational part of ourselves that wants to be better, that wants to respect nature. And the humans in the movie represent the more venal versions of ourselves, the banality of evil that comes with corporate decisions that are made out of remove of the consequences.
Emphasis added, because here, Mr. Cameron is stating plainly that any interpretation of the film that he made that does not comport with his own intentions is a misinterpretation. Think about that for a second.

The artist is saying that if, for any reason whatsoever, you come away from a viewing of his film thinking something other than what he had in mind, you are wrong.

And that is the real problem with authorial trespass. It exposes the insecurity of the artist involved. No, the problem with your interpretation couldn't possibly be that I didn't convey myself in a truly meaningful way -- the problem is with you, the viewer.

You're misinterpreting it!

And this is James Freaking Cameron saying this. Creator of the first two "Terminator" films. "Aliens." "True Lies." Quite possibly the best filmmaker in the world. Certainly one of the most powerful. And even he is saying that if you just don't get me, well, frankly, that bothers me enough that I'm going to insult you.

Do you think Christopher Nolan is going to start talking about the meaning of "Inception"? Did he ever do that with "Memento"?

Does David Lynch do interviews in which he explains what he meant by the masturbation scene in "Mulholland Drive"?

Once you put your work out into the world, have enough confidence in it to let it stand on its own.

This is why I find it particularly ironic that the "tough guy" actor Sylvester Stallone would commit authorial trespass on his films in this way, particularly his "Rambo" films, which I agree are four of the most interesting "war" movies of the last thirty years. In particular the first two, which are stinging indictments of the American government's treatment of its war veterans, and as such far more effective than more critically lauded films like "The Deer Hunter" and "Platoon."

Take for instance the first film in the series, "First Blood." John Rambo is a Vietnam veteran, trained with special forces, and as such, he is a walking weapon. Now out of the military, Rambo wants only to be left alone. Yet when he arrives in a small town in Washington, looking for a friend of his from his old Special Forces unit who has, unknown to Rambo, died of cancer caused by Agent Orange exposure. The sheriff drives Rambo out of town because he's a "drifter," and the sheriff doesn't like drifters. There follows more harassment of Rambo until finally Rambo is forced to fight back, escaping from the police and running into the woods where he uses his Special Forces training to fight off the police and, eventually, the National Guard.

 John Rambo, the "drifter" Vietnam veteran, has done his "duty" to his country, and just wants to be left alone.

John Rambo, Vietnam veteran, is now in the wilderness fighting against representatives of the government he'd been fighting for just a few years before.

It's at this point that "First Blood" starts to get really interesting. Rambo is using guerrilla tactics against government agents who have been dispatched into the wilderness for reasons that remain murky to fight an enemy they don't completely understand. Mr. Stallone and Ted Kotcheff, the director, have flipped the story upside down on us.

John Rambo represents not only the veterans mistreated by the government, but the Vietnamese they'd been fighting.

At least, that's how I see it. And my opinion is just as valid as Mr. Stallone's

"Rambo: First Blood Part II" predated John Kerry's and John McCain's shameful treatment of Vietnam war widows with their Senate POW/MIA hearings by a couple of years. In that film, the very government that had spent much of the first film trying to kill Rambo now requires his services to return to Vietnam to take photos of possible Prisoner of War camps. In fact, the corrupt government officials in charge of the mission have absolutely no interest in finding out the truth of whether or not there are POWs there, and Rambo is abandoned in Vietnam after he finds the proof he'd supposedly been sent to find.

This is an astonishing stand for a mainstream action film to take. The US government is corrupt. It does not care for the men who supposedly fought for it. It's willing to abandon those men for the sake of political expediency.

Of course, Rambo single-handedly breaks the POWs out of the camp. He does this not for the sake of the government, but pointedly for the soldiers who have been used and abused by the government.

The Rambo films are about how the politicians who run the government let the citizens down. "Green Zone" and "Avatar" are nowhere nearly as good as any of the "Rambo" films, yet they're basically the same idea.

And I'm really not sure how much the "political climate" has changed. Kerry and McCain are still in the senate, after all. Rather disappointingly, Mr. Stallone supported John McCain's run for president in 2008.

That is what you call "irony."

My interpretation of all of Sylvester Stallone's films is just as valid as Mr. Stallone's, even if it might be a little off from his. These are great works of art, and should be puzzled over and discussed and turned over in all our minds. Mr. Stallone has done a disservice by trespassing on them like this.

But I'm still going to see "The Expendables" when it's released.

 I did a search for "The Expendables" images, and found this picture of former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" star Charisma Carpenter. She's hot. She's also apparently one of the stars of the movie. She's probably only in it for a few minutes, but I'm posting her picture here anyway. Because she's hot.

John Rambo pic source.
Charisma Carpenter pic source.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Thieving Thieves of Mediaite Ripped Me Off UPDATE: So Did Gawker!

Today at 12:21 PM, someone called Steven Jessop at the website Mediaite ripped off my "Obama's 'Jersey Shore' Lie" story from last night at 7:24 PST, and without attribution. His story is under the mealy-mouthed title, Obama Tells The View “He Has No Idea” Who Snooki Is, After Joking About Her At WHCD.

You might be thinking, "But Ricky, how do we know you actually posted that story that was ripped off by this 'Steven Jessop' character last night? Maybe you just changed the date stamp on it? Well, I also tweeted it. Follow the link and check the time. Twitter doesn't lie.

But maybe you're belligerent, or you think I'm just being paranoid about Mediaite ripping me off. Maybe you're thinking something like, "But Ricky, maybe this 'Steven Jessop' loser didn't even see your little blog. It only gets about 20,000 visitors a month." Well, it so happens that the same story was cross-posted at When Falls the Coliseum. It can be found here. You will note that the time on that is this morning at 9:04 am.

No, I don't know what the traffic is like over at WFTC. But I do know that I have three pieces of evidence in my campaign against the thieving thieves of mediaite.

Come on, Steven, if you're going to rip off my little blog, the least you can do is give your story a less clumsy title.

This is intolerable.

Naturally, I demand an apology.

UPDATE: Friday July 30 at 5:51 PST: Gawker ripped me off, too.

I am the king of being ripped off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

President Barack Obama's "Jersey Shore" Lie

Having absolutely nothing better to do, the president of the United States appeared on "The View" yesterday where he made what I consider a rather startling claim for an American to make:
President Obama charmed the ladies on "The View" yesterday and confidently showed off his command of the big challenges facing the nation today.

But the name Snooki didn't ring a bell.

"I'm sorry, I don't know who that is," the smiling but perplexed President said when asked about the big-haired "Jersey Shore" bombshell, according to several audience members interviewed after the show.

"We all liked that he didn't know who she was," said Nella Cerminara, 51, of Montreal.
That would be nice if the president didn't know who "Snooki" was, I suppose.

Except he does know who Snooki is. He was lying. Check out this video from back in May:

If we can't trust the president to tell the truth about an MTV reality show character, what can we trust him on?

What the president know about Snooki, and when did he know it? And why did he lie about it?

Snooki make out pic source.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Angelina Jolie earned every cent of the $20 million she was paid for the new movie "Salt"

At least, by Hollywood standards she did.

My headline is a deliberately reworded variation on a line taken from a story in Popeater about how Ms. Jolie went "above and beyond" in her promotion of her new movie, "Salt":
Angelina Jolie set a new salary high for herself with her latest spy-related movie 'Salt,' earning over $20 million for the role; however, what she did to get that money surprised everyone -- including her man, Brad Pitt.
"Angie earned every cent of her $20 million salary," a Sony Pictures insider tells me.
This is how messed up Hollywood is. Check out how Ms. Jolie "earned" that $20 million:
"Even though Angelina's contract insists she promote the film, no one expected her to sign autographs at the premiere for over 45 minutes, pose for pictures with fans and shake hands before walking the red carpet. Even partner Brad Pitt looked confused watching her spend so much time with all the fans."
She signed autographs -- at the premiere -- for over 45 minutes??? That's almost a full hour (give or take a quarter of an hour)!

She posed for pictures? Are you kidding me? An actress posing for pictures? Is she some kind of machine or something?

Are you trying to tell me she actually shook hands with people? I hope she had some hand sanitizer!

Slow down, Angelina! You're making the people who work in factories look lazy!

One of the most attractive women in the world spent time posing for pictures. Can you believe it???

I do like that line about Brad Pitt looking confused. "Hey, Angie. What're you doin' in fronta that camera withat guy there? Posing? Woo-ee you must be ca-razy!"

But let's not forget what else she did:
"The studio was shocked when Angie agreed to go to Comic-Con [the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world] as well as when she traveled to Washington, D.C. to host a reception and tour of the International Spy Museum. Angie even allowed studio publicists to plant stories about her inviting the real-life Russian sleeper spy, Anna Chapman, to the premiere, to help promote 'Salt.'"
She allowed someone else to drive her (eh she probably flew in a private jet, actually, it's at least a 2 1/2 hour drive to San Diego from Los Angeles during Comic-Con) to Comic-Con where she was taken to an Exhibit Hall to appear on a panel at "the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world," and then she allowed herself to be taken (first class, I guarantee, all expenses paid) to Washington DC where she was fawned over by star-struck "spy museum" curators and guests and politicians, and then she "allowed" studio publicists to "plant" totally innocuous and transparently tongue-in-cheek stories about that physically attractive Russian spy everyone in the world was talking about a few weeks ago.

 Angelina Jolie didn't REALLY want to invite adorable (alleged!) Russian spy Anna Chapman to have a three-way with her and Lady GaGa-- that was all just a story concocted to help Sony promote the movie "Salt"!

I just can't believe a massively popular actress, one of the most famous human beings in the world, would allow herself to be used this way -- simply to promote her major $100 million blockbuster summer tent pole release!

But, seriously, that "Sony pictures insider" needs to get some perspective. Ms. Jolie is (I believe) a talented and quite elegantly-constructed actress. Her movie opened fairly well (second place at the box office, over $36 million). She is famous and people like her.

But you do her no favors by publicly marveling at the fact that she spent a whole 45 minutes signing her name at a huge promotional event for the film in which she starred.

We are in a recession, after all.

Angelina Jolie pic source.
Anna Chapman pic source.

New When Falls the Coliseum Post: Comic-Con Stabbing

My new When Falls the Coliseum post looks at the stabbing or scratching or whatever it was that occurred at the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. A little bit:
The last Comic-Con I attended was way back in 2007, when I still had a comic book writing gig, a fairly big one, actually, and when I went to the bars and parties after hours I could say, “Hi, I’m Ricky and I write _____,” and people actually knew what I was talking about. I admit I felt like a big man. It was a fun time.

I mean, it was fun going to the bars and parties after Comic-Con had closed. Comic-Con itself had become the opposite of fun.

I’d hit every Comic-Con since 1999, and it got worse every year. The crowds swelled to what seemed to me an unsustainable number. Too many people on the floor meant it was almost impossible to see all the booths in one day, and still have time to hit a couple of panels. By 2004, if you went on a Saturday, you were in a crush of people, and if one or two people became distracted, the entire flow of pedestrian traffic was disrupted, leading to groin-rubs and name-calling.

It was hot and smelly.
The rest can be read, if not enjoyed, here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eric Roberts, You're a Lot Better than This

When I was a little kid, Eric Roberts scared the hell out of me playing a psychopathic scumbag in the movie "Star 80." It's one of those movies I haven't seen since then, because, well, it scared the hell out of me.

A year later he was fantastic as the annoying loser Paulie opposite Mickey Rourke in "The Pope of Greenwich Village."

And he keeps working. Check out his IMDB page. He seems to make about 4 or 5 movies a year. And it's not all dumb stuff like "Witless Protection" or "Sharktopus," either. He had a pivotal role in "The Dark Knight."

And in just a few weeks, he will be appearing in the new Sylvester Stallone-Jet Li-Jason Statham-etc movie "The Expendables," which just happens to be opening the same day as something his sister, Julia Roberts is appearing in.

So why would a man who seems to be doing so well, and who has so much going for him, lower himself to appear with the reprehensible "Dr." Drew Pinsky, on "Celebrity Rehab"?
Julia Roberts' brother Eric has checked into rehab - and his treatment will be televised.

The actor, who is actress Emma Roberts' father, has joined the cast of the new season of reality TV show Celebrity Rehab, where celebrity counselor Dr. Drew Pinsky will attempt to help the star battle his substance abuse demons once and for all.

The details of the actor's addiction problem are hazy, but his publicist Chuck Jones tells WENN, "It's not for anything serious. He's not hooked on prescription meds or hard drugs or anything like that."
First of all, why does an article about an accomplished actor like Eric Roberts have to begin by noting that he's the brother of Julia Roberts? He was in freaking "Runaway Train" for crying out loud.

Second, why is he associating with putrid Pinsky if he doesn't have a "serious" drug problem? Granted, I don't think that anyone who has an actual drug problem should associate with that piece of slime, but isn't the fiction of the "reality" show "Celebrity Rehab" that the participants have drug problems?

It's disheartening that anyone would consent to treatment that cretinous bastard, but you kind of expect it from someone whose career is on a decline, or someone who had no real "celebrity" career at all. Like those announced in VH1's official press release:
Similar to the first three cycles, the fourth season of "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" will follow the real-life experiences of celebrity patients undergoing detoxification and treatment at the Pasadena Recovery Center. The show will include Jeremy London ("Party of Five," "7th Heaven"), Rachel Uchitel (Infamous Party Planner), Janice Dickinson ("The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency"), Leif Garrett (Musician), Frankie Lons (Keyshia Cole's Mother), Jason Wahler ("The Hills") and Jason Davis (Socialite).
So they have the guy who might or might not have been kidnapped and forced to take crack, the woman who procured female companionship for Tiger Woods, an obnoxious "super model," someone who was popular in the 1970s, someone who is apparently someone else's mother, someone who was on another MTV-networks "reality" show, and someone who is famous (I suppose) for going to parties.

And Eric Freaking Roberts.

You made this choice, Mr. Roberts. You don't have to do this. Do you? I mean, are you having financial troubles? You're in Sharktopolis! Isn't that low enough?

More from the press release:
Dr. Drew is a highly respected practicing MD board certified in internal and addiction medicine who will once again give viewers an unflinching look at exactly how the rehab process works and what it feels like for participants. Dr. Drew hopes to use his celebrity patients to humanize the process and show viewers that treatment is a viable way to break the cycle of addiction.
I have asked this before, but I would like to know what board "certified" this dangerous quack. I would like to know who respects this creature.

And no, "Celebrity Rehab" does not give viewers an unflinching look at exactly how the rehab process wroks and what it feels like for participants. It gives viewers an unflinching look at an asshole's massive ego, and his manipulation of people who are suffering (not from drug addiction, but from a desire to be on camera) to feed his own narcissism.

Dr. Drew Pinsky is a far worse villain than any Eric Roberts has ever played on film.

Maybe that's it--

Maybe Eric Roberts is playing a psychopathic quack "addiction specialist" who manipulates people for his own nefarious purposes. I guess it all makes sense, now.

If that's the case, I apologize to Mr. Roberts, and I salute you for your dedication. If it's not the case, well, then -- and this is something I rarely ever say to an actor -- you're better than this.

Eric Roberts memorably played a loathsome creep in "Star 80." Soon he'll be sharing the screen with another loathsome creep on "Celebrity Rehab."

Eric Roberts in Star 80 pic source -- a very good overview of the film.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Can't Mel Gibson Just Be an A*hole?

Radar online has another "bombshell exclusive" regarding the whole Mel Gibson-Oksana Grigorieva epic. In this one, they have a photo of Oksana's child after (allegedly) being hit in the face. You'll have to follow this link to see the image, since Radar has tagged the photo with WARNING: This photograph may not be reproduced, and I don't want to get into any trouble by posting it here.

But before you do click over to Radar online (if indeed you want to leave the warm and safe confines of this magical blog) check out their breathless description of the image:
In a bombshell world exclusive, has obtained the photo of Lucia showing what appears to be a small abrasion on her chin after the brutal January 6 brawl, in which Oksana claims Mel punched her and hit their child, who was being held by Oksana at the time.
A bombshell photo of...

...what appears to be...

...a small abrasion?

I don't mean to be callous, but it's a photo of a baby with something on its chin. For crying out loud if that's your big "bombshell," then, well, you're shooting blanks, or something like that (I might have mixed my metaphors there -- what do you call it when a bomb fizzles out?). The real "bombshell" would be a photo of a baby that didn't have something on its chin.

Babies get into stuff. They put things in their mouths. They have no sense. They fall into things. They are like dogs, only a little bit stupider (although typically as they age, they become smarter than dogs. Of course, there are exceptions).

Radar online did manage to dig up a "high profile attorney" called Lisa Bloom (I've never heard of her) who claims that the photo is powerful evidence against Gibson.
"The photo that I have seen of the abrasion on the baby's chin is very disturbing,” Bloom told, after examining the series of photos that Oksana has presented to law enforcement officials.

“When you take the beautiful face of an innocent baby, and you consider that that abrasion may have gotten there by her own father assaulting her mother and perhaps accidentally also hurting her, that should absolutely warrant an investigation by child protective services.”
The same child protective services that had photographic evidence that Britney Spears was driving down the 405 with one of her children on her lap yet claimed they could do nothing about it because there wasn't an officer present at the time of the infraction? Do you really think, Ms. "high profile attorney," that child protective services should swoop in and arrest Mr. Gibson because there is a photo of a baby with a mark on its chin?

Anyway, there is plenty of other evidence that Mr. Gibson is an assh*le. Radar has the audio tapes.
As he loses control he yells at her: “I’m not giving you my house and you can rot unless you crawl back, s*ck my cock and say you’re sorry, in that order! Do you understand me? You f*cking offend my f*cking maleness, my masculinity, my being, my soul!”
True, we don't know all the circumstances, but I'm willing to say that Mel Gibson is at the very least an assh*le.

And I can say stuff like that. You know why? Because I'm just some jerk with no expertise on the matter whatsoever, other than having lived for a few decades and met a lot of people. I can say whatever I want and not look particularly foolish.

Classic issue of People magazine from 1996, containing an article about the late humorist Erma Bombeck, author of "If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?" I wonder what a wit of Ms. Bombeck's caliber would have made of Mr. Gibson's recent audio hostility?

It's not like I'm a doctor or anything. I mean, if I were a doctor who'd never met Mr. Gibson and, say, I tried to oh I don't know diagnose him with some kind of social disorder, well, I'd look pretty effing stupid, wouldn't I?

No serious doctors would do that, would they?

Well, actually... Something called The Week recently gathered four "Mental health and domestic-abuse experts'" diagnoses from around the internet. These "experts" don't let the possibility of irresponsible behavior prevent them from weighing in on the subject.
Is Mel Gibson suffering from an identifiable mental illness? With audio evidence of Gibson's profane, seemingly unhinged calls to his former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, mounting daily, journalists are confronting mental-health experts with that question.

While the actor-director has publicly battled an alcohol problem and claimed in 2008 that he'd been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, some authorities say these tapes suggest more than a mere manic or drunken episode.
First of all, The Week forgot to insert the word "lazy" before the word "journalists," and forgot to enclose the word "journalists" in "sneer quotes."

Second, they forgot to insert the word "irresponsible" before the word "authorities." They might also have enclosed the word "authorities" in sneer quotes, but I'm too lazy (I'm just like a real journalist!) to look up any of these irresponsible "authorities" to see if they're actually irresponsible "authorities."

At least they used the word "seemingly" before "unhinged." That shows they're not just going off half-cocked and making assumptions about someone before all the facts are in!
1. Gibson is a textbook abuser
Telling Grigorieva that she deserved to be hit and that she's forced him to behave this way — these are classic domestic-abuse scenarios, says Lundy Bancroft, author of the book Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, as quoted in The Daily Beast: "The domestic batterer always takes the stance that it's this particular woman's behavior that has caused him to become violent. That’s all over the place in this tape."
Yes, Lundy Bancroft, author of a book, is an expert with an expert opinion based on a few minutes of seemingly unhinged audio tape. Mr. Gibson is a "textbook abuser" (he abuses textbooks? does he scribble in the margins and blot out the front teeth of historical figures depicted in them?).*

Anyway, it goes on like that. You can click over to The Week if you feel a need to read more from "experts." Or you can just take my unexpert opinion:

Mel Gibson is an assh*le.

*Sorry -- cheap joke. But it's no more cheap than an "expert" "diagnosing" someone he's never met after listening to a few minutes of audio.

Mel Gibson People magazine most beautiful people cover pic source.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

$195 Seems Like a Lot to Pay Just to Learn How to Have Sex Like a Porn Star

Did I really just type the sentence above? Am I really that jaded? Or is the economy really that bad?

Via the Not Safe for Work fleshbot comes the story of Ryan Keely's Porn Star Sex Life workshop, at which attendees pay $195 (for the next seminar in New York, anyway) to learn, well, how to have a porn star sex life. At least, that's what is promised by the seminar's title.

A website called Driven by Boredom has some information, and some photos (mostly safe for work):
Last weekend my friend, Penthouse Pet and the “Tony Robbins of sex” Ryan Keely held her first Porn Star Sex Life seminar at Velour Lounge. ... Ryan had help running the seminar and she was assisted by fellow Penthouse Pet Justine Joli, fetish model Jade Vixen and pick up artist guru Josh Rosenberg.

The seminar started off with Josh teaching a lesson on how to find yourself a girl to practice these techniques on and then Ryan led a lengthy discussion on how to find the clitoris but after that they jumped straight into the proper techniques of fisting. It was full steam from there with some pretty advanced lessons on all sorts of sex. Ryan gave pointers on oral sex, the best positions, and finally anal sex, the whole time demonstrating, in a more or less safe for work, these techniques on Jade and Justine. She also went through a number of simple stretches you could do at home to make your sex life dramatically better in just a few weeks. Jade gave a lesson in my specialty – rough sex and Justine broke down STD’s and sex hygene.
Again, maybe I'm jaded, but... $195 for that?

You can watch porn on the internet for free. And it's easy enough to watch something, find what you'd like to try, and point it out to your partner:

You see what she's licking there? I want you to do that to me. Yes, I'll do it for you, too.

See how she's turned around like that? Yeah, get your body into that position, and I'll... here, I'll get behind you like this...

Okay, now pull this up here -- no, a little higher, maybe -- and then get on top of, no, wait, not on top of that, but on top of this, and then, yeah, start moving side to side at first, then a little bit up and down. I think that's too much. Slow down a second while I figure this out...

Let's go a little crazy tonight and try it with the lights on!...

Now could you make friends with Stoya, so we can have a three-way with her?

As for the picking up women part, you should have watched The Pick-Up Artist with Mystery on VH1.

And you've just saved yourself almost $200, which you can put toward anal beads.

Most of that $195 goes to pay for overhead anyway.

Monday, July 19, 2010

UPDATE: Jenn Brown is no Erin Andrews

Last Tuesday, July 13, I posted an entry on an interview that the petty, vindictive, passive aggressive ESPN sideline "reporter" Jenn Brown gave to Esquire magazine, in which she took some shots at one of ESPN's previous sideline reporters, the famous-for-her-looks-and-probably-for-her-abilities-as-a-sideline-"reporter"-whatever-that-means Erin Andrews. In that entry, I wondered just how many google searches the "younger, hotter" Ms. Brown would inspire. Well, if my blog's stats for this week are any indicator, Jenn Brown is no Erin Andrews.

The number of people who have come to my blog looking for information and/or images of Ms. Andrews? A little more than 5,000.

The number of people who have come to my blog looking for information and/or images of Ms. Brown? 0.

As in ZERO. Not a single person out there in the internet is looking for any information and/or images of Jenn Brown.

Maybe she should think about that, the next time she's talking passive aggressive smack about Erin Andrews in Esquire interviews.

Erin Andrews is still the queen of, um, physically attractive female sideline "reporters." Jenn Brown is just a pretender.

Erin Andrews pic source.

Appropriate screenshot of the day

Yahoo! had a link to a story about out-of-control secrecy in the war on terror (or something, I still don't know) -- a screenshot of which can be seen below:

Naturally curious about what would seem to me to be an alarming story, I clicked on the link, and was taken to this page:

Yes, it is that secret. The story about it isn't even available.

You can try it for yourself; here is the link.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Strange Internet Vendetta Against an 11 Year-Old Girl

During a conversation with the poet Allen Ginsberg, the poet William Carlos Williams supposedly pointed out a window and stated, "There's a lot of bastards out there!" This is a cynical observation by a rather brilliant man -- the idea being that the world is full of bad people who are capable of causing great mischief and pain.

The corollary, I would like to point out, is also true. "There's a lot of decent people out there!"

But the bastards make the headlines. The bastards cause the problems that the rest of us have to deal with. And now, thanks to the internet, the bastards have more power than ever before.

I'm not just talking about the fanboys who take to message boards to call Armond White filthy names because he didn't like "Toy Story 3." There's even more troubling people than that.

The people who, back in the good old days, would have been at the head of a mob ready to burn witches at the stake. The people who get caught up in the idea of inflicting misery on someone for the sake of, oh, relieving the boredom of their own lives. Or something.

This is something I think about occasionally. Most people in the world have no freaking idea who I am and thankfully don't care. And yet I suppose I want some measure of internet fame -- after all, I have a blog (a couple of blogs, actually), I write for another website occasionally, I sometimes post "humorous" animated shorts I've made.

I do all this under my own name. So if someone, for any reason, wanted to do me dirt, said someone could do so, and probably pretty easily.

It happened to an 11 year-old girl called "Jessi Slaughter" (not her real name -- she's savvy enough to have a nom de internet [she's savvier than me]). Gawker has the baroque story, over a series of three increasingly disturbing posts. Some highlights from the first:
Earlier this month, Stickydrama—apparently the Gawker of 13-year-olds with long bangs who loiter in mall food courts—dubiously linked her to the lead singer of emo band Blood on the Dance Floor, Dahvie Vanity. When Stickydrama asked Jessi for comment, she said: "gtfo dahvie and I dont exist, I'm just a fan." Stickydrama concluded: "If Dahvie were a pedophile, why would he pick her! Other than the fact she's a slut!"

So, Jessi had haters. A few days ago, she posted this YouTube video calling them out, issuing such threats as "If you can't stop hating, you know what? I'll pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy." Ha ha. Unfortunately for everyone involved, someone posted it to the Internet's scariest hive mind:'s /b/ board, and Tumblr.

The Internet started picking on Jessi Slaughter relentlessly. But it was more than just mocking: People started circulating Jessi's real name, phone number, address and links to all her social networking accounts. Someone prank called her. According to Encyclopedia Dramatica, pranksters spammed her Facebook and MySpace accounts, had pizzas delivered to her house and were considering sending call girls off Craigslist to the address. (Encyclopedia Dramatica currently has a three part section on "How to troll" Jessi: 1) "There are pics of her holding her boobs" 2) "Tell her to kill herself" 3) "Tell her dad that we are going to beat her up.") Slaughter's information and videos also shot through tumblr, aided by the blogging platform's reblogging system.
Here's the video referenced in the excerpts above. It's Not safe for work!:

Her first mistake, of course, is reading the comments on her videos. Her second mistake is replying to them. Her third mistake is acknowledging that she reads the comments. Her fourth mistake is claiming that she doesn't give a f*ck about them. Her fifth mistake was the worst of all: She was an 11 year-old girl who just happened to fly onto the radar of a bastard.

I actually kind of like that people can present themselves unfiltered in a video blog like this. Kids today -- even 11 year-olds -- have unprecedented access to tools that aid their self-expression. When I was a kid, I had pens and pencils and paper. Kids today have computers that come equipped with cameras.

This is turning into one of those "kids today!" posts. I'll stop that.

The unfortunate side of is that, as William Carlos Williams is supposed to have remarked, "There's a lot of bastards out there!" And those bastards have access to the same tools as the 11 year-old girls, and apparently have no compunction about using them to try to smear one of those 11 year-old girls.

Or the 25 year-old lead singer of an obscure electro-pop band.
Sometime last night after 10pm, a /b/ user posted a proposition that the board's users troll the "pedophile" Dahvie Vanity. 4chan was still basking in its earlier harassment of Jessi Slaughter, so users quickly got on board—the thread exploded with suggestions and encouragement accompanied by unrelated pictures of boobs. One user compiled a dossier of Dahvie's personal information—name, date of birth, links to his social networking profiles and articles about him. Someone posted a link to a chatroom. ...

The early plans thrown around were the most technically ambitious, involving hacking into Vanity's MySpace or email accounts....

None of these deception tactics worked. ...

So they decided to launch a more pedestrian attack on Vanity's Internet reputation by Googlebombing him. Googlebombing consists of artificially boosting the number of searches for a term so it shows up in Google Hot Trends. (The origin of the virulent Justin Bieber syphilis rumor.) The phrase in this case was "Dahvie Vanity raped Jessica [redacted]"—Jessica being Jessi Slaughter, 4chan's earlier victim. The bomb was primed with a post on /b/ telling users to type the phrase into Refreshthing, a website which can automatically Google a phrase once every five seconds.

Users also created scores of pages on the crowdsourcing service Yahoo! Answers, asking questions like "Did Dahvie Vanity actually rape a girl?" Hey, just asking!
Wow. And today comes the update that Jessi Slaughter is in police protective custody over death threats.
Jessi Slaughter's real name, address and phone number was distributed widely on the Internet through 4chan's /b/ board, Tumblr and other Internet backchannels. Jessi's mother, Dianne Leonhardt, tells us they've received a slew harassing phone calls since the video went viral Thursday.

Some of those phone calls have been death threats, and the local sheriff's department has launched a criminal investigation into the video. Jessi was placed under police protection and brought to a safe house soon after it went viral, Leonhardt says. She came home today, but she's not online: A court order has barred her from using the Internet for at least three days.

So far, things haven't escalated past phone calls and online vandalism of Jessi's social-networking accounts. But Leonhardt says the family's life has been completely upended by a stream of prank calls." I've had people calling, impersonating themselves as cops, as child protection services," she says. Though Leonhardt says Child Protection Services is in fact involved in the case. "Something we never wanted!" Leonhardt's husband shouted from somewhere in the room when she told us this over the phone.
I suppose you take your life into your own hands when you put yourself online. Most people are decent, and just want to live their lives, and don't really care about the videos of 11 year-old girls. But, unfortunately, "There's a lot of bastards out there!", and if a few of them with a little bit of internet savvy decide they want to make your life hell, they can do it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New When Falls the Coliseum Posting -- Ban on Movie Futures Trading an Important Step in Protecting a Vital Industry

I wrote a hard-hitting piece on the ban against Movie Futures Trading that was contained in the recently-passed financial reform bill. The first few sentences:
The recent financial reform bill that passed the House and Senate was so important that even the people who created it don’t know exactly what it will do. And we can debate all day what’s the most important part of the bill, but I’d like to suggest that it’s the ban on the despicable practice known as “Movie Futures Trading” (MFT) that will have the most positive affect on the country.

MFT is the process by which people bet on how much money a work of art - a film - will “earn” at the box office. Much as the stock market speculators nearly caused the collapse of our entire financial system, so to does this crass gambling enterprise threaten the very foundation of an industry that is vital to our economy and to our standing in the world.

The entire thing can be read here.

There might be no way of accurately measuring the negative effect that Movie Futures Trading could have on Mel Gibson’s upcoming film, “The Beaver.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ESPN's New Sideline "Reporter" Jenn Brown Hates Erin Andrews

Esquire has a story about "the new Erin Andrews," a woman called Jenn Brown. Apparently, Ms. Brown is to be the new college football sideline reporter, while Ms. Andrews has been promoted to host of some college football-themed program called GameDay.

The primary Jenn Brown photo from the Esquire article. Isn't she so cute and playful! Don't let that water get too close! -- you might get all wet, and wouldn't that be a shame! Titter!

Anyway, in the Esquire article, Jenn Brown takes some great passive-aggressive swipes at Erin Andrews in her answers to the interviewer's questions. Such as:
ESQ: Your colleague Erin Andrews is going to appear as a host on GameDay this fall. Do you see her career path as one to aspire to?

JB: Yeah, Erin and I both went to Florida — it's funny, because we didn't know each other back then, but she's always been somebody I've looked up to. She's been doing it longer than I have, but she's done a great job, and I think it's amazing that they've given her that opportunity to be involved in the ESPNU show before it, and doing more features and stuff. I'd like to think that we're doing pretty similar things, now that I'm doing sideline. We're pretty similar in the roles that we've got, and... she's done it. Why reinvent the wheel when you can go to somebody and ask them for advice and help?

ESQ: It's strange that, aside from that other thing, it's been Dancing with the Stars that really helped advance her career. You once hosted a show on Country Music Television — is reality TV another one of your, um, talents to further, or are you focused on sports right now?

JB: Yeah, there's a little difference. She was on a reality show; I hosted one. But you need to love what you do. For me, I'm in full sports mode — it's a big opportunity that ESPN's given me, and I'm embracing it. I'm not taking it lightly. You know, I was having lunch with [ESPN executive editor] John Walsh the other day, and he was reminding me that you go to Bristol and you start talking to people. And I've never seen this anywhere, but people are like, "Oh, I'm a young guy — I've only been here twenty years." Unbelievable.
They both went to Florida, but Jenn Brown wouldn't hang out with her. What's the matter? Erin Andrews isn't cool enough for you? Oh, and she's been doing the sideline reporting thing "longer." As in, she's so much older than the great Jenn Brown! And you know, Erin Andrews only appeared on a reality show -- Jenn Brown actually hosted one!

Wow. I hope they don't share a locker room, or whatever it is that these people share when they're reporting from the sidelines of college football games.

I guess we'll see how much better this younger, more reality-show hosting Jenn Brown is than Erin Andrews, by posting a few of Ms. Brown's pictures here. Ms. Andrews has gotten me literally tens of thousands of visitors.

Until Ms. Brown can do the same, she can't take Erin Andrews's crown.

Second Jenn Brown pic source.
Third Jenn Brown pic source.
Fourth Jenn Brown pic source.
Fifth Jenn Brown pic source.

Dear Head of the FCC: There is Nothing in the First Amendment About Protecting Children

Some motherf*cking good news today, as a federal appeals court in New York has struck down part of the FCC's sh*tty "indecency policy."
A federal appeals court on Tuesday knocked down the Federal Communications Commission's indecency policy, saying that the agency's guidelines for fleeting expletives and other indecencies in broadcast were vague and violated the First Amendment.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said in its opinion that the FCC's policy was "unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here."

The FCC declined to comment on whether it would appeal the decision. Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement: “We’re reviewing the court’s decision in light of our commitment to protect children, empower parents, and uphold the First Amendment.
What, you might ask, does "protecting children" and "empowering parents" have to do with "upholding the First Amendment"?

Short answer: Nothing a single f*cking thing. In fact, just the opposite. The terms "protecting children" and "empowering parents" are clever code words that mothereffers like Julius Genachowski, who is apparently a complete a-hole, use to disguise the fact that they are violating the First Amendment.

Remember that the First Amendment 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 does not say,
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, except in such cases as our children need to be protected.
Nor does it say,
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, unless doing so would empower parents.
It also doesn't say,
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, except in those cases where certain groups of people are spending money to campaign against incumbent politicians.
And it doesn't say,
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, except for people who say mean things about others online.
Also it doesn't say,
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, unless you're too close to certain types of public events.
And it doesn't say,
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, unless you're a kid at a public-school sponsored event "promoting" illegal drug use.
Sadly, this could go on for awhile. But you get my point.

Yes, this is a pretty f*cking exciting victory, but SFW? The First Amendment is violated all the time, and it's like we couldn't give less of a sh*t about it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spain Wins World Cup -- C*ckblocks the Entire World

Spain won the World Cup, the soccer ("football") tournament going in South Africa. They beat (robbed) the Netherlands in what was I'm sure a thrilling match, or game, or whatever they call them.
Spain won the World Cup for the first time when they beat Netherlands 1-0 thanks to a super strike by tireless midfielder Andres Iniesta four minutes from the end of extra time at Soccer City Sunday.
Oh, it went into "extra time"! Excuse me if I don't get a boner.

Because, as I've already written, a Dutch pornographic film actress named Bobbi Eden promised BJs to her twitter followers if the Netherlands won.

So, thank you very much, Spain, for totally cockblocking the entire world.

I guess we'll all have to content ourselves by watching the "hilarious" animated short "Dr. BJ":

Dr BJ - watch more funny videos

Or watching the sequel, "Dr. BJ Episode 2":

Thanks, Spain.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doesn't Kate Gosselin Look Like Bret Michaels?

Via Crazy Days and Nights -- the following photograph:

When I first saw this photo, without seeing the caption, I thought, "It's good to see Bret Michaels up and around after that brain thing he had" (I couldn't remember what was the problem with his brain).

But it's not rock and roll and reality tv star Bret Michaels, it's actually reality tv star and mother of eight (and ex-wife of a creep) Kate Gosselin!

Here's a photo of Bret Michaels:

They could be twins! Maybe that could be a new reality show. Kate Plus 8 Plus 1 Rock Star = Fun! They could spend most of the first episode talking about how similar they look.

Sample dialogue:

Bret: "I'm the prettier one."

Kate: "Shut up, Bret."

Bret Michaels pic source.

The Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers is an Illiterate, Deranged, Hypocritical Jackass and LeBron James is Good to be Rid of Him

This is why I hate professional sports. There's just nobody to root for.

The players are narcissists! The owners are narcissists! At least with the players, one can admire their athletic skill. And, to be fair, they're not all bad. Some of them make appearances at children's hospitals, I've heard.

The owners, however, are all bad. Believing themselves entitled to my money to build their "stadiums" even though I could not give less of a shit who is wearing which uniform as they "dunk" their "balls" into "baskets" or whatever it is that they do.

Today, I inadvertently found myself reading an open letter to a character called LeBron James, from another character called Dan Gilbert. Mr. James apparently played for a team owned by Mr. Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers. (For some reason, there is a professional sports team in Cleveland Ohio that is named after supporters of King Charles I during the English civil war in 1642.) Mr. James recently -- last night, apparently -- decided to stop "dunking balls" in a "Cavaliers" jersey, and start "dunking balls" for a team in Miami, Florida called "The Heat." (Yes, it's a team named after a thermodynamic process.)

Mr. James apparently made public his decision to "switch teams" in a one-hour special on that waste of cable space, ESPN. This is a cable channel that specializes in promoting the private corporations that take tax money to put on exhibitions ("sporting events") that I will not watch because I resent having my money used to put them on. Some people were interested enough in this nonsense that they turned off "Wipeout" (a show co-hosted by an ESPN "anchor") to watch.

That is someone else in the professional sports world to dislike, actually. The television "reporters" who promote these businesses.

Anyway, Mr. James's decision, which was made for his own personal reasons and I have no idea of what they are (he wants a "title"?), has raised the ire of Mr. Gilbert. He feels betrayed, somehow. And it motivated him to write an embarrassing, illiterate, and deranged open letter to the "fans" (or, as the French call them, "Le Suckers") of his privately-owned but publicly-funded sports corporation, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The letter is kind of fascinating. First of all, the font chosen was comic sans. Comic sans is not a font that anyone in a serious position in any business environment should ever choose, for anything. Not even for those notes that you post in the break room, that remind employees to take their food home every Friday, because the refrigerator will be cleaned out by the janitorial staff.

I am serious. This team owner, supposedly a businessman who wants to be taken seriously, used comic sans for his venting, tirade-filled open letter to his "fans." I took a picture of part of the letter to prove it to you:

That should give you some warning that this ridiculous man is not to be taken seriously. That first impression is reinforced by the fact that he followed the letter's salutation with a semicolon.

A salutation is followed by a comma or a colon. A semicolon is intended to be placed between two related but independent clauses that are not joined by any kind of conjunction. Opening a letter with such punctuation is nonsense.

But how can a man so filled with righteous indignation over a hometown hero's betrayal be expected to get his punctuation right? After all, he's the one who is non-cynically trying to do what's best for the people of Cleveland, Ohio.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
Whenever I read anything like this, it just makes me want to cry. Because this man is a millionaire, and he actually writes for public consumption sentences that read "have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you."

But let's leave aside the awkward syntax for a moment and check the content of that sentence. Implicit in this letter is that Mr. James is a greedy narcissist who did only what was best for himself in deciding to go to Miami. While the staff of the "hometown" Cavaliers want only what is best for "the hometown."

That is a load of bullshit, pardon my language. Mr. Gilbert is far more greedy, cynical, and narcissistic than Mr. James could ever hope to be.

First of all, Mr. Gilbert might be a little upset with Mr. James because his leaving Cleveland's team of Charles I supporters could end up costing him a substantial amount of money. In 2007, he made a deal with a sports network to cover his team's games. Thanks to Mr. James, that deal was quite a bit larger than in the past:
Owner Dan Gilbert continues to reap the benefits of superstar forward LeBron James. FSN Ohio agreed this summer to pay the Cavs an estimated $25 million in its new broadcast contract, double its prior deal. Last season ticket prices jumped 8% (more than double the NBA average) and attendance was fifth highest in the league. Six home playoff games also added millions to the Cavs coffers. And the best news of all for Gilbert: LeBron signed a 3-year contract extension that keeps him a Cavalier until at least 2010.
As you can see from the above quote, Mr. James's presence on the team also helped Mr. Gilbert to jack up the ticket prices, and increased the number of tickets sold.

So, you can see how Mr. Gilbert is concerned for the betrayed people of Cleveland.

He was concerned enough to use the 2009 season opening game to "get out the vote" for a special ballot initiative:
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert got to appear on video screens during his team's home opener to urge fans to vote in favor of legalized casinos in Ohio. "Keep the jobs here. Keep the tax dollars here," Gilbert told the sellout crowd, who'd already received handouts urging the same thing.

Not mentioned by Gilbert, so far as I can tell: That the referendum would give his company exclusive rights to build casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. It's nice to have your own captive audience.
You see how selfless is Mr. Gilbert, and his concern for the people of Cleveland.

He's so concerned that he switched the team's ticketing service.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will switch from Ticketmaster to Veritix as part of an effort to allow all fans to enter the arena without paper tickets.

Starting Oct. 1, Veritix will be the official ticket provider for events at The Q, including all concerts and Cavaliers games. The change means all tickets to events there can be purchased using Flash Seats, a Veritix technology that provides paperless entry to the arena and a Web site for reselling tickets.

A fee will be charged for reselling tickets, but the amount has not be determined, team officials said. Previously, someone buying a Cavs ticket from a season ticket holder on Flash Seats paid a 20 percent fee.

Event-goers will still have the option of a paper ticket that can be presented at the gate. Tickets sold by Ticketmaster to events held at The Q after Oct. 1 will still be honored and will not have to be exchanged.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is the majority owner of Veritix. The Cavs, Veritix and Ticketmaster settled a lawsuit in May that paved the way for the departure of Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster's contract with the Cavs, which controls The Q, was not due to expire until the end of the Cavs 2009-2010 season.
"The Q" is "Quicken Loans Arena," which is the stadium in which the Cavaliers joust. How did that stadium get its name? It's another example of Mr. Gilbert's concern for the people of Cleveland, and the plucky business owners helping to bring that city back to life:
Included in Dan Gilbert's 2005 purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers was Gund Arena, named after the team's previous owner. Gilbert decided to change the name to Quicken Loans Arena, giving free publicity to the company he founded and chairs.

Speaking of the people of Cleveland, they have done a lot more for Mr. Gilbert than just buy tickets. They've also helped support the stadium in which the team plays, and help Mr. Gilbert make even more money in the process.
The Q, as it is known, is owned by the Gateway Economic Development Corp., a non-profit organization set up to operate both the arena and Progressive Field.

Most of the cost of both sports facilities has been borne by the taxpayers of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

So, I for one resent that Gilbert can sell a portion of the Q arena to anyone.

But the fact that sticks in my craw and should anyone else’s is that Gilbert and the foreign investors sort of do OWN the place that we paid for and operate.

That’s because in the sweetheart lease the owners of the team have full use of the arena even when the Cavs are not playing. So every other event and its profits go to the owners, not the taxpayers.

So since the Q draws some two million customers at some 200 events, a lot of money that should go to the owners – us - goes to the sports franchise owner.
The owners of the team get the profits from other events at the stadium? Well, I suppose the Cavaliers owner had to make his money somewhere, since there are only about 41 home games a year.

Oh, and the "foreign investors" mentioned above are an investment group from China, who came in to help the team "stabilize" its finances in order to help re-sign LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed an agreement with an investment group from China to become minority owners of the NBA franchise and its arena, a partnership that could impact superstar LeBron James’ future with the team.

The Asian conglomerate, which includes JianHua Huang, a Chinese businessman who has brokered sponsorship deals with the New York Yankees and other sports franchises in the U.S., could acquire up to 15 percent of Cavaliers Operating Company, the entity that owns the team and operates Quicken Loans Arena.
Obviously, Mr. Gilbert cares a lot more about the people of Cleveland than Mr. James does. That's why he's spent so much time and energy manipulating them, taking their money to line his own pockets, and using them in the service of his own massive ego. That is why I certainly agree with him when he writes in his open letter:
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
And Mr. Gilbert is just the man to stick give it to you, apparently:

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels
I shudder to think of the levels of manipulation and chicanery this rotten man will resort to in order to display his renewed "motivation." And then there's this nonsense:
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Illiterate, scarily deranged, and hypocritical (should our children be learning how to behave from Mr. Gilbert?). No wonder LeBron James wanted out of Cleveland.

Would you want to work for the man capable of writing such a letter?

LeBron James is taking his ball and getting away from Dan Gilbert.

LeBron James pic source.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dutch Porn Star Makes the World Cup Interesting by Entering into a Legally Binding Contract with Me

Of course I care not even a little bit about the World Cup. Not a fan of professional sports. It takes a lot to grab my attention.

This story grabbed my attention.
In a year already featuring odd World Cup promises, porn star Bobbi Eden appears to have outdone her competitors. The Dutch erotic actress wrote on Twitter that she "will give a BJ to all my followers" if the Netherlands wins the soccer tournament this weekend.

Having vanquished Uruguay in the semifinals, the Netherlands is just one win away from potentially triggering an oral sex extravaganza. According to the bizarre tweet, several fellow actresses could join the the festivities. Eden currently has more than 23,000 followers.
Naturally, this story motivated me to find out exactly what the "World Cup" is. It turns out it's a soccer (or, if you're outside America, football) tournament featuring teams from several different countries.

They all get together and kick the ball around for about eight hours or so. But to hell with that.

Some woman in the Netherlands promised BJs to all her followers if her favorite team wins. And her favorite team is one win away from winning!

The tweet in question can be found here. I took a picture of it:

She cheats a little bit, as she's not necessarily promising the BJ from herself -- she brings in a few other pornographic film stars: Gabby Quinteros, Miss Hybrid, and Vicky Vette. Following the links in the previous sentence will take you to each woman's twitter feed. As you'll see, they all seem to be game.

They also seem to have likable qualities.

I know a couple of people who are lawyers, and I am going to ask them if a tweet can be counted a legally binding contract before I start getting too excited about this new contract I'm entering into. Then there's the fact that the location of the promised BJs is not mentioned at all. Do I actually have to fly to the Netherlands to get this BJ? Seems like a lot of trouble to go to.

Then again, as her twitter feed says, Ms. Eden is the "#1 Dutch Pornstar."

Bobbi Eden and I have entered into what I fully believe is a legally binding agreement. Now all I have to do is raise money for a trip to Europe. Time to sign up for an tip jar!

Of course it's entirely possible that when Ms. Eden says she will give BJs to her followers, she might be talking about my classic short animated film, "Dr. BJ" (probably not safe for work):

Dr BJ - watch more funny videos

Bobbi Eden pic source.

Did Oksana Grigorieva Violate California Law When She Recorded Mel Gibson's (Alleged) Rants? And, Why is it Okay to Print Some Slurs, but not Others?

Radar online has been breathlessly reporting on the contents of some explosive tapes it claims to have heard in which the actor and director Mel Gibson is heard to utter some extremely vile expletives and epithets at his former girlfriend.

In the first such "WORLD EXCLUSIVE," entitled WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Mel Gibson's Racist Rant Caught On Tape - Tells Oksana She Would Get 'Raped By N***ers', we're told that Mr. Gibson is heard to tell his ex-girlfriend that, well, she would get "raped by n***ers."
In one of the most explosive, racist and vile outbursts by a celebrity ever caught on tape, Mel Gibson told the mother of his love child that the way she was dressed would get her "raped by a pack of n***ers," has learned exclusively.

It's a shocking and blockbuster development in the couple's bitter legal battle, and Mel's disgusting words are on audio tape. His racist, misogynist statement is one of the secrets lurking in his war with his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. has heard the tape, which also includes Mel telling Oksana he will burn down her home.
RadarOnline has heard the tape, and is reporting on its contents, yet we do not get to hear the tape ourselves.

Radar online's next World Exclusive, entitled, WORLD EXCLUSIVE: MORE Mel Gibson Rants Caught On Tape -- Calls Oksana A "Psycho C***", reveals that Mr. Gibson apparently called his ex-girlfriend a "psycho c***."
In another taped rant, which has heard, the Oscar-winning actor calls Oksana Grigorieva a “psycho c***”.

Oksana and Mel have a eight-month-old daughter.

Gibson apparently left this hate-filled message on Oksana’s voice mail. The actor says: “This is my last message. I might be the father... Well, f** you... You psycho c***... Because I don’t care.”
Again, we don't get to hear the tape ourselves, having to rely on Radar online's analysis. We don't even get to see the full words "f**," "c***," or "n***er." I don't have a problem with that -- those are foul words and Radar online might not want to pollute their site by printing them in full.

But check out what Radar online went with today, July 8. Another "World Exclusive," this one featuring another (alleged) Gibson racial slur, caught on tape, entitled, WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Another Mel Gibson Slur Caught On Tape - Calls Latinos "Wetbacks". In this story, well, Mr. Gibson apparently calls Latinos "w*tbacks."
Mel Gibson has been caught on tape making ANOTHER bigoted remark, this time against Latinos, is reporting exclusively.

The Oscar-winning director/actor is heard referring to one of his staffers as a “wetback” during a recorded argument with Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his love child. has heard the tape in which Mel tells Oksana: “I will report her to the f**king people that take f**king money from the wetbacks.”

He is referring to turning a worker into immigration authorities, has been told.

'Wetbacks' is a disparaging slang term for those of Latino heritage, especially Mexican illegal immigrants in the United States.

The slur stems from the fact that illegal Mexicans would sometimes swim
to cross into other countries.
Why does Radar online feel the need to redact the ugly word "n***er," but "w*tback" is left intact? Are they not both despicable racist words? Are they suggesting that because the slur refers to swimming that it's okay to print it in full?

I am really at a loss as to explain how Radar online is handling this entire "Mel Gibson tapes" story. They are apparently the only ones who've actually heard any tapes at all (and apparently most of the revelations are coming from the same tape -- are they only listening to a few minutes a day, because that's all they can stand to hear, and writing about it as they hear it, or are they cynically dragging the story out over a period of more than a week?), and are bringing these stories out a little at a time, with one more shocking revelation after another.

And yet...

Radar online will not play the tape(s) for us, nor will they tell us whey they're not releasing them. Is there some legal reason for holding it back?

It could be, actually. If Ms. Grigorieva did not specifically get Mr. Gibson's consent to be recorded, she might have been in violation of California law.
California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute applies to "confidential communications" -- i.e., conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. ...

If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you're recording may or may not have "an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation," and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances. Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

If you are operating in California, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be "private" or "confidential." In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the California wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party. See Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.
So it could be that Mr. Gibson really did say all that nasty stuff to Ms. Grigorieva, but she would be the one facing jail time, unless she is heard to ask him, at some point, "Do you mind if I record this tirade?"

But if that is the case (I'm not a lawyer), and the tapes were made illegally, then why can Radar online report on the contents?

The second tape is apparently of a recording left on Ms. Grigorieva's voice mail, so that probably further muddies the legal issues. Do you have a reasonable right to expect the insane tirade you left on your ex-girlfriend's voice mail won't be recorded and exposed to the public?

More questions for Radar online:

In another World Exclusive entitled WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Mel Gibson Caught On Tape Admitting He Hit Oksana -- "You F**king Deserved It" in which, apparently, Mel Gibson is caught on tape admitting that he hit his ex-girlfriend, and that she "f**king deserved it."
Mel Gibson is caught on tape admitting that he hit the mother of his love child, is reporting exclusively.

It’s another bombshell development, following our world exclusive when we revealed that Mel was taped spewing a vile, racist rant, telling Oksana Grigorieva, "You look like a f***ing pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault."

Now, is revealing even more content from the tape and this time Mel admits to hitting Oksana twice in the face while she was holding their baby daughter Lucia.
This sounds like the worst one of all. I mean, calling someone vituperative names and using racist epithets is awful, but actually hitting someone who is holding your daughter is much worse.

But watch what Radar online does here. They say that Mr. Gibson admits to hitting Ms. Grigorieva twice in the face while she was holding their baby daughter Lucia. I boldened that part of the story, for emphasis. That is a startling statement.

Here is how Radar online follows it up:
On tape, a teary Oksana is heard asking Mel, “What kind of a man is that who would hit a woman when she is holding a child in her hands, hitting her twice in the face?

“What kind of a man is that?” the Russian musician repeats.

The Braveheart star responds: “You know what — you f**cking deserved it.”
Which, not to make too fine a point, does not look an admission to me. He is saying that she deserved something ("it"), not saying that he caused that something to happen.

This actually makes me wonder about all of Radar online's reporting on this matter. I'll admit that when I saw the first story, I was ready to believe the worst about Mr. Gibson. After all, this is a guy who has admitted to (and "apologized" for) making anti-Semitic comments during his DUI arrest in 2006.
"There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.

"I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

"The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God's child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

But it has occurred to me that we are relying solely on the word of Radar online, and Radar online hasn't necessarily shown that it can be trusted. But Mr. Gibson has already said that he believes that every human being is God's child, and hatred of any kind goes against his faith.

Which means that he couldn't have said those terrible things Radar online is alleging.

Moreover, how do we know that the tape wasn't doctored in some way? He might have been responding to something else, and his line dropped into the recording. For that matter, someone might have gone through his old movies and taken lines from those movies, and put them into a recording.

Yes, that doesn't sound likely to me, either. But my point is, the tapes have not yet been made public.

So until we see/hear the tape, or at least get a look at the alleged photo of Ms. Grigorieva's battered face, we can't make a judgment on the case.

Which means I just wasted about half an hour of my life writing a blog entry about something completely vile and disgusting that might or might not be accurate. For now, I will just have to content myself with disliking Mr. Gibson for all the reasons I disliked him previously.

UPDATE @ 2:54 PM PST: The LA County Sheriff's Department is now on the case:
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department listed the actor-director as a potential suspect in the alleged attack on Russian singer Oksana Grigorieva at an undisclosed location in Malibu.

The two have been involved in a nasty custody dispute over their infant daughter—the subject of a confidential court case.
Really? It's a "confidential court case"? Haven't we already heard all about it?

Anyway, with the LA County Sheriff's Department handling things, they're sure to get to the bottom of it!

UPDATE JULY 9 2010 @ 9:00 PM PST

Here's some of the recording of Mel Gibson's racist hatred. Very NSFW, very disgusting:

Well, there you go. Mel Gibson is a scumbag. And he was fired by his agency.
I'm told wme-new-logo-final smallerwhat happened is that the news media reported last week there was a tape of Mel Gibson making a racial slur. And last Friday, WME board member Ari Emanuel "woke up at 3 AM and emailed his partner Patrick Whitesell that 'we can't represent a guy who said the N-word'." So the agency dumped Mel Gibson on July 2nd, and the next day, on July 3rd, his agent Limato died. Today the 2-minute recording was released by the celebrity website which initially broke the news that on it Mel Gibson allegedly uses a racial epithet during a fight with Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his child: "You're an embarrassment to me. You look like a f***ing bitch in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault." Just now, the Drudge Report headlined both stories, "Mel In Hell".

The question now is, did Oksana Grigorieva violate California law when she recorded Mel Gibson's rants? That's almost exactly the same question I asked in my original headline, but I removed the parenthetical "alleged." I think that was pretty safe to do.

Ah, well. He'll always be the star of one of the greatest movies of all time, The Road Warrior: