Tuesday, January 31

Happy birthday, Johnny Rotten!

John Lydon of Sex Pistols fame turns 50 today. The snarling singer marks the occasion his way: By putting an abrasive video clip of himself running amok on a SoCal beach on his Web site.

Footnote: Sid Vicious is still 21.

Making plans for Radio Nigel

If you are looking for some good music from the 1980s on the Internets, check out Radio Nigel. Here are the most recent tracks to give you an idea what you might hear:

-- "Murder by Numbers," the Police
-- "Drive, She Said," Stan Ridgway
-- "King for a Day," XTC
-- "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace Love and Understanding," Elvis Costello
-- "Good Times," the Hoodoo Gurus

OK, once in a while they do throw in some crap like "The Sun Always Shines on TV" by a-Ha, but what are you gonna do?

Don't bang the drum

Neil Peart of Rush fame is interviewed by the LAT about the demise of the drum solo. Some would say good riddance, and even Peart admits that the form has been abused.

Oscar Insta-picks!

First impressions are often correct. Here are my Academy Awards picks now that the noms are out:

Best Picture: "Brokeback Mountain!"
Best Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Best Supporting Actor: Matt Dillon
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams

And, to ward off further accusations of being a half-man, here is my Super Bowl prediction:

Pittsburgh 31, Seattle 17

Monday, January 30

The Lamb Lies Down for Madison Avenue

Has Peter Gabriel become a major-league a-hole?

Sadly, yes. Big Time.

Could Tiananmen Happen Here? Would We Know if it Did?

When even FOX News is expressing concern about a provision in the Patriot Act that will allow the Secret Service to arrest protestors at national events on felony charges, you know something is seriously going wrong. Add to that the extent the FBI and Homeland Securioty are infiltrating and surveilling anti-war and vegan protestors (vegan?) and things start to be worrisome.

Of course we have the internets here in the US, so we don't need to worry about the government trying to curb dissent completely, especially with a free press and companies like Google coming down firmly on the side of free speech.

LISTS: Top 10 Censored Stories of 2005

From the folks at Project Censored.

Cruise up for a Razzing

Tom Cruise (by now you should know his real name) is among the nominees in this year's Razzie Awards, which call out the worst in movies for the past year. We're pulling for you, Tom, and promise to jump up and down on our couch like madmen if you win!

Sunday, January 29

Killer bees invade Florida!

As a kid in the 1970s, I used to watch documentaries and "In Search Of" episodes devoted to sasquatch, Nessie and other mysterious perils.

One of these feared creatures was indisputedly real, yet faraway: killer bees. These shows would always claim that the bees' arrival in the United States was years away, and that we'd be safe until, say, 1982. Those predictions came and went without notice. (Where were you, MSM?)

Well, the invasion is finally under way in earnest after years of a handful of isolated reports. The bees have settled in Central and South Florida. Key quote: "It's a very gruesome way to die."

Saturday, January 28

On the cover of the Rolling Stone

This doesn't offend me. Now, back when Rolling Stone put John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis in workout clothes on the cover to promote the movie "Perfect" — that offended me.

Friday, January 27

It was twenty years ago today....

Well, tomorrow, actually, but I probably won't be blogging, and I didn't want to miss commemorating the Challenger astronauts. I remember being at school, where some kids had actually gone outside to watch the launch, and how traumatized some of them were. From central Florida, you could usually see a huge, thick column of smoke, with a tiny shiny bit riding on top of it when the shuttles would launch from Cape Canaveral. By the time I got outside on that day, there was just a big, messy, angular cloud that seemed to hang there forever, horrifying.

If you don't read this, you're a coward

Steven Colbert of "The Colbert Report" tells the Onion A/V Club about the show, the difficulty of parodying that which is already self-parody, and the relationship between acting and role-playing games.

After a bumpy start, "Report" has become a sly satire of the personality-driven, self-centered "news" programs that populate cable television. Colbert has grown into the character and shaken off the stammering performances that hindered early episodes. The "on notice" and "dead to me" lists are on-the-mark hilarious. And the computer-generated eagle in the opening and closing credits says it all: the veneer of patriotism that is all too obviously fabricated.

Dullard rating: Rocks.

Kraken attacks submarine!


Thursday, January 26

Teflon dawn

Research may be shedding light on the harmful effects of Teflon. This has already been taken care of in our house, where the wife (or as I call her, the EPA) has gotten rid of all the non-stick cookware.

Iraqi Torture Victims

Joe Sacco has a great illustrated story available on the Guardian's website as a PDF file. Powerful stuff, as Sacco litteraly puts a face on the victims of the torture. It should be suprising that we have to look to a British newspaper for this story, but it isn't.

Wednesday, January 25

Writer turns waiter

A good first-person piece in the NYT: A food critic waits tables for a week.

Addicted to "Lost"

Dominic Monaghan, who plays the heroin addict on TV's "Lost," tells USA Today about his Lennon obsession and how it led to his own drug use. He also says he has found his muse in fellow "Lost" star Evangeline Lilly, touted on this blog as our favorite Canadian.

Tuesday, January 24

For the Dullard Auxilliary Knitting Club

"Tomorrow" always knows

A new DVD collection brings together eight musically oriented "Tomorrow" programs from 1977 through 1981. Oft-befuddled host Tom Snyder (the king of all comb-overs) attempts to interview John Lydon, Paul Weller, the Ramones and others. The NYT article on the new compilation includes a clip that will give you the flavor of the moment if (like me) you were too young to stay up that late in 1980.

Peaches Geldof Calls for End to Silly Names

Silly walks to still be considered acceptable.

Steve Jobs, King of All Media

The Gazette is no apologist/advocacy site for Apple, although some of us are Mac users. But with the Disney-Pixar deal done, it's hard to argue against the proposition that Steve Jobs is King of All Media: iTunes, animated movies, computers, etc. (Sorry, Howard Stern.)

The Disney/Pixar flick of the summer is "Cars!" I hope Gary Numan is getting a piece of the soundtrack action.

The 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2005

Hey, I made number 4!

The Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Make it stop

The latest TV show to be turned into a movie: "Magnum P.I."

Monday, January 23

"Brokeback" vs. the National Football League

After the august Hollywood Foreign Press honored "Brokeback Mountain!" with several Golden Globes, I decided to check it out on Sunday, a rare child-free evening.

But I faced a quandary: see the movie about gay cowboys or watch the NFL playoff games that would decide who will play in this year's Super Bowl? I went with "Brokeback!" after reasoning that they were more or less the same thing: showcases for physically fit men in silly clothes tackling, blocking and sacking each other.

The movie exceeds expectations. I was prepared for a letdown from the hype, but "Brokeback!" delivers. Heath Ledger stands out as the cowboy who says little but conveys a lot. Jake Gyllenhall is not quite as strong as the more outspoken of the pair.

Michelle Williams of "Dawson's Creek" fame breaks out as Ledger's suffering wife, however. (She is much more convincing at playing the spouse of a closeted man than, say, Katie Holmes.) As Walter Monheit might say, don't worry, Michelle, you will have a new man in your life soon: His name is Oscar!

Dullard rating
: Rocked.

Saturday, January 21

Don't panic, Scully!

Gillian Anderson of "X-Files" fame talks about anxiety attacks and the turn of her career toward "Masterpiece Theater."

Sorry Ange, but your Scully pic was broken. This seemed somehow appropriate. And anyway, who doesn't like to see pictures of pandas making sweet, sweet love?

Friday, January 20

By far...

...my favorite Canadian.

Bye-bye, B.B.

B.B. King is launching a farewell tour. This one might actually stick, since he's 80 years old.

US Army raises enlistment age to 40


I won't go! They can't make me!

Will snip for tix!

A doctor in Colorado will give you a free vasectomy (street value: $675) if you can hook him up with tickets to the Broncos-Steelers playoff game this weekend.

Larry Wachowski reloaded

Rolling Stone fills us in on the sexual identity issues of Larry Wachowski, one of the masterminds behind "The Matrix" and the upcoming "V is for Vendetta." (Hint: He now calls himself Laurenca.) Among other things, the article blames the general lameness of the "Matrix" sequels on Larry's distractions/obsessions with the BDSM world. Maybe, or maybe the scripts were just pretentious and derivative.

Stones exposed — as fairly ordinary blokes

The Smoking Gun has added the demands of the Rolling Stones to its collection of riders. (Those are the documents that list a band's backstage requests.) This one is not too outrageous (I wish we could compare it against one from the 1970s) but has details on Mick's cricket obsession and the band's interest in snooker.

Thursday, January 19

Feds seek Google records in porn probe

I forget the difference between a fascist state and totalitarian state, but I think we're headed toward living in one of those. I just hope that all the supposed "conservatives" who aren't squawking about the erosion of our civil liberties under Dear Leader realize that if the Dems manage to get back into power again, they'll have set some very dangerous precedents. Imagine how loudly the O'Reilly's and the Limbaughs will scream if Hillary continues illegally monitoring our phone calls and internet usage.

I don't know about you, but I'm not comfortable with the government, Republican OR Dem, knowing how many Google searches for Leif Garrett I did last week.

Leif Garrett Arrested

I had such a crush on Leif Garrett as a tot. Then I found out he was a boy, and was confused. My chances would have probably been just as good with my other childhood crush, the famously saphic Kristy McNichol. Anyway, sorry to see all that Scientology auditing isn't keeping all the bad thetans away from Mr. Garrett.....

Giant jellyfish attack Japan!

"They're like aliens." Has the kraken been replaced as the king of the deep?

UPDATE FROM THE LIFE AQUATIC: A whale has swum the Thames to see the Houses of Parliament, the first record of such a thing happening since 1913.

Wednesday, January 18

Dwight Schrute's Schrute-Space

Dwight from the Dunder Mifflin office is blogging.

Bill Shatner gets stoned!

A kidney stone passed by the original Star Trek's Captain Kirk sells for $25,000. Proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.

This leads to the inevitable question: If Kirk's stone commands $25K, what would you pay for Walter Koenig's appendix?

Tuesday, January 17

"Housewives" have jumped it

Any Dullard would instantly recognize this lame piece of foreshadowing in the first "Desperate Housewives!" of 2006:

"We need to get these rickety stairs to the basement fixed soon. It feels like we have termites or something."

At that moment, the shark was jumped, even before someone broke through the steps in a later scene. It's unfortunate, because the show's first season was so smartly written and perfectly played.

A heckuva trend: Grammar is chic

Knowing how to punctuate a sentence is cool again. Saying "heck" so often may not be.

Friday, January 13

Tip the Driver

This kind of stuff is like crack to me:Pizza Delivery Stories.

I didn't have any good stories from working at Pizza Kwik, other than noticing that the blue collar folks in Winter Park tended to tip better than the folks living on the brick-lined streets (yeah, I'm looking at you, Ange!). And that "cleaning the Hobart" is not a colorful euphamism for anything fun, it is, in fact, a hell of ass job.

Of related interest: the exceptionally well-written Waiter Rant and this NYC Bouncer's blog.

Wednesday, January 11

Time to get "Lost!" again

ABC offers a "Lost!" doubleheader tonight: a new episode, the first in more than a month, follows a recap show. Check your local listings, Dullards.

Tuesday, January 10

Google goes print

Odd. Nothing good can come of this.

William Shatner DVD Club

Would you like William Shatner to send you a crappy B-movie every month for a year? Of course you would.

Why that lazy little louse....

The cymothoa exigua eats the host fish's tongue and then replaces it with its own body, using it's new position to let the fish do all the hard work of gathering meals for it.

Thanks to Carrie and Dan for the link. I think.

Monday, January 9

Boomers buying childhood homes

Odd. As much as I love the brown latex-painted driveway in front of our yellow concrete manse, i don't see me doing this.

Ghost Town @ the Mint, 1/22

Next Sunday, Jan 22, you'll get a chance to see Ghost Town in a whole new context. We're thrilled to be on Three Eight Seven Entertainment's bi-monthly roots series at The Mint. It's a very cool series, presenting four rootsish bands in an intimate dinner club atmosphere, featuring a daring and delightful menu by the Mint's new chef, Matthew Gladstone. Plates are meant for sharing family-style, with exotic ingredients such as white truffle french fries, Kobe beef sliders, and are in the $12-18/plate price range.

If you can do dinner, I recommend it; seatings are at 8:00/8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Please call the mint directly to make the reservation: 323.954.9400.

If you don't feel like dinner, the Mint has a beautiful (and historic) bar. Cover is $8 with dinner, $10 without.

Note that we'll be playing for more than a full hour, and our good friends in the Dime Box Band may be cajoled into loaning us Edie Murphy, their awesome fiddlatrix, for a couple of tunes.

The line-up:
8:15 The Dime Box Band
9:15 Ghost Town
10:30 The Vaquetones
11:30 Truckerup

Friday, January 6

Lou Rawls is no longer with us

The "Lady Love" singer and insurance pitchman succumbs to cancer at age 72.

Musical Google

The search engine adds music to its arsenal.

Thursday, January 5

My Sharon — huh?

Pat Robertson says the Israeli P.M.'s life-threatening health problems are part of God's wrath for dividing the Holy Land -- 'cause, you know, Ariel Sharon is a big softie liberal type.

"Rock You Like a Very Long, Slow Hurricane"

Second chord sounds in world's longest lasting concert.

Letterman gets all 'Daily Show' on O'Reilly

I caught this the other night. It was a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 4

Jon Stewart to host Oscars

Yay! Maybe it will suck just a little less this year.

Bitter Brew

Because people need more discouragement about following their dreams (kind of an interesting tale of a couple that tried to open their own coffee shop).

If it's too loud...

... Pete Townshend's too old. The Who rocker is telling the kids to turn down their iPods.

Monday, January 2

Trio signs off

The Trio cable network — home of the "Brilliant But Canceled," among other alt-offerings — has apparently been canceled. I guess this means more Spike TV for me.