30 September 2010

Banned Books Week: Won't somebody think of the children?

Note: This week I am breaking my no-politics policy by talking about Banned Books Week, and what it entails, and why it is important. I beg your indulgence and thank you for it.

This is the American Library's list of the 100 most challenged books of the past decade.

Go have a look at it. I'll be here when you get back.

(Time passes. A fly crawls up the wall. Galaxies are born and die. The reader returns.)

So . . . did you notice what I noticed? What nearly everybody notices after a few seconds of perusing the list? Did you see how many of the titles listed there were books for children and young adults? You understand what that means, don't you? Out there, somewhere, are people who think they know how to raise your child better than you do. Out there, somewhere, are busybodies and little tin gods of their own tiny universes who think that in a democracy whose foremost precept is one of free and uncensored speech, that some things written for children should not be seen by children.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier has been challenged and banned for nudity and sexual explicitness, for offensive language, and for teaching anti-authoritarianism.

When you control the books that are read, you control the language. When you control language, you control thought. Nothing is more dangerous to the rigid control of authoritarian tyranny than unfettered expression, whether through the spoken word, the written word, or the printed word. And the earlier you can clamp down on the unfettered thought, the better.

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak has been challenged and banned because the character Mickey loses his pants during a fall. This nudity is considered immoral and, by some, pornographic.

The best way to instill an idea in the mind is during childhood. When you teach a child that his or her body is sinful and immoral -- even though Genesis states that we are all created by God in God's image -- then that child is likely to believe it all of his or her life . . . especially if no dissenting voice is allowed to be heard. Likewise, if a child is taught to believe that it is always wrong to question authority, then that child will grow up far more malleable -- far more likely to follow, and far less willing to lead or to rebel . . . even should rebellion be the only just thing to do. Imagine what would have happened had the Founding Fathers been taught ridigly all their lives never to question or rebel against authority.

A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich by Alice Childress has been challenged and banned because of its graphic descriptions of drug use, its mention of Black nationalism, and its portrayal of the life of a heroin addict. It has been called Un-American.

Another reason to control thought through the control of language is to prevent important issues to be confronted. If children never learn about the horrors of drug abuse or the truths of lives lived in poverty, or under the heel of authoritarianism, then they will be less likely to care about such things, or about people who live with such things and under such conditions, when they get older. They may lack sympathy and empathy. they may become cruel and uncaring. ignorance can be as much a lack of human empathy as it can a lack of knowledge.

One of the most common reasons given for challenging Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is that it is "too depressing" for young adults who are reading it.

The wish to protect our children from all harm and all bad feeling is a laudable, even noble, but ultimately fruitless goal. For in doing so we can run the risk of leaving them more vulnerable to those things, not less. Just as the over-use of antibiotics have led to more powerful and harder to fight strains of bacteria, the refusal to confront certain "difficult" or "dangerous" or "depressing" ideas and concepts merely allows those ideas to fester and grow in their darknesses, unseen. When Jews speak of the Holocaust they frequently say, "Never again!" -- but if the subject of the Holocaust is  "too depressing" to address, to read about, or to think about, then it becomes that much easier for it, or something like it, to happen again. And perhaps those children who were told that the fate of Anne Frank was "too depressing" will grow up thinking only happy thoughts -- but at the expense of ever confronting the darkness waiting outside their doors. 

It is only through light that the darkness is banished. If we refuse to shed light, to illuminate, to teach, then the darkness will do nothing but grow, and we who in our ignorance have tried to protect for the best intentioned of reasons, will find out instead that our good intentions have paved us a road to hell.

It is of course up to each of us, as individuals, to decide how best to shed that light. But the least effective means of doing so is to break every lamp in every village and town. Yet that is just what some would have us do. Whether they will get away with it is not their decision, but ours. 

What decision will you make?


Thank you again for your indulgence. I have one more post to make on this subject this week, and I'm not sure how I'm going to approach it yet. As always, we'll see what I do when I get there. Also, sorry for the later-than-usual post, but life with a two-year-old who wants to play with his trucks and can't understand what Daddy does with the clickety-click keyboard all evening. 

See you tomorrow.

Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like the Notes From The News

I grew up in the midwest; I'm used to severe weather and rainstorms that eat rooftops. Now I live in New York and that weather seems to have followed me here . . . sorry about that, by the way. And what it looks like here is we got us a classic nor'easter mixed with a classic sou'wester, which means that I should have brought an extra pair of dry pants with me because my ass is going to get soaked on the way home. But that's neither here nor there, because what is here is the news. What's there I have no idea. You might not want to step in that.

Myst, one of the most popular computer games of the 1990s, is being developed into a feature film. If it stays true to the game, the film will be wonderful to sit through the first time, and then boring and pointless every time you try to watch it after that.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept., Part One: Tony Curtis, who never let his Noo Yawk accent get in the way of turning in awesome performances as women, rich Cary Grant impersonators, and Roman slaves, has died at the age of 85. Bow your heads and say a quick one for one of the good ones.

Because it is never possible to make too much fun of Oliver Stone's pretentiously overwritten and yet hopelessly amateurish scripts, Filmdrunk presents us with the ten worst lines in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, with their hilarious commentary added after each one. And I betcha they had trouble winnowing it down to just ten.

The big question on the minds of everyone -- well, everyone who pays attention to this stuff -- well, everyone like me who needs a hobby (I am a sad, strange little man) -- is whether The Social Network will achieve the coveted 100% Fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com, or whether some troll with a chip on his shoulder will come along and fuck it up. Not mentioning any names, of course . . . like, say, Armond "I'm such a douchebag I gargle vinegar and water" White, whose feelings of inadequacy have sprung forth again, this time in a hilariously over-written pan of the well-regarded film The Town, which allows Armond to throw around a shitload of ten-dollar words and pretend he actually knows what he's talking about, in the funniest display of pseudo-intellectual dick-waving since Ben Stein tried to link Darwin's Theory of Evolution to the Holocaust.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept., Part Two: Greg Giraldo has succumbed to death following his weekend overdose on prescription pills. Giraldo was 44. And you'd think he would have been smart enough at that age to know better than to fuck around with pills, but apparently not. Sorry Greg. Rest in peace.

I got my violence in hi-def ultra-realism, dept.: Trent Reznor has teamed with frequent Tarantino movie producer Lawrence Bender to start pre-production work on an HBO series adaptation of Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero album and alt-reality game project (and holy shit that's a lot of propositions in one sentence). This could be great, or it could just be one more trip to the same drying-up well for Trent, and this just becomes his empire of dirt.

Snooki is writing a novel. I would hereby like to announce that American Literature passed away today. Cause of death is listed as terminal embarrassment.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept. Part Three: Arthur Penn, one of the best directors who ever put his eye to the camera lens, is dead at. Penn did a lot of great things (The Miracle Worker, Missouri Breaks, Night Moves, Penn and Teller Get Killed),  and won a lot of awards, but even if he had never done anything else, Penn would be assured immortality for his groundbreaking, revolutionary work on Bonnie and Clyde, one of those rare films which broke so many molds, and redefined so many things about American cinema, that it's almost impossible to overstate what a towering achievement it is. Bow your heads again, folks. And say thank you to the master as he passes us by.

Finally: There's a Saw 3D poster on Pajiba and . . . uhhh . . . errr . . . aeeee . . . askdflquijybofbvwekl *head goes asplodey*

And that, as they say, is that. Now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we . . .

. . . actually, I have no idea what that is. But I think I saw it once after I ate some brownies after a Grateful Dead concert.


29 September 2010

Hey baby, jump over here, when you do the ooby-dooby I just gotta be near the Notes From The News

Evening all. Had the day off today, which entailed me taking care of my son, going over to a friend's apartment to feed her cats while she was on vacation, going to the grocery store, doing a metric assload of dishes, and a few other things. Some day off. Unfortunately my time ran out on me and I will unable to do a Banned Books Week post today, because I still have other things to do tonight. But the newsnotes are ready to go!

Nominees were announced yesterday for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies, and the bag is getting ever more mixed: Bon Jovi is up, along with the Beastie Boys, Dr. John, J. Geils Band, Tom Waits, and . . . Neil Diamond. Seriously? Neil forever in fucking blue jeans fucking DIAMOND? Someone must have gotten a big ole sloppy beejer for that to happen.

Sooooo, looks like the role of Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes sequel may have been cast . . . and if the reports are true they're going with Mad Men's Jared Harris. Which is an interesting choice, as he's a relative unknown -- and if he turns in a solid performance this could be a huge break for him. And if he fucks it up, he could torpedo the entire franchise. Time will tell.

My big fat geek wedding, dept.: Seth Rogen has gotten engaged to his longtime girlfriend, writer/actress Lauren Miller. Congratulations to the happy couple, and here's hoping it lasts at least a month or two longer than most Hollywood marriages.

John Scalzi lists five years that changed science fiction in film forever. Like, forever, maaaaan! Seriosuly though it's a good list if not a very surprising one, and Scalzi makes some god points with it. Check it out.

NBC has landed a new show from Josh Schwartz, creator of The O. C. It's called . . . ugh . . . Ghost Angeles, and it's a romantic comedy starring Rachel Bilson as a young woman who can talk to spirits, and who helps and is helped by those same spirits. Which is a totally original idea that has never been done before by anyone like, oh, Jennifer Love Hewitt or anything like that. I'm going to go slit my wrists now for some actual entertainment.  

Unlikely rumor is unlikely, dept.: Darren (Pi, Requiem For a Dream, Black Swan) Aronofsky's name is being bandied about as a possibility for the Superman reboot. Can you just imagine Lois Lane and Lana lang in a double anal dildo scene? (And no, I don't want you to Rule 34 me on this, I just want to make bad jokes at Aronofsky's expense before he decides it's a good idea for a depressive and freaked out Clark Kent to take a power drill to his temple.)

Aaaaand finally: George Lucas is going to single-handedly kill the new 3D craze by releasing The Phantom Menace in 3D. So now we may actually have a reason to be thankful that Lucas made The Phantom Menace.

That's it for now. Well, not completely it. Look over there. Now look back.

Snooki's on a horse.

Reasons to love the Internet: Brett Domino

Found by online friend Chaz and forwarded to me, an awesome cover of "Bad Romance (yeah, I'm getting fixated on this song, too bad, bite me, nyah) done entirely on Korg Monotrons and Korg Kaossilators. These guys remind me of Air if Air had been formed by a couple of AV geeks. 

28 September 2010

Banned Books Week: Maus

Note: This week I am breaking my no-politics policy by talking about Banned Books Week, and what it entails, and why it is important. I beg your indulgence and thank you for it.

The Chicago-based American Library Association said [in 2006 that] it knows of at least 14 graphic novel challenges in U.S. libraries over the past two to three years. Among the titles were The Watchmen by Alan Moore, which was challenged in Florida and Virginia as unsuitable for younger readers; Akira, Volume 2 by Katsuhiro Otomo, challenged in Texas for offensive language; and New X-Men Imperial by Grant Morrison, challenged in Maryland for nudity, offensive language and violence.

Even Maus and its sequel, Maus II, were challenged last year in Oregon as anti-ethnic and unsuitable for younger readers.

Sometimes the challenges are successful. In April, county officials in Victorville, Calif., removed from their library Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics, because the book included nudity and sexuality.



There is a certain mentality in this country that still obtains, where a large majority of people see comics and graphic novels as kids' stuff. They see pictures on a page and their brains fly out the window and they can't be bothered with it. There is a certain mentality in this country that turns away from the thought that graphic images can be used to tell a complex, moving, adult story with deeply felt characters and strong, even upsetting events. They see the graphic images and the image goes away, and all that remains is the word graphic. And they associate the word graphic with the pornographic, because that's how the media, especially television, portrays the word before them, from cradle to grave. They see the black and the white and never acknowledge the grey in between the two, no matter how many times you point it out to them. And a parent who thinks nothing of allowing their children to watch the graphic imagery of a hyper-violent action movie (remind me to tell you sometime about seeing children as young as eight or nine in the theater with their folks when I went to see Aliens) would surely howl to see their kids reading a thoughtful, deep, and searching graphic novel such as Blankets, or Ghost World . . . or Maus

Somewhere, there is a failure of the imagination. Somewhere, there is a refusal to see what is being done with these stories. Somewhere there is a refusal even to acknowledge that one form of storytelling can be just as valid as another. And the eyes see only the surface of things, and never delve below, to see the fathomless wonders of the best graphic novels. It's not for nothing that Maus won a special Pulitzer in recognition of what Art Spiegelman was able to achieve with his symbolic representation of his father Vladek's journey through the Holocaust.

And perhaps it is with the symbolism itself that most people have the most problems. Nearly every objection I have ever read to Maus is the way Spiegelman chose to portray his characters -- as stylized animals. Jews are shown as mice, German Nazis as cats, Americans as bulldogs, Poles as pigs, etc. It is here that the anti-ethnic charges against the book seem to crop up. There have been specific objections to the Pole-Pig combination, for instance, as well as to Jews being portrayed as mice, or "rats" if you prefer. but what Spiegelman is doing, and what this type of reader invariably fails to see, is that the animal form does not matter. he is specifically pointing out how silly, and how arbitrary, it is to classify ethnicities as separate groups. At one point in Maus a Jew claims to be German, for instance, yet is still portrayed as a mouse, not as a cat. is this because he's lying -- or because that is how the other Germans -- i.e., the other cats -- perceive him? Or is it how his fellow Jews perceive him?  Elsewhere in the story, Jews wear pig masks to "pass" as Poles . . . yet are still obviously mice in masks. Is it because of the masks, or in spite of them, that they cannot avoid discovery? The questions chase each other and soon our own perceptions are upended as a result.

Spiegelman later compounds this by portraying himself as a man wearing a mouse mask, and his wife Mouly -- a French woman -- as a mouse . . . even though other French people are portrayed as frogs throughout. Is this because Mouly converted to Judaism? Again, Spiegelman eventually reveals how futile, and how meaningless,. such cheap and easy symbolism becomes. If all you look at is the surface, the surface is all you see. If you see nothing but the pig, you will miss the Pole underneath -- and it is telling that some Poles reach out to Vladek and Anja and the other Jews, and hide them at risk of life and limb . . . hardly the acts of pigs, wouldn't you say?

In the end the symbolism is far less important than the story Spiegelman is trying to tell -- that of a man trying to record his father's experiences of the Holocaust, as a means of coming to better understand the father. If we worry ourselves so much with the symbolism that we miss the meaning of the deeper messages, then it is our failure, not Art Spiegelman's. If all we want to do is take offense at the image of an animal on the page, then we have failed. If all we see is that this is not a story that is appropriate for eight year olds (as apparently all comics should be), then we have failed -- especially if we as adults fail to read that story for ourselves and ponder its many meanings, its many questions about how we see others, and how we see ourselves, and how the one can affect the other. And in the end we will miss out, and we will be the poorer, because we have seen only the surface of a book like Maus, but never looked below it to see the unfathomable depths of its tragedies and its triumphs. Maus has changed me a little every time I've read it, because every time I read it I find something new to look at, to think about and contemplate, and to feel about the story.

That is why Banned Books Week is important. Because if books like Maus are removed based on what is seen of the surface, without ever once looking underneath to see what is really there, then we truly have failed. We have failed ourselves. And we have failed our future.

All alone on the bone when I didn't have a home when I saw the Notes From The News

Hi again all. It's a busy day here at the ranch, and I don't have a whole lot of time to chat, especially not if I want to get todays Banned Books Week post up. So rather than waste a lot of time, I'm going to present a ten thousand word treatise on A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, and then  . . . juuuuust kidding. Newsnotes NOW!

Natalie Portman, after years of resisting the idea, is now interested in doing a sequel to Luc Besson's classic The Professional. Therre's even a Besson-written script floating around out there just waiting. Difficulty: Portman would only do the movie if Besson directed. Difficultier difficulty: Besson is retired or semi-retired and there's no guarantee he would un-retire to do this. So is all this talk about a sequel just talk? Probably. But oh man, it would be awesome as an awesome thing to see it happen.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept. (Part One): Sally Menke, Quentin Tarantino's longtime collaborator and editor on every single one of his films, was found dead this morning after going missing during a hike yesterday. Menke had a signature editing style that helped form and shape Tarantino's movies and make them even more singular than they already are. Condolences for sure to Sally's family and to Quentin Tarantino, who must surely be heartbroken right now.

We're getting our first view of post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe, and I have to say, the kid done growed up nice. The Woman In Black is a ghost story adapted from a well-regarded play, and holy mackerel Radcliffe looks good in that pic. That's Mr. Darcy-level handsome. Guess now we'll find out if Radcliffe can do more than squint a lot and look worried.

Stephen Fry will play Mycroft Holmes in the sequel to Guy Ritchie's surprisingly successful (and surprisingly good) Sherlock Holmes. So now you know what's coming: POP QUIZ, hotshot. Who would you cast to play Moriarty? Your answer must be a living actor age appropriate both to the role and to Ritchie's directorial style. Go.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept. (Part Two): Gloria Stuart died in her sleep Sunday at the age of 100. She had a remarkable and well-regarded career in film, in spite of having appeared in James Cameron's Titanic. Normally our condolences would go out to Gloria's family, but Gloria had an incredible and truly blessed life, and she even kicked cancer's ass at a very advanced age. So we will instead congratulate them for having been related to such a tough, amazing person.

Wyclef Jean is in the hospital being treated for "stress." Yeah, dicking around with Hatian politics and calling Sean Penn names will do that. Hey Clef? You know what I do when I get stressed? I fucking suck it up, grow a pair and deal with it, you happy asshole. Of course, Wyclef deals with stress differently, because his stress probably comes out of a needle or a pipe, but hey.

Stick a fork in them, dept.: Kay Perry gets to sing with puppets after all. The Never-Talented will appear in a Christmas episode of The No-Longer-Remotely-Funny Simpsons which will feature the Simpsons characters as puppets. Nothing good can come of this . . . unless it brings about the end of two things that are well past their sell-by dates.

Geekalicious story of the week: Joss Whedon is sounding more and more positive about the Avengers movie he's been tapped to write and direct, in spite of the enormous challenges he's facing in putting it together. Either that or he's scared to death and just talks a good line. We'll see if he can manage to create a script that features his famous character writing, yet curbs his predilection for meandering asides that go nowhere, and for randomly killing beloved characters for no good reason, the cold blooded basted. And no, I still haven't forgiven him for Book or for Wash. "Leaf on the wind," my ass . . .

 I attended the Dwayne Johnson School Of Career Suicide! dept.: Steve Carell, after announcing he is leaving The Office, is inexplicably contemplating filming the least promising sounding script he could find. Burt Wonderstone is about a stage magician who accidentally kills his partner and then loses his, um, "hocus-pocus focus." And yes, that is actually in the film's description. And yes, if I am ever forced to watch something with the words "hocus-pocus focus" in the description I may well do the old 'out, vile jelly" routine and hire myself a guide dog.

Speaking of dogs, I need to go feed the blog-dog:

He's a real problem if he doesn't get his coffee right away.


27 September 2010

Banned Books Week: Slaughterhouse-Five

Note: This week I am breaking my no-politics policy by talking about Banned Books Week, and what it entails, and why it is important. I beg your indulgence and thank you for it.

From the American Library Association's list of banned and/or challenged books, the following:

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Challenged in many communities, but burned in Drake, ND (1973). Banned in Rochester, MI because the novel "contains and makes references to religious matters" and thus fell within the ban of the establishment clause. An appellate court upheld its usage in the school in Todd v Rochester Community Schools, 41 Mich. App. 320, 200 N. W 2d 90 (1972). Banned in Levittown, NY (1975), North Jackson, OH (1979), and Lakeland, FL (1982) because of the "book's explicit sexual scenes, violence, and obscene language." Barred from purchase at the Washington Park High School in Racine, WI (1984) by the district administrative assistant for instructional services.  Challenged at the Owensboro, KY High School library (1985) because of "foul language, a section depicting a picture of an act of bestiality, a reference to 'Magic Fingers' attached to the protagonist's bed to help him sleep, and the sentence: 'The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty."' Restricted to students who have parental permission at the four Racine, WI Unified District high school libraries (1986) because of "language used in the book depictions of torture, ethnic slurs, and negative portrayals of women:' Challenged at the LaRue County, KY High School library (1987) because "the book contains foul language and promotes deviant sexual behavior” Banned from the Fitzgerald, GA schools (1987) because it was filled with profanity and full of explicit sexual references:' Challenged in the Baton Rouge, LA public high school libraries (1988) because the book is "vulgar and offensive:' Challenged in the Monroe, MI public schools (1989) as required reading in a modem novel course for high school juniors and seniors because of the book's language and the way women are portrayed. Retained on the Round Rock, TX Independent High School reading list (1996) after a challenge that the book was too violent. Challenged as an eleventh grade summer reading option in Prince William County, VA (1998) because the book "was rife with profanity and explicit sex:"  Removed as required reading for sophomores at the Coventry, RI High School (2000) after a parent complained that it contained vulgar language, violent imagery, and sexual content.  Retained on the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 reading list in Arlington Heights, IL (2006), along with eight other challenged titles.  A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from  the books she'd found on the internet.  Challenged in the Howell, MI High School (2007) because of the book's strong sexual content.  In response to a request from the president of the Livingston Organization for Values in Education, or LOVE, the county's top law enforcement official reviewed the books to see whether laws against distribution of sexually explicit materials to minors had been broken. "After reading the books in question, it is clear that the explicit passages illustrated a larger literary, artistic or political message and were not included solely to appeal to the prurient interests of minors," the county prosecutor wrote.  "Whether these materials are appropriate for minors is a decision to be made by the school board, but I find that they are not in violation of criminal laws.


I would like to draw your attention to the first sentence, in particular the segment I bolded and italicized. For those of you too lazy to scroll back up, here it is:

Challenged in many communities, but burned in Drake, ND (1973).

Think about that.

Now, here's the story behind it:

To these people, most of them now dead or in their dotage, I would just like to say:  No. No. NO. I don't have to ask why -- I know why, and perhaps I even sympathize with your desire to "protect" the minds of your children from ideas that you find alien, upsetting, and disturbing. But I would also submit to you that you would accomplish more by actually reading these books yourself, and discussing them, and outlining why you dislike or disagree with them. Because what happened in Drake is unconscionable. Those books could have been sold, or donated to libraries, or given away on the god damn street. Instead these cowards burned words on the printed page because they were too frightened to confront them, all in the name of "protecting" their children. And the children refused to go along with it. Bravo to them. I hope they still have their copies. I know I would have saved mine.

There is little I can say in the face of this kind of thing. There is little I can say that would describe the white hot rage that flows through my veins and burns in my heart when I hear of Americans engaging in this kind of primitive, Dark Ages-worthy buffoonery. This kind of cowardice. This kind of shameful behavior. Perhaps there are no words I can say that will matter. None that will sway. Perhaps there is nothing I can add to this week that will not entail me pointing my finger in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-esque pose and screaming. And we've had enough screaming in this country over the last two years, God knows.

In the absence of my own words, however, here are the words of Kurt Vonneguit, in a November, 1973 letter to Charles McCarthy, the man behind the burning:

Dear Mr. McCarthy:

I am writing to you in your capacity as chairman of the Drake School Board. I am among those American writers whose books have been destroyed in the now famous furnace of your school.

Certain members of your community have suggested that my work is evil. This is extraordinarily insulting to me. The news from Drake indicates to me that books and writers are very unreal to you people. I am writing this letter to let you know how real I am.

I want you to know, too, that my publisher and I have done absolutely nothing to exploit the disgusting news from Drake. We are not clapping each other on the back, crowing about all the books we will sell because of the news. We have declined to go on television, have written no fiery letters to editorial pages, have granted no lengthy interviews. We are angered and sickened and saddened. And no copies of this letter have been sent to anybody else. You now hold the only copy in your hands. It is a strictly private letter from me to the people of Drake, who have done so much to damage my reputation in the eyes of their children and then in the eyes of the world. Do you have the courage and ordinary decency to show this letter to the people, or will it, too, be consigned to the fires of your furnace?

I gather from what I read in the papers and hear on television that you imagine me, and some other writers, too, as being sort of ratlike people who enjoy making money from poisoning the minds of young people. I am in fact a large, strong person, fifty-one years old, who did a lot of farm work as a boy, who is good with tools. I have raised six children, three my own and three adopted. They have all turned out well. Two of them are farmers. I am a combat infantry veteran from World War II, and hold a Purple Heart. I have earned whatever I own by hard work. I have never been arrested or sued for anything. I am so much trusted with young people and by young people that I have served on the faculties of the University of Iowa, Harvard, and the City College of New York. Every year I receive at least a dozen invitations to be commencement speaker at colleges and high schools. My books are probably more widely used in schools than those of any other living American fiction writer.

If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don't damage children much. They didn't damage us when we were young. It was evil deeds and lying that hurt us.

After I have said all this. I am sure you are still ready to respond, in effect, "Yes, yes–but it still remains our right and our responsibility to decide what books our children are going to be made to read in our community." This is surely so. But it is also true that if you exercise that right and fulfill that responsibility in an ignorant, harsh, un-American manner, then people are entitled to call you bad citizens and fools. Even your own children are entitled to call you that.

I read in the newspaper that your community is mystified by the outcry from all over the country about what you have done. Well, you have discovered that Drake is a part of American civilization, and your fellow Americans can't stand it that you have behaved in such an uncivilized way. Perhaps you will learn from this that books are sacred to free men for very good reasons, and that wars have been fought against nations which hate books and burn them. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own.

If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the education of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn't even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive.

Again: you have insulted me, and I am a good citizen, and I am very real.

Vonnegut never received a reply from Charles McCarthy.

The insult, however, continues. Slaughterhouse-Five is challenged in and banned from libraries to this day, mostly by people who object to the language and the sexual imagery, who likely have never read the book or who have read only portions of it, and who think that they are the guardians of morality for all of us, not realizing that this country was originally settled by those who came to this continent to escape a very similar type of tyranny. And those who object to this book are unlikely to understand what Vonnegut was trying to say about the horrors of war, because they never knew it as intimately as he did, and will never understand that to call Montana Wildhack obscene in the face of the firebombing of Dresden is the true obscenity.

And of such people I can only respectfully ask:

Why don't you go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don't you take a flying fuck at the moooooooon?

So it goes. 

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, looking for the key to the Notes From The News

Heylo everybody heylo, welcome to the proceedings if you're new here, and welcome back if you've been around for a while, and if you're not here, then I don't know what the hell to say to you. Also, did anyone find out if Harlan Ellison managed to survive the weekend? I had him in the dead pool. Anyway, here's all the news that I print in fits:

Perhaps predictably, the MGM/New Line adaptation of The Hobbit has hit yet another delay, this one in the form of a labor stoppage in New Zealand. Pajiba goes over the sad history of the troubled production, the reasons for the many delays, and why Peter Jackson is really kind of a douche.

Billie Joe Armstrong is going to join the cast of the Green Day musical American Idiot for eight days while a regular cast member takes a personal leave. here's hoping Billie Joe gets good notices, because a Tony award would be the most punk thing EVER.

It's official: Max Weinberg will not be returning to the Conan O'Brien Television Media Type Thingy. Apparently Max will instead focus on his  big band, on his hookers, and on his gig drumming for some songwriter dude from Jersey that nobody's ever heard of.

Johnny Knoxville has gotten married. At press time we were still trying to confirm that he got married in an oversized, rocket propelled shopping cart while wearing a jockstrap, a SCUBA tank, swim mask, and a top hat.

Comedian Greg Giraldo, one of the judges on Last Comic Standing, is in critical condition after overdosing on pills in a New Jersey hotel room on Saturday, possibly as an attempt to dull the pain of being stuck in a hotel room in New Jersey.

Chloe Moretz has parlayed her foul-mouthed, ultraviolent turn in Kick Ass into being the hardest working kid in Hollywood. In addition to having no less than four movies on her schedule, she's also been signed for the title roll in Emily the Strange. Here's hoping she can survive being the target of goth girls' adulation as well as she survived being the target of creepy internet comic book nerds' adulation . . . ew. I think I need a shower after writing that sentence.

Many, many people are wondering if Saturday Night Live copied a sketch idea from Tim And Eric this weekend. I am not one of those people because I do not give a tin shit one way or the other, as I think both shows kinda suck. But it's a slow day and I need to fill some space, so here's the link anyway.
Jerry Seinfeld went on The Today Show this morning to reveal the identity behind the author of the Letters From a Nut books . Turns out it was . . . some nut! Albeit a nut who used to work for Seinfeld. Also, it turns out this bit was done in the 1970s by Don Novello as The Laszlo Letters and it was a lot fucking funnier then.

Mel Gibson may be in talks to appear in an episode of Mad Men. Then again, he may not be. It depends how much you believe Liz Smith. Frankly, I would watch such an episode just for the potential of a "Sugar Tits" line being directed at Christina Hendricks.

Michael Lohan says God wanted Lindsay's release from jail. If that's so then God either works in ways more mysterious than we ever suspected, or else he's just as addicted to TMZ exclusives about her as Lindsay is to booze, coke, pills, public blowjobs, car chases, mug shots, courtroom appearances, bad scripts . . .

You'd think that cheap bitch could afford an umbrella by now, dept.: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is now, 35 years after its release, the longest running limited release movie of all time. Congratulations to Richard O'Brien for giving us Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, and three and a half decades of tarted-up theater majors exploring their gender identity issues while the rest of the audience throws toilet paper at them. God, I love America.

And that's it for now. The new Track By Track column is still being worked on, it's just slow going thanks to work being busy and home being busier, and having a review due for Rambles.NET that I need to get done this week. Hang in there; I'm trying to do the same. 'Twill appear soon, I promise. But not now. Because now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we dance . . .

. . . on second thought, let's not.


24 September 2010

No one knows what it's like to be the bad man, to be the sad man, behind the Notes From The News

Hey there hi there ho there! Another week is behind us, the weekend is in front of us, and if fate is kind by around midnight half of us will be in the middle of the rest of us. And while you ponder the tangling of my syntax and my (alleged) joke, here now the news:

Parole is for the little people, dept.: Jail, no bail. 'Nuff said.

Mr. Big isn't very from what I've heard, dept.: Chris Noth is bitching like a bitchety bitch because he thinks the press killed the Sex and the City franchise. Yes, Chris. it was the press. Not the fact that everything about the SatC franchise was shallow, unredeeming, unrewarding crapola that objectified narcissism and selfishness. And your reaction is a pretty good reflection of that because I bet you're only bitching since you found out that your career is in the shitter thanks to your association with it, aren't you Chris? Awwwww. Po' babay.

You had me at good-bye, dept.: Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson and writer/director Cameron Crowe are finally divorcing after separating two years ago. The pair were married twenty years and have ten year old twin boys. Wilson wants joint custody, but Cameron's probably smoked it all by now.

I don't want to go on the cart, dept.: Eddie Fisher passed away on Wednesday at age 82, after complications from a recent hip surgery. For those of you not up on such things, I'll save you a Google: Fisher was a successful pop singer in the 1950s who eventually became better known and more notorious for his bitter, extremely public divorce of America's then-sweetheart Debbie Reynolds when he left her for Elizabeth Taylor, who as we all know is someone everybody wanted to marry, and who practically everyone did marry after a while. Fisher is survived by three of his four wives, and his children Todd and Carrie. So long, Eddie. I hope you have better luck with women in the next life than you had with them here.

Paladin of the last hour, dept.: Speaking of dying, Harlan Ellison is apparently planning to drop dead onstage at Madcon 2010 this weekend. Either that, or this is just more of Harlan's endless, occasionally amusing kvetching (though apparently Harlan's health is not the best right now, which I am genuinely sad to hear). Whichever, if you live in the area and are a fan, you may want to get a weekend pass just to be on the safe side.

Do you find this amusing? dept.: Goodfellas screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi is writing a Goodfellas tv series, and everyone's excited about it, which is kinda stupid because we've all seen Goodfellas about eleventy bajillion times. But hey, if you only have one note I guess you gotta play it for all it's worth.

It's yesterday once more, dept.: the reunited Stone Temple Pilots have put their "This Is The Only Way We Can Make Any Money" tour on hold for a bit because Scott Weiland has decided to enter a Tibetan monastery and attain oneness with the universe through meditation and fasting -- naaahhhh, I'm shittin' you. Weiland had another of his memorable on-stage drunken meltdowns the other night, and it was pretty much what we've come to expect from Scotty, only fifteen years after anything he did or said was actually relevant.

Truth, justice, and the Hollywood way, dept.: There's forward motion on the Superman reboot: producer Christopher Nolan is looking for a director for the property. the short list includes names like Tony Scott (Unstoppable), Matt Reeves (Let Me In), Duncan  Jones (Source Code), Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch), and Jonathan Liebesman (about to direct Clash of the Titans 2). The one thing all these directors seem to share is an unshakable mediocrity, which leads me to believe that maybe Nolan doesn't care as much about the big blue boy scout as we were led to believe. Sorry Supes, but at least there's always Teri Hatcher if you get lonely.

Where's the beef, dept: the designer of Stefani Germanotta's let's-be-shocking-for-the-
sake-of-being-shocking meat dress (over which which Ms. Germanotta did insane rhetorical backflips to connect it vaguely with the DADT repeal campaign), has revealed what will become of the, er, material: it will be turned into jerky. You may now commence making every single horrible-funny joke I've been thinking for the last half hour.

Jabba-jabba-jabba-jabba, Jabba-jabba-jabber-Jaw, dept.: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been forced to apologize after saying in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that he's hoping Americans will be too self-absorbed to notice that Netflix pricing is lower in Canada than it is here. Yeah, and you were doing a real good job at keeping that secret until a few days ago, dumbass.

And the seventh seal was broken, dept.: Noted drunken fame whore Snooki is "quietly working" -- which means it's been leaked to the press, because nothing this broad does is quiet -- on putting together her "first" album. And what will probably also be her "last" album, because let's face it, her tits are more talented than the rest of her and her fifteen minutes are about up.  Though as Jeremy Feist noted on Pajiba, "I swear to God, if she does a cover of 'We Represent The Lollipop Guild,' I will crap bricks."

Finally, I'm ending on a serious note here: I rarely if ever allow Nighthawk Postcards to address political concerns. but one area where I make an exception is Banned Books Week, which is coming up next week, and for which the New York Times  has ten suggestions on how parents, readers, and educators alike can celebrate the week. I want to make something perfectly clear here: I do not believe that there is any idea so incendiary, so frightening, or so out and out wild that it cannot/should not be written about, read, or discussed. There is an appropriate age, time and place for all these things to happen of course, and I would not recommend that eight year olds be allowed to read certain materials -- but it is the province of parents to make that decision individually about and for their children. As a parent and more importantly as an American I neither want nor need a bunch of "old lady judges" (as Bob Dylan so memorably phrased it) telling me what is appropriate for my child, or for my local library. Because guess what, folks? If you don't like a book you don't have to read it. I'd like to repeat that because it seems vaguely important: If you don't like a book you don't have to read it. But don't you fucking dare presume to make decisions for me and for my family because you are such a coward that you cannot allow yourself to entertain ideas and thoughts (oh my god, THOUGHTS) that challenge your precious sensibilities and offend your precious petticoated morals. Take your hands off of my libraries, and let me decide for myself what my children should read. And I will do you the same courtesy.

Okay, that's it. I'm taking my serious hat off, because now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we have a Diesel engine put in the car:

. . . what?

Have a good weekend!

23 September 2010

On a boat in the middle of a raging sea, she would make a scene for it all to be the Notes From The News

Good afternoon, and welcome to Nighthawk Postcards. I'm your host, please have a seat, the waiter will be along shortly to spill your drinks in your lap. We have a fine selection of newsnotes available today; may I be so bold as to recommend the ridiculous court decision with a side of snark to start, followed perhaps by a main course of actor thinks he's brilliant when he's really a douchebag? Yes? Excellent. Let's begin, then -- I see that your drinks have arrived. Ooops! Here, let me get you a towel as you read:

A judge has ruled that the Steven Spielberg-produced movie Disturbia somehow did not steal the plot of Hitchcock's Rear Window, in spite of the fact that when you watch the movies one after the other it's pretty obvious that it did and that Disturbia sucks sulfurous egg salad out of a monkey's ass. Apparently the judge must have thought there was precedent in hacks ripping off Hitchcock after watching Body Double and Dressed to Kill.

Joaquin Phoenix went on Letterman last night to confirm what everyone with half a brain in their head has known for the last fucking year anyway: namely, that his "decision" to "quit" acting and start a "rapping career" was so much "bullshit" cooked up by Phoenix and "Casey Affleck" as a "joke" against "Hollywood," and why can't I "stop" using "quotations?" Anyway, Phoenix stressed that Letterman wasn't in on the joke -- even though one of David's producers already said that Dave knew about it from start to finish, so Phoenix is still incapable of being truthful about his bullshit little comedy routine. If there is any justice at all in this world then somewhere, Andy Kaufman is getting ready to end his "death" just so he can come back and beat the snot out of Joaquin Phoenix's smug, smirking face with a Louisville Slugger.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have been officially installed as the new judges on the upcoming season of American Idol. In related news, I would like to announce that I will be setting fire to my copy of Toys In the Attic as a sacrificial offering to appease the god of What The Fuck Were You Thinking, Steven?

Master animation director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo) says that Studio Ghibli may go out of business, depending on the success of its next two films in the United States. Given that Ghibli's films have done about  $10-15 million in business on average here and about ten times that much business worldwide, Miyazaki's statement seems kind of odd and doesn't make much sense . . . not unlike a lot of anime, really. So, par for the course?

Carla Gugino will join Jim Carrey in filming the sounds-obscene-but-actually-
isn't family film Mr. Popper's Penguins. The movie is adapted from the well regarded children's book, and is basically another excuse to let overgrown man-boy Jim Carrey pretend he's a good actor by allowing him to over-emote, work his face like a burlesque dancer on bennies works a feather boa, and chew every bit of scenery he can clamp his teeth onto. Lots of  luck there, Carla.
Site favorite Courtney Enlow chimes in on Pajiba with her two cents about Lindsay Lohan's new round of trouble goddamn stupidity, and points out that there is at least one person involved in this mess who is every bit to blame and as irresponsible as Lindsay is . . . but you'll have to click through and read it for yourself. because I'm a bitch that way.

Fifty years or so ago, cognac was the reserved province of well to do white men who collected vintage bottles and made an entire connosieurs' club out of it. Now, in a delightful act of reverse cultural appropriation, hip hop artists and urban black males have become the primary drinkers and purchasers of cognac, to the point where Kanye West was guzzling from a cheap ass bottle of it the night he charged the stage at the VMAs last year and made an ass of himself. Now, Dr. Dre has a signature line of cognac due out later this month, so things will come full circle: white suburban males who drive Hummers and are insecure about the size of their dicks can feel just like drunk-ass rap stars. Meanwhile, I'll be over here having a glass of good scotch and wondering when the fuck I became that "get off my lawn" guy.

Kevin Smith continues his long string of fucking up actors' careers by luring them into the schlocktacular cinematic landfills he calls his movies. This time the victims are John Goodman, Kevin Pollack, Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner, Stephen Root and Oscar nominee Melissa Leo, all of whom start filming Smith's Red State this week. The movie is about a baptist minister who . . . ehhhh . . . ah, fuck it. You know what, I don't care. Smith hasn't made a good movie in years (read: ever). So there's no point in recapping this one for you.

Noted woman of letters Courtney Love, who is also a woman of needles, pipes, and shrill, unlistenable pseudo-punk, is writing a piece for the New Yorker. Only the New Yorker apparently doesn't know that. Surprise! 

One of these things is not like the other, dept.: The producers of Sesame Street have, in a rare display of common sense and propriety in the Elmo Era, decided not to run a clip of Katy Perry and the Elmster singing a song called "Hot N' Cold" on the show. Whether this had to do with the quality of the song, the potential for the high shrill and annoying factor of Katy and Elmo being in the same scene together actually exploding children's faces, or the fact that Katy's tits were practically slapping Elmo in his Muppety little head the entire time because they were blobbing out of her bustier, we do not know. But thank you, Sesame Street, for preventing parents everywhere from having to throw bricks through their TV sets.

And finally: Facebook CEO, sweetheart of a human being, compassionate Boy Scout and NOT AT ALL AN OPPORTUNISTIC, SELFISH SOCIOPATHIC DOUCHEWAFFLE Mark Zuckerberg is creating a $100 million dollar challenge grant for Newark, NJ schools in order to help them perform better. The fact that this is perfectly timed to coincide with the release of the film The Social Network, which TOTALLY UNFAIRLY paints Mark as a power-hungry ass-wookie with no regard for anyone around him, is surely a coincidence. Surely! because MARK IS A REALLY NICE GUY, WE SWEAR. You believe us, don't you?

Well, I guess I better go log onto Facebook and see if I still have an account. Hope you enjoyed today's especially wordy, extra-bitchy edition of Notes From the News. Now is the time on Nighthawk Postcards when we go driving:

Hey Mister, can I have my bumper back please? I need it for tomorrow's update!


22 September 2010

Day after day, I will walk, and I will play. But the day after today, I will stop, and I will start the Notes From The News

Hey there internetterazzi! Hope you're well, and if you're not then I hope you will be soon. Lots and lots of stuff to get to today, a lot of it music related for once, which doesn't always happen around here. So you'll excuse me if I leave off the usual pontificating (you there in the back, stop applauding or you'll have to leave), and get right into today's newsnotes:

Jerry Garcia's last home before he died is up for sale. The 11 acre Marin County estate is valued at $4 million dollars, and any leftover pot, acid, coke or heroin you find hidden around the grounds is yours to keep.

Christopher Nolan is considering turning Inception into a video game. But honestly? It needs to be an MMORPG in order to be as truly immersive as the film was. You mustn't be afraid to dream big, darling.

Feist has a documentary film coming out called Look at What the Light Did Now. It's about the recording of and tour for her album The Reminder, and it looks like a slice of pure awesome. Go have a look at the trailer. Unless of course you're not into Feist. In which case I shall never speak to you again.

Jodie Foster says that Mel Gibson's drunken, abusive, racist ass is all right with her. And it will be as long as the recent film they did together hasn't been released and needs to be promoted.

R.E.M. has just finished recording its fifteenth studio album, which will be due out sometime next Spring. You may now commence arguing whether the band started to suck after everyone started to like them, after Bill Berry left them, or after Michael Stipe started enunciating his lyrics better on Lifes Rich Pageant. or you could just, you know, be a fan and actually buy the fucking thing. *shakes head* God damn internet.

Good news: Boardwalk Empire has been renewed by HBO for a second season. Bad news: this means we will doubtless be subjected to more horrifyingly graphic images of Prohibition-era violence, crime, and Steve Buscemi having sex. *shudder*

Pee-wee Herman has a blog on Huffington Post, and in it he recaps the first episode of the new season of Dancing With the Stars, and it is absolutely fucking hysterical. (Full disclosure: my wife is addicted to that show, and was quite put out when our two-year-old pitched a fit and wouldn't let her change the channel to watch it on Monday. I think I may need to put a TiVo on the Christmas list.)

Wyclef Jean is announcing that he's bowing out of his bid for the Hatian presidency -- just weeks after being forcibly booted from his bid for the Hatiian presidency. Surely the fact that Clef has a new album coming out had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. Surely not, no!

Geektastic news of the day: Legendary Pictures is planning a new Godzilla movie that will apparently pay homage to the originals and avoid the lame-o-riffic ideas that turned the Roland Emmerich version into an unbelievable shitstorm of, well, shit. So far Producer Brian Rodgers is saying the appropriate things, and it sounds like a good idea -- if you can ignore the fact that the film's Godzilla is going to be CGI. And the movie itself will be in 3D . . . so, wait. They're avoiding the sucktastic decisions how, again? (Link contains bonus killer promo art)

Li'l Bow Wow, dept.: 50 Cent has started a Twitter account for Oprah Winfrey. But Jay, I hear you ask, doesn't Oprah Winfrey already have a Twitter account? At which point I tell you that the Oprah Winfrey in this case is Fitty's dog, and your brain goes kerfliffle out your ears.

And finally: Some of the cast of The Breakfast Club reunited to celebrate the *gulp* 25th anniversary of the film, and holy shit I think I just aged about that many years thinking about how old I was when I saw it in the theater. Notably absent from the reunion were Paul Gleason, who is dead, and Emilio Estevez, who is somewhere in a distant land searching for the tattered remnants of his lost career, cursing Charlie Sheen in a cracked, half-mad voice, and wondering why the Mighty Ducks producers won't return his fucking calls any more, the ungrateful pricks.

And that's it from me. Remember to keep smiling, keep well, and keep on telling it like it is . . .

. . . no matter what you happen to be doing.

Laters, skaters!

21 September 2010

She was an American girl, raised on the Notes From The News

Well well, here we are again, back on the entertainment reporting chain gang. I know yesterday was a bit of a slog, but that's kinda what happens when, well, nothing happens. At least, nothing that I cared to report on. I know LiLo fucked her shit up big time, and Paris got probation, but honestly I can't being myself to give a rancid rat's asshole about either one of them. Nor am I especially interested in Elisabeth Moss' apparently Scientology-related divorce. The shit bores me, not least because I'd be a lot more excited if Christina Hendricks was going back on the market. But that's neither here nor there, as there are newsnotes to poison your interwebs with. So, off we go:

Katy Perry. Sesame Street. More inappropriate than you could ever imagine. If you let your children watch this then you are the worst fucking parent in the world. And Elmo, shame on you. AutoTune? Shaaaaaaame on you.

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master has been put on indefinite hold  because Anderson can't "overcome" something, according to actor Jeremy Renner. If this is anything like what Mark Wahlberg couldn't overcome in Boogie Nights, then I feel really bad for Anderson.

Some time ago, S-F author and blogger John Scalzi held a fan fiction contest to explain, rationalize, or otherwise describe what the fuck is going on in this image. (That's Scalzi as the orcish dude, and yep, site favorite Wil Wheaton in his legendary clown sweater riding the kittypegacorn.) Response was overwhelming, but winners were finally chosen, and the best responses were recently gathered in a downloadable chapbook, which is available through Scalzi's great blog Whatever, a new addition to our blogroll on the right over there. The download is free, but you also have the opportunity to donate to a worthy cause, the Lupus Alliance. I know times are tough, but you might want to pop over there and drop a fiver and have yourself a geeky good time. Because in spite of what House says, sometimes it is Lupus.

Fuck Cancer, dept.: Andy Whitfield will not be returning to his starring role on Spartacus: Blood and Sand next season because he's going to be too busy battling Stage 1 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Sorry about that folks, but at least we'll still get to see Xena's boobies from time to time. And here's hoping Andy has a speedy recovery very soon.

Turns out that, surprise surprise, David Letterman was in on Joaquin Phoenix's douchetastic little "joke," because of course he was. Letterman is in on all the unfunny jokes.

Because Hollywood can't help but fuck up a good thing when it sees it, Orson Scott Card's script for his Ender's Game adaptation has been turned over to Gavin Hood . . . who directed X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Yeah. Sorry about that Orson. Better luck with the Alvin Maker books.

So, say you're Kanye West -- no, no, wait, before you reach for the arsenic and razor blades, hear me out. So say you're Kanye and you release a single in wwhich you tell Saturday Night Live to not only kiss your whole ass, but also to kiss your asshole. Aside from being sued by Jay-Z for stealing his shit from "99 Problems," what do you think will happen? Well, if you guessed being named musical guest on the night Bryan Cranston hosts the show, you guessed right. Okay, you can stop pretending to be Kanye now, which I'm sure is a relief to you.  If only Kanye were so lucky.

Let me tell you about how my career got flipped turned upside down, dept.: Justin Bieber is now developing a movie script with Will Smith. Apparently what's happened here is thatWill hasn't had any luck finding any talented children in his own family, so now he's trying to outsource.

And finally, this just in: Randy Quaid may well be utterly and irrevocably out of his god damn mind. Either that, or Ronda Quaid has some tall motherfuckin' explaining to do. Either that, or Catherine revved up the microwave again.

. . . well, that's all I got here. Hope the rest of your day goes well, and that you enjoy yourself in whatever you're doing.

. . . even if you're just putting t-shirts on display.

Till next time!

20 September 2010

Little ditty about Jack and Diane, two American kids growing up in Notes From The News-land

The weekend is over, the new week just begun, and after a day of obsessively searching the internet I've decided to stop looking at your sister's boobs and instead put up a blog post. Lot of TV-centric stories going on right now, mostly because of the new season starting, so be warned. Onward:

For instance: The season premiere of The Apprentice was the lowest rated episode in the show's history, hopefully proving that the novelty of Donald Trump's big mouth and stupid god damn hair have finally worn off. Bonus: the premiere failed against reruns on CBS and ABC.

Sarah Silverman is going to make us pay for what Jimmy Kimmel used to see for free every night, by going full frontal in a new movie directed by Sarah Polley, who I personally would much rather prefer to see in a full frontal scene, but eh, whatever. It's not like I'm going to see this movie  unless I catch it on late night cable anyway.

Kelly McGillis married her girlfriend Melanie Leis last Wednesday, news that is sure to startle Tom Cruise and send him running for the mouthwash. And before you take offense on Kelly's behalf, maybe I'm making the joke at reportedly-rabidly-homophobic Tom's expense. Juuuuust maybe.

J. J. Abrams is said to be pitching a comedic drama starring Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn (LOST‘s Ben Linus and John Locke) as former black-ops agents. All he needs now is to bring in the Cloverfield monster and some Red Matter to make a genuinely confusing trainwreck out of it.

Stephen King is guesting on an episode of Sons of Anarchy this season, and does an interview about it here. His character's name? Bachman. Looks like all things really do serve the Beam.

Jenniver Love Halfwitt -- er, Hewitt, sorry -- is trying anything in her power to get herself and her boobs and her line-reading abiltiy (we'll not dignify it by calling it "acting") and her boobs and her hair and her boobs back on TV. To that end she and her boobs are going to star in a half hour sitcom for Fox described as a female version of Big Bang Theory. what this actually means other than Hewitt possibly wearing glasses and clothing that accentuates her boobs, I do not know. but some of the hacks -- um, talent, sorry -- behind Wild Hogs and the recent Nancy Drew movie are behind it, so you know it's going to be good -- er, sucktacular, sorry. Say, did I mention that Jennifer Love Hewitt has boobs? Because she has boobs. Boobs boobs boobs boobsy boobs.

A jury has awarded a $40,000 judgment against Kid Rock and his entourage for assaulting a man in a Waffle House restaurant. The foreman of the jury said they took a look at Rock and honestly didn't think he had more than $40k to spare.

You and your concept are sooooo high dude, dept.: Producers of Glee and 24 are pooling their (aHEM) considerable creative resources to come up with a character driven show that "deals with making people face their worst fears and phobias." There is no truth to the rumor that said therapy will involve being kneecapped by a belligerent, shouty, frequently drunken FBI man while a swing choir mashes up Journey, Van Halen and Cee Lo in the background.

And finally: Fantasy author and satirist Sir Terry Pratchett was so excited after being knighted by the queen that he actually forged his own sword to mark the occasion. Glad to see that he had the mettle for such a thing.

Well, when you end on a horrible pun like that there's nowhere to go but down:

. . . I totally meant to do that.

Be excellent to each other!