Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pilot Season

Of all the qualities exhibited by Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger -- grace under pressure, impeccable honesty, all-around humility and niceness -- you can add good timing.  If you're going to heroically ditch a plane in the Hudson River, you may as well do it in early January, when you can rack up invitations to the presidential inauguration, Super Bowl, (don't-call-it-a) State of the Union address, and, perhaps strangest of all, Vanity Fair's Oscar party.  I find it incredibly endearing (if unsurprising) that at a party attended by world-famous movie stars, Sully was hanging out with Buzz Aldrin.  

(Incidentally, how did Buzz Aldrin get himself invited to a post-Oscar party?  Was he just there so Sully would have someone to talk to?)

Also, apparently Sacha Baron Cohen, Seth Rogen, Jason Segal, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, et al were standing off to the side cracking jokes all night.  What the hell?  Do people not record video at these events?

"I don't vote Republican or Democrat. Choosing is a sin, so I always just write in the Lord's name."

Watching the Republican response to Obama's address tonight, I remarked that Bobby Jindal reminds me of Kenneth the Page.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who picked up on this.

And, just so I'm being bipartisan with my trivial observations, I'll mention that the seemingly always-smiling Sen. Roland Burris reminds me of a guy who managed to sneak his way into a championship-winning team's locker room.  He looks like someone who can't quite believe where he is and is amazed at his own brazen method of getting there, not caring that the cops will be there any minute to drag him away.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

There Are Two Kinds of People in the World...

If you've never seen The O'Reilly Factor, (1) keep up the good work, and (2) know that one of Bill O'Reilly's recurring segments is called "Cheers & Jeers" "Tip O' the Hat, Wag of the Finger" "Pinheads & Patriots." If you need a description of how the segment works, please go back and read the title again.

Anyway, on Wednesday night the "Patriot" half of the piece was about a fan at a Lakers game who hit a shot from half-court, winning an oversized novelty check. You may say to yourself, "Making that kind of a shot is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but does it really mean the guy is patriotic?" History, however, shows that you are mistaken. Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson were all known to enjoy a spirited game of HORSE in the revolutionary era, and the patriotism of these men is taken for granted. In fact, George Washington once so impressed his countrymen with a full-court buzzer-beater that he was immediately elected president.

Meanwhile, O'Reilly's pinheads of the night were Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton, earning the host's derision on the basis of a video in which Snoop listens to Paris freestyle for a few painful, painful bars. Hilton wasn't rhyming about how Fox News is racist or the president is black, so it would seem that Bill was objecting to Ms. Hilton's technique rather than her message. I never thought BillO was much of a hip-hop critic, but I guess it's possible that his recent tiffs with Nas and Jay-Z are really because he thinks it's been all downhill after Reasonable Doubt and Illmatic. Either that or he's trying to stir up a high-profile rap feud in order to boost sales of his latest mixtape, recorded under the name MC Bold Fresh.

O'Reilly's patriot/pinhead dichotomy seems straightforward enough, but I quickly discovered a problem with it: into which camp do we lump Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and other people who are very good basketball players but wack rappers? I certainly hope that the Factor will address this pressing issue soon so I can know whether these pro athletes love their country or lack intelligence.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Man, We Make Our Own Movies

I remember when I was about ten or eleven years old, I saw a copy of National Review sitting on the coffee table at my grandparents' house. The cover had a picture of John Wayne storming the sands of Iwo Jima, with a headline touting the "Best Conservative Movies of All Time."

Well, it looks like that particular cover article, like wars in Iraq and Presidents named Bush, are ideas so nice that NR's editors thought they should be done twice. And so, hot on the heels of the magazine's much-mocked list of the best conservative rock songs, there's been an long-awaited update to that ancient feature. Jesse at Pandagon has a good take on the silliness, and I think that I've gotten a handle on the criteria that would make a perfect conservative movie:

  • Have a character who grows and/or accomplishes things.
  • Be based on a fantasy novel.
  • Take place in a dystopian future.
  • Have the bravery to criticize such sacred cows as Michael Moore and Sean Penn.
  • Be a war movie about heroic revolutionaries.
  • Be a war movie that puts a positive spin on Vietnam.
  • Celebrate vigilantism.
  • Star Clint Eastwood.
  • End with bad guys getting punished.
I'm especially enamored of that last one. A Simple Plan makes the list on account of its "crime doesn't pay" message. By that token, you could include every film noir ever made, since [spoiler alert!] the crooks never get away with it.

I must say, I'm glad I don't rely on the media I consume to reinforce my political beliefs. It's nice being able to watch a film, read a book, or listen to a song without wondering, "If these words, sounds, and images were granted suffrage, which candidates would they support?"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stump the Sussex Spaniel

I could totally win on that game show.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fuck Art, Let's Fight

I'd probably be more interested in seeing The International if they just went ahead and changed the title to Clive Owen's Guggenheim Shootout.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

When Your Mind's Made Up, There No Point Trying to Change It

Hey, didja hear that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have broken up? That's probably for the best (it seems like everyone is only now catching on to the fact that their pairing was sort of creepy, he being almost twice her age and all), but it does highlight an inherent danger in one of my favorite musical genres: duos who are also romantic couples. Attention Mates of State & Matt and Kim: please try to work through whatever problems you may have. (Not that I'm saying you have problems! I'm sure everything's just awesome! But if you need me to pitch in a few bucks for therapy or anything...)