Archive for September, 2008

WTF Is Wrong With Toy Manufacturers?!
September 30, 2008

K and I agree that the following commercial (originally viewed by us on FailBlog, of course) is among the weirdest and most distburing commercials we’ve ever seen. And we grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, kids.

(Warning: Slightly explicit. That’s right. It’s a children’s toy, and it’s kinda explicit!)

What. The. FUCK?!

–S

This Is Me
September 29, 2008

I am tired. And over it. And I’ve only been here for 45 minutes.

Sigh.

–S

SHENANIGANS! I’m Calling Shenanigans On McCain!
September 24, 2008

McCain is bailing on the first debate, scheduled for Friday. He’s doing it, he claims, to “focus on the financial crisis.” Because McCain can (and will!) fix said worst-crisis-since-the-Depression by himself.

Except, he’s not the President, or even part of The Fed, he’s just a Senator. With no authority to do anything economic, because he’s not on the Joint Economics Committee. So what he’s going to do is go back to Washington, and bluster on about the economy and his war hero status.

But, as Gawker points out:

We’re thinking this will very quickly come off as a “political stunt,” and also make McCain look like a moron next time he trots out the “I lie about Obama because he wouldn’t debate me 100 times from now until the election” line.

So here I go: SHENANIGANS, MCCAIN! You’re just fucking scared to debate.

Edited To Add: This is the comment from Josh Marshall over on Talking Points Memo:

What’s changed today in the financial crisis other than John McCain’s poll numbers tanking? Isn’t this the campaign equivalent of faking an injury when you’re down late in the 4th quarter? Note too that McCain was in the midst of debate prep when he made this decision.

Look at what appears to have happened. Obama reached out to McCain privately to agree to a shared set of bailout principles. McCain went off the handle again and tried to use the crisis as a way to call off the debates.

WORD.

Edited Again to Add: Here’s an update from Gawker. Obama is, awesomely, maybe ignoring this ridiculous publicity stunt:

Ok, so this is sleazy, right? Barack Obama and John McCain were on the phone today trying to put together a genuinely non-partisan joint statement on the economy and the necessity of some sort of “package” to fix this mess we’re in. Obama called McCain to suggest this at 8:30 this morning. NBC: “McCain called back six hours later and agreed to the idea of the statement, the Obama campaign said. McCain’s statement was issued to the media a few minutes later.” That is seriously a dick move! Hey: “‘The debate is on,’ a senior Obama campaign official told ABC News.” So there’s that.

I feel like this awesomeness is just another reason to vote for the Obama-nator in Novemeber!!

–S

Funny Cats (and Stuff)
September 23, 2008

You guuuuuuuys! I miss K. I’m bored. Really bored. Really, really, really bored. And I have no P.I.C. to play with! Also, I’m jealous of his Vicodin-induced coma right now. But not the pain, bruising or swelling he will eventually wake up to. K! Come baaaaack!

This is about the time of day I inundate him with funny cat pictures. Well, now YOU, dear viewers, get to look at funny cats! (And funny dogs. And maybe funny politicians.)

(Sorry for all the linking and tabs. Credit where credit is…, etc.)

cat
more animals

cat
more animals

dog
see more puppies
(OHHH!!! K!!! MY STICK! DO YOU REMEMBER MY STICK?! Oh, I was so cruel to that stick…)

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Sigh.

–S

Nude Biking: DO NOT WANT
September 23, 2008

Over on Jezebel, they have an item about an Oregonian nude biker. That sounds horrifically painful, don’t you think?

Also, apparently it’s opposite day, as the news item mentions that construction workers asked her to tone it down. As in, those guys who whistle at anything with a vagine.

Crazy.

–S

So, So Lonely
September 23, 2008

K is getting his wisdom teeth out. Well, by this time, they should be out and he’s at least on his way home or home already, conked out on pain medication. I loaned him the first season of Mad Men, so he should be set for the week (or, in my case, the next day and a half).

But kittens, I am so, so very bored. No movie updates, no gross pictures, no stopping by his cubicle to pout and ask for amusement. No partner in crime.

And he’ll be back earliest Friday. And probably really not until mond.

Sigh.

–S

On Women and Television
September 23, 2008

So I kinda already did the Emmy thing yesterday. I did it quickly, because I was at work, and the whole point of this blog is about what the hell I do to keep myself amused at work, and so that’s all I really offered you. A quick five-part snapshot of my Emmy experience: the wrenching torn feelings about Lost and Mad Men competing with each other, the utter frustration with the idiotic and unneccessary predictiveness of some of the awards. I did all of this and hopefully made some of you chuckle, but there’s one fundamental thing about me that you don’t realize when you read those quick comments.

I really love TV.

There seem to be a lot of movie geeks in the world; people who know all kinds of directors, are filled with facts about what is in production, who is writing what, where it’s shooting, when it’s coming out. They can make inferences about how good or interesting it will be based purely on the mix of cast and crew that have signed on. They can list at least the last five years’ work of the top ten directors of the moment. And they get totally validated for that. People think they’re cool, interesting, sometimes avant garde, always at least justified — if not admirable — in their philia.

When I talk about TV, I get eye rolls and jokes about attention span, intelligence, and reality shows. I don’t feel a need to lie: I love a good reality show as much as the next person, but I’ll bet it’s not in the way you think. I bet I don’t even love the reality shows you would guess. I’ve never been good with the Rock of Loves, I Love New Yorks, or even the Survivors of the world. The Amazing Race is great and all, but there are reality shows I love better. You can give me crap for liking Project Runway because I’m a girl, and a girl who really likes clothes, if you really want to, but I don’t know a single person — male, female, gay, straight, black, white, alien — who hasn’t sat down and watched an episode and not liked and even respected it by the end of that hour. Moreover, I bet you don’t think I watch TV beyond reality TV. And I’ll tell you why you think that: because you don’t watch TV beyond reality TV. Because after Sienfeld signed off, and Friends threw in their hats, you went to college and you didn’t have a TV (hey, neither did I) and you didn’t bother to keep up with what was on the air. You forgot about The X-Files and started watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force while you smoked bong (oh, come on, we all did that at least once). You stopped watching TV and started watching movies, and it’s such a college thing because everyone has a film department (or at least a film class!) but no one has a television department.

They really should.

In the meantime, TV has polarized. Reality TV has made most of what is offered to us cheap and stupid. And by stupid I really do mean stupid — it assumes we have incredibly low IQs. I fear that some of us (and those “some of us” are usually the ones on the crappy reality show) are actually that stupid, but that’s beside the point. These shows just eat and eat and eat airtime, because they are cheap to make and easy to come up with. Just pick something that happened (or could happen) sometime (or one day), add a prize (perferably money) and you have a show. For fuck’s sake, the latest VH1 masterwork does away with the pretense all together and is titled “I Love Money.”

But in that remaining 1/3 of television is some of the best writing, acting, directing, and shooting you see today. I include movies in that. Movies are suffering — if you haven’t noticed — the same way TV is, piled with so much crap writing and so many sequels (a treatiste for another night) that they can barely turn out one or two really worthwhile flicks per season. But on TV, writers and producers whose scripts are being ignored for Saw 17: I Don’t Think We’ve Used Baracudas To Kill People Yet, are finding people willing (just a little) to give their ideas a chance.

Think of all we’ve reaped from this. Between network and cable, we get How I Met Your Mother, Ugly Betty, House, 30 Rock, The Office, Mad Men, LOST. Those are just the shows I like that were nominated for Emmys. There’s Hereos (which, at this point, I’m pretty sure I watch just to have reasons to hate, but that’s a long and complicated essay unto itself), there’s Fringe (promising, promising, especially that Mad Scientist). There’s Chuck, which I find oddly charming and enjoyable. (Explosions! Cute Nerds! Funny CIA Men!). There’s the entire Law & Order franchise (best Sunday afternoon marathons, ever). There are reruns of old shows and old seasons of shows, like ER. There’s Supernatural and Smallville, which are good campy fun. There’s even Battlestar Galactica, which I personally think is ridiculous, but holy shnikes, they nominated it for Emmys. There are good stories being told by good writers and acted by good actors and oh my god, I pay for them with the wireless internet I can’t live with out, and I get to see them every week, and some of them are even free.

It is a joy to have Mad Men and Lost competing for my affection. It’s a difficult battle right now, I have to tell you; K posed the question to me the other day, “If stranded on a desert island, which one would you take?” And my immediate reaction was: No fairs! The two shows could not be more different, from story, to theme, to time period, to type of actor, to type of writing (well, in every way beyond “Good”). To take only one would leave an alternate facet of my personality empty and sad. Ultimately, the choice goes to Lost because… well, because it’s my favorite TV show, that’s why. But Mad Men is extraordinary. And it was Mad Men I was thinking about tonight before I sat down to write this.

I am always disappointed and even annoyed with the Emmys’ nominations for leading actress. Every year. The women they nominate are fantastic actresses, on popular and good shows, and there is nothing about them that I find so disappointing. It’s the characters they play. I bet I know your first thought. I bet you just said to yourself (if you’re so inclind to talk to yourself while reading an essay), Well, that’s because they don’t write good parts for leading women. They don’t do it for movies, and they certainly don’t do it for TV. But I don’t think that’s true. I think the problem is less with the writing and more with the Academy, even with the viewer. Surprise.

I should clarify here I’m talking about Actress in a Drama Series, here. Women seem, to me, to be well-represented in comedy. Thank you, Tina Fey.

The women nominated for actress in a drama came from Damages, Law & Order: SVU, Brothers & Sisters, Saving Grace and The Closer. Three of those shows are police/law enforcement procedurals. One is a law-related show, but this time the big drama is in civil court. The last is a mainstay of dramas: family women who don’t get along. It’s all essentially the same role: a damaged, though brilliant in her own way, woman facing daily obstacles and ruthlessly taking them down. There are shades and permutations in that very generic description, but it’s true. The characters are given dimension and life by the remarkable women who play them (hence their nominations), but the characters themseles are very plain, very predictable. And so, this is what we expect from a “leading woman,” and that is what is nominated for us.

I thought perhaps the greatest Emmy overlook this year — although I do admit that the obviousness of it is amplified by the 8 episodes of season 2 that have aired so far — was not giving Elizabeth Moss a Leading Actress in a Drama Series nod for Mad Men. Her portrayal of Peggy Olson, a more atypical female lead, is masterful and clear. But it’s the character herself that is such an asset to Moss’s talents. Peggy is the other side of the Don Draper coin. Where he is old(er), she is young. Where he is experienced, settled, she is green and unsure. Where he is staid and conservative, she is fresh and innovative. And, at the same time, she has as many secrets as he does, the same mystery, the same inscrutibility. But while he is the world as it was, she is the world as it is about to be.

Peggy is written with respect. As, actually, all the women on Mad Men are. Seductress Joan, defiant Jane, sad and proud Betty, fragile and gossipy Francine, the girls on the switchboard, the girls at Sterling Cooper, the ignored wives. They are all stereotypes in their own way, and they are certainly of another time and another mind, but they are written by writers who respect them as characters. Who realize they are not just set dressing, they are people, that in the Mad Men universe they are people, 3-dimnsional people in the real world, with real lives, and even though we see very little of that, we always can tell, in how they are written and acted, that it’s all there. The writers gave Peggy a heart, they gave her a cooch, they gave her a devil, an angel, and a mind of her own. She is flawed, but not overly flawed; the same kind of flawed we all are at 20, fresh out of school. They didn’t make her a Woman on TV. They made her a young woman.

Moss acts it beautifully, so natrually that you are almost sure that she is asking the same questions of herself as her character. Mad Men is so excellent on so many levels that I am sure that they will garner more nominations and many more wins next year. But I can’t help but wonder if Elizabeth Moss will continue to be passed over in her category. She receives top billing with John Hamm, their names right next to each other on that first credit screen. She is, without question, the other A character of the show. But have we fallen into a trap where we no longer recognize a strong female role and a strong female performance unless it is in the same Fierce Woman, Mature Woman, Strong Woman and even Vulnerable Learned Woman roles we’ve been conditioned to award? Can the Academy even fathom voting for Elizabeth Moss? When they offered her for considerationthis year, did the understand why? Next year, will they understand what she’s being offered for?

Will we?

There are other roles like this, in comedies and dramas. It’s why people love Tina Fey on 30 Rock so much. 3-dimensional female characters are not just not too much to ask for; they’re out there already. My god, if you think the state of television these days is bad, you’re not watching the right TV.

Also, if you can, get HBO and Showtime. I know it’s obnoxious. I have them for the first time since 2005, when we attempted RCN which was so awful that HBO and Showtime wasn’t even worth it, and it’s really wonderful. It opens up the world of Dexter, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage (no, really, it’s still good, I swear), and Weeds reruns (honesty: they lost me this year). There’s 30 Rock and The Office, there’s even Boston Legal (James Spader’s always good in a fix). (So is Shatner, obviously.) (I wish he would do Rocket Man on that show sometime, that’d be nice).

And for crying out loud, watch more TV!

–S

Chris Rock, I’ve Missed You (and your Political Commentary)
September 23, 2008

Over on Gawker, Chris Rock reminds us that HILLARY LOST her primary bid.

And now I’m reminding you: VOTE FOR OBAMA!!!

Leaf Piles Beware: Email From K, 11:02 a.m.
September 22, 2008

K: IT’S FALL!

S: WOOOO!

K: excellent.

Uneven Distribution of Wealth: Email from K, 10:50 a.m.
September 22, 2008

K: Did you hear about the president (or CEO or something like that) of Lehman Bros. keeping his job for two years and getting paid $25 million for those two years?

S: WHAT? NO! I want $25 millioong dollars!

K: Millioongs! Millioongs and millioongs of dollars!

S: No. Fairs-ies.