Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hot or Not? Um, generally, not

Even when I lived in DC, I found The Hill newspaper's annual Hottest People on Capitol Hill section ridiculous -- yet, I think I've read about 4 years worth of them at this point. Not because I seek them out, mind you -- but, it's because I love, love, love the annual mocking from Wonkette on the topic.

A little slice of joy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Feast of Saint Bastard (Happy Corruption Day!)

As Eddie Izzard once said: "What have you been reading, the Gospel According to Saint Bastard?"

That's what I would say to the glut of politicians being investigated, indicted or sentenced today for corruption. More on the patron saints of bastardom, after the jump.

Our all-star line-up of criminal politicians kicks off with a Republican Senator from Alaska:

Saint Ted: Patron Saint of Unseemly Renovations -- Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, has been indicted on SEVEN, count them, SEVEN felony charges related to accepting illegal gifts for renovations on his home in Anchorage. I guess once you've been in the Senate for 40 years, you start to get a little too comfortable and think you're under the radar. Not so much. Of course, Saint Ted has claimed his innocence, but much like Joan of Arc, he'll probably be burned at the stake -- in that metaphorical political career ending way.

Saint Sharpe: Patron Saint of Adulterous Real Estate -- Sharpe James, the former Mayor of Newark and politician with the best name I've heard in a long time, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for selling city land to his mistress at a "special rate"... Ahem. I'm sure the treatment he's been getting at home since this came out from his wife of 44 years is as bad as the treatment he'll get in prison.

The Promised Land for Corrupt Saints: Cleveland -- We haven't found out who the patron saint of Cleveland is yet. But based on the fact that nearly every public building was raided by the Feds on Monday as part of a public corruption probe, I bet we've got a couple warriors of St. Bastard soon to be named. This is something to keep an eye on, for sure.

So, that's it for the Patron Saints of Corruption on this Feast of Saint Bastard. Until next year, soldier on corrupt keepers of the public good, soldier on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My 90s Crushes

You know, I spend a lot of time reminiscing about all those great coming-of-age 80s movies and the actors that defined them. But, the truth is, I was nine at the end of the 80s, so while I certainly enjoy those movies, at the time that they originally aired and caused hysteria among teen girls everywhere, I was probably playing with my Popples and beheading my Barbies (another story for another time).

Which is why, I think, it’s time to get on to the decade that really mattered: the 90s. I’d like to look back and say that I was way too cool for celeb crushes and that I’m not even just the littlest bit familiar with the mags Teen Beat, Bop and yes, The Big Bopper. But you know me better than that. I mean, I watch “Gossip Girl,” and “The Hills,” for god’s sakes.

So, since I’m in a bloggy and nostalgic mood, I think it’s about time I detail my Top 5 crushes from the 90s.

Jared Leto

Man, he’s an asshole now, right? No matter. Before Cameron Diaz, before the eyeliner, before that band with the terrible name that I refuse to look up, before I started reading detailed reports of his asswipey-ness everywhere, Jared Leto was simply Jordon Catalano on one of my (still) all-time favorite TV shows, “My So-Called Life.”

Why was Jordan so dreamy? Well, he was really hot. Looking back, I think that was pretty much it. I mean, he certainly wasn’t very smart, although he was quiet and brooding, which sometimes points to intelligence below the surface. Not in this case, but whatever. I remember being crushed by Jordan and Rayanne when they hooked up (although Rayanne went on to redeem herself in my eyes with a stunning perfomance in the school’s rendition of “Our Town”), and that was pretty much just one of many moments when I should have decided that he was not worthy of Angela. But I got over it, because he was gorgeous.

Jay Frank

Um, yeah. For those who didn’t obsessively watch every minute of every episode of every season of “The Real World” in the 90s, you may have missed Jay, one of the castmembers of the mostly uneventful London season. (Although remember dude that got his tongue bit off? That shit was fucked up!)

Anyway, Jay was sweet, smart, unassuming, and totally devoted to his girlfriend back home in Portland. In other words, he probably wouldn’t make it past the first round of auditions to get on the show now. But what I loved most about Jay was that he wrote and acted in a one-man show “Bedroom.” And he wrote it when he was, like, 16. Which made me love him because I already considered myself a writer, but also because I thought that through crushing on him (and his accomplishments) I might be able to accomplish some of those lofty achievements myself. Uh, yeah, so I didn’t end up writing and acting in a one-man screenplay. But I have seen pretty much every episode of "Law & Order," which is not necessarily related, but should be considered impressive nonetheless.

The Bros From Wings

I don’t care what anyone says, "Wings" was a great show. And even though I had no idea where Nantucket was for the duration of the show, I still tuned in every week (and later in re-runs) to see what shenanigans Joe and Brian got themselves into. Now, given my preference for brainy, thoughtful dudes, it would seem that Joe would be the clear object of my affection here. But! Joe was kind of a hard-ass, and sometimes it was to the point of being annoying and unattractive. And that time, my affections would switch to Brian, who wasn’t so obsessed with Helen, and was undeniably charming. I figured I could be the one to make him settle down. Or something.

Anyway, my crushes on these guys went on for a long time, until Tim Daly and Steven Weber started taking on roles in decidedly creepy movies-of-the-week, likely in attempt to be perceived as someone other than the guys from Wings. Tim Daly as David Koresh creeped me the hell out, and I’ve never seen the actual version of “The Shining” because Steven Weber’s sanitized NBC version of Jack scared the living shit out of me.

John Cusack in “Grosse Pointe Blank”

Yeah, sometimes it’s a little hazy, but there was a Cusackian era in-between his stellar, career-defining roles in 80s flicks like “Better Off Dead,” and “Say Anything” and the bullshit he regularly ends up in now, like “Must Love Dogs.”

John Cusack was still highly crush-worthy, in my opinion, in this 1997 movie about a professional assassin who goes back to his hometown and attends his 10-year high school reunion. Definitely not ‘80s-era Cusack anymore, but still a hottie.

Elijah Wood

Definitely saved the best for last. I was intensely, disturbingly obsessed with Elijah Wood as a teenager, something that only became OK with friends and family after he became famous again a few years ago. Well, to clarify, I was still mocked about this when we has playing a Hobbit, but then he was in Eternal Sunshine and Sin City and now he comes across as an affable, well-adjusted guy with some indie cred. So I’m not a total dork. Anyway.

Not sure why I loved Elijah so intensely, but I did. He seemed smart, I guess, and he was my age, which always seemed important should we meet in real life. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every movie Elijah Wood was in up until 1996 or so… I also have managed to store lots of Elijah-related trivia in my mind from those years. Did you know, for example, that one of his first roles was in Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” music video? AND! He was in extra in one of the “Problem Child” movies.

Yeah, he was. Bet you didn’t know those things. I spent way too much time obsessing over Elijah, which included clipping articles about him and watching “The Adventures of Huck Finn” over and over and over. I cheered when the mom dropped Macauley Culkin instead of Elijah off the cliff at the end of “The Good Son” and went out to the movie theater for the first showing of “North.”

Honorable mention:
Devon Gummersall as Brian Krakow. Yeah, he was the one who really wrote that insanely beautiful and thoughtful letter to Angela (Jordan took the cred) in “My So-Called Life.” Let’s face it—I probably couldn’t have hooked up with Jordan in real life, and since I’m a very practical person, Brian was a better bet. My crush was appropriately, uh, crushed, when Devon went on to play a character that raped the Red Ranger in “Felicity.” Sigh.

I Didn't Even Know How Much I Missed Mad Men

You know, I love "Mad Men," but I almost forgot the season premiere was coming on last night. And that’s the thing about the show—it tends to move a bit slowly and sometimes it doesn’t feel like much is happening (so it doesn’t create that week-to-week or season-to-season anticipation that other, more action-packed shows do), but when it’s on, I become completely and totally submerged in every gorgeously crafted minute of it.

More on why I like "Mad Men" (and SPOILERS from last night’s episode), after the jump.

1.) The style is nine kinds of fabulous. Yes, it’s obvious, and yes, it’s a common thing that fans love about the show, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating here. Despite the stellar dialogue, I could almost be happy watching the show with the sound off, just to see and observe all the era-appropriate design choices Matt Weiner & Co. make, from the outfits—Betty’s riding outfit last night was stunning—to the furniture and interior design at Sterling Cooper.

2.) This show rewards loyal viewers. It’s weird, but it kind of reminds me of “The Wire,” in the way the show tells its stories. Other, less confident shows, would have made a point of wrapping up last season’s cliffhangers in the first half hour—but Mad Men is so well-paced that it wasn’t until after the show aired that I realized we still didn’t know exactly what happened with Peggy’s baby. And that’s ok. I’m sure they’ll lay it all out for us organically, in a way that’s satisfying to the viewers, in due time. Another example—I think any other show would have made a point of letting us know exactly who Don was sending that book to in the closing scene (probably with a nice, obvious close-up of him writing out there address) just to drive home the point that there’s Trouble Afoot In Paradise. But we don’t know, and who knows when we will? I’m fine with that.

3.) This probably overlaps a bit with 2, but I love the subtlety of the character development between seasons one and two. We know that we’ve moved forward in time, but not so much that anything hugely significant has taken place. But Don has gone from suave and in control to somewhat vulnerable and definitely showing his age. Betty seems to have grown more confident, although she’s still obviously a wee bit nutso (trading on your sexuality late at night on a desolate street for a discount on a fan belt is never a good idea, folks!)… but while there are changes, they’re still the same characters. Those minor tweaks represent growth (either positive or negative) but in a way that’s realistic to the characters we spent the first season getting to know.

A few other things I loved about last night’s show:
-Sal is…married?!
-The Jackie O. tour of the White House
-Peggy dressing down Don’s new secretary the same way Joan did with her last year
-Joan showing Peggy the what’s-what by putting the Xerox in her office
-Roger (he’s always outstanding)

Did you watch? What did you like/dislike? Who do you think Don’s sending the package to? I think the obvious choices are Midge (the mistress from season one) or Rachel, (the head of Menken’s).

UPDATE: EW's TV Watch recap is here. Happy that I'm not the only one seeing the parallels to "The Wire."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On Mitt

With the VP selection process heating up, and many signs pointing our favorite perfectly coiffed Mormon for the Republican nomination -- I thought I'd share a great synopsis of my feelings for the dear ol' varMitt:

From Matthew Yglesias with The Atlantic:
He wound up losing because, basically, people find him loathesome. Some find him loathesome because of his religion, some because of his flip-flopping, and others just because he's loathesome. But whatever the reason, people just really don't like Mitt Romney. Putting him on the ticket seems like an obvious recipe for disaster, but a potential boon to progressive bloggers who are really in need of a mockable choice.
So, please, John McCain -- pick Mitt Romney -- for the sake of my blogging mojo!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grab your horse and come along...

I emailed Snopes to see if they would be interested in getting to the bottom of the Great Joe Torres mystery. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a little wild and a little strange...when you make your home out on the range

Folks, a year and four months ago, I was living (or more accurately, just kinda, sorta existing) in Texas, shoveling fast food down my gullet and spending an obscene amount of time on the Internet. (Hey, one big change a year ain’t so bad.)

But, most importantly, a year and four months ago, I authored The Most Important Blog Entry Of Our Time, one that my co-blogger Laura tells me is responsible for much of the random traffic our fledgling site gets. The entry, ladies and gents, was about the whereabouts of “Hey Dude’s” Joe Torres (aka Danny Lightfoot). The gist: I tried to get to the bottom of (or, um, searched the web for about 15 minutes in an effort to confirm or dispel) a pervasive Internet rumor that Torres had died in the last few years of kidney failure.

After receiving a random comment on that entry this weekend (said commenter basically asked if I had gotten off my ass and made any effort toward finding Torres…and the short answer is, uh, no), we decided it was time for an update.

As usual, my investigative work is best done from the couch, in my pajamas.

-In 2007, I “reported” that Joe Torres’ Wikipedia entry stated that he was last spotted in a Tucson bar called The Golden Nugget. In the past year and four months, that entry has been edited, and The Golden Nugget sighting is gone. Mysterious.

-Apparently I wasn’t thorough enough in my web research last year to discover that a web effort had formed and was already on the hunt for Torres. In 2006, this dude launched an “official” Where Is Joe Torres? Campaign. I have not seen any updates to the effort since the original post; however, t-shirts are available.

-Another guy posted about the controversy in Nov. 2007 on Yelp. In his post, he notes that Torres' IMDB profile has been edited—a credit for the role of “Drunken Indian” in the film “Hindustani” has been deleted, as well as a note about the rumor of his demise due to kidney failure. Hmm.

-This bizarre, random and totally unsourced page hosted on eBay states that “despite rumors to the contrary, Jose (Joe’s real name) is still alive and well and living in Tucson, Arizona.” And yes, I realized that it points to the Wikipedia page, but that page neither confirms or denies the kidney failure rumor. Ummm…I prefer my unsubstantiated news from Perez Hilton, thanks. still reports that Joe died of kidney failure after living for years on a reservation. BUT! Other reports say that Joe was Mexican-American, not Native American, so that doesn’t really fly for me.

-The Golden Nugget was voted “Best Low Brow Ambience” by Tucson Weekly in 2001. So you know.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh, Laura....

This one's for you.

Yeah, This Is Totally Not New

But it still cracks me up every single time. Rob showed this to me a year or so ago, and I stumbled onto it again tonight. Hilarious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Maybe This Will Hold Me Over Until Dollhouse

Joss Whedon fans: Doctor Horrible, Act 1, is up. Check it out here. Then come back so we can all gush about how awesome Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris are. My opinion: They're pretty awesome.

Life Online -- the Handbook

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about life in the online world. Yes, in that obnoxious philosophical way that no one wants to hear about. It's been coming up at work, in my personal life, in my everyday friends' lives, and in my online friends' lives (yes, thanks to Twitter, I have those). I feel like someone -- maybe me, though I lack the motivation -- should write a fun handbook: Life 2.0. Something with quirky tips and illustrative stories to help us navigate the world as we know it and expect it to become.

It's an idea at least.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Any Mad Men fans?

I love the show, and am super-crazy jazzed about it coming back: beautiful writing, beautiful acting, and--most importantly--beautiful clothes.

Something's telling me that Jon Hamm's not going to be hopping on the subway this week, though.

Meet Olive Riley

This is a nice little piece on Jezebel about the passing of Olive Riley, who was apparently also known as "The World's Oldest Blogger."

Monday, July 7, 2008

The plight of full-time bloggers?

I thought this article in Radar by former Gawker editor Choire Sicha was pretty interesting. And it gives voice to something I've been thinking for a long time: As fun and exciting as it sounds, I've always thought that being paid to be a full-time blogger would be more stress than it's worth.

While the angle of the story is on a recent pay rate cut at Gawker Media, the article also spells out how the whole Gawker pay system works...pageviews, pageviews, pageviews. And yes, while that makes a certain amount of sense, and writers/bloggers should always be hyper-conscious of what their audience will want to read, link to, and send around, I think this kind of model creates writers that are less concerned with creating compelling content and more interested in linking to or creating content (read: the more salacious, the better) that functions solely as a traffic driver. Do those two categories of content have to be mutually exclusive? Probably not. But I can see how, concerned with pay and job security, a lot of people could displace the former for the latter.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Veep Veep!

The possible VP nominee guessing game is a fun one for sure. While I'm still hoping that the GOP will choose Mitt Romney so that WBB may reclaim some of its past political blogging glory, I'm salivating at all the bad puns that would come from a Tim Pawlenty nomination.

I admittedly know nothing about the Governor of Minnesota. However, I long to see cheesy campaign bumper stickers that say "Welcome to the land of Pawlenty" and other obnoxious variations. So in the absence of Mitt, I'm pro Pawlenty.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mmm... Summery Shower Gels

(This is a cross-post from Hermits Gone Wild.)

Although I haven't blogged much about it lately, please rest assured that I'm still spending far too much money on bath and beauty products. My latest find: Korres. They recently opened a shop in Brooklyn Heights, and I went by with my pal Tara when I was in NYC a couple of weeks ago. (Apparently, the brand is also sold at Sephora.)

The Greek brand serves up all-natural creams, body washes, shampoos, moisturizers, etc. And the pricepoint is not so bad as far as chi-chi bath and body products go. I've been in a bath/shower gel phase lately, so while I was there I snagged the Summer Cocktails set (I convinced myself the little tubes are the perfect size for guests), which includes three gel flavors: Ginger Cosmopolitan, Melon Mojitos and Vanilla Daiquiri. The set (pic below) was $12, which I thought was pretty fair.

I also picked up two more tubes for myself (at $6 each) in Citrus and Basil Lemon. I've only used the Basil Lemon so far, which smells pretty great, but doesn't really linger post-shower. This can be a pro or con, depending on if you use perfume or a scented moisturizer during the day (I usually don't). But it was fun and refreshing, and lemon-y and basil-y, which was all I could really ask for. I'm excited about trying out the Citrus soon, too, and the cute little tubes mean they don't take up much space in the shower. Which, as Rob will tell you, is becoming increasingly overwhelmed with my products.

The best part: they also threw in a couple of free samples of facial moisturizer, which I haven't tried yet. Offering to throw in free samples before the customer requests it is a great way to keep me coming back. That's always been one of my favorite things about Kiehl's.

Remembering ReBoot

This is kind of embarrassing, but lately I've found my mind traveling quite a bit to... ReBoot, the computer-animated TV series I was dorkily into in my early teens.

I don't know why it keeps popping into my head. I'm particularly plagued with visions of Hexadecimal, the super-creepy villain that regularly taunted Bob and his cohorts. I'm also pretty sure that, even in the dork universe, fans of ReBoot are possibly considered especially dorky, as I've never heard my husband mention the show once.

So, today, with a bit of time on my hands, I decided to refresh my memory on ReBoot. It has a surprisingly robust Wikipedia page. A few things I learned:

-It's Canadian!
-The show ran from 1994-2001 (mostly in Canada, I think. If I remember correctly, there were only a couple of seasons in my teens.)
-There is an unaired episode. The description, via Wikipedia:
"Fast Forward: The Making of ReBoot" is a 23-minute episode. The title sequence on the sequence says "Date: February 27, 1995", putting its completion date between the first two seasons.

The show begins in Megabyte's lair, where Megabyte has hacked into the principal office and has created a portal into a parallel universe (our universe), taking him into the offices of Mainframe Entertainment. There the producer, writers and animators discuss how the show came about, how it is scripted, voiced, and animated, and what the staff does in its spare time.

-There is a comic
-A trilogy of ReBoot films will be coming to theaters. According to Wikipedia, that little gem was announced June 1. I'm totes there!
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