Daily Archives: July 24, 2011

by Jason Zinoman



If you are a horror-movie fan, and I am certainly one of them, Zinoman’s biography of the men behind Hollywood’s second “golden age” of horror, the 1970s, is an essential read.  Shock Value is a nice blend of explaining what makes guys like Wes Craven and George Romero tick – and how those ticks show up in their movies.  But I’m sure every fright-flick aficionado will have nitpicks with Zinoman’s critique, and so here are two of mine:  Zinoman points out that most of these directors flamed out after initial success, but he doesn’t offer much of an explanation for why that happened.  William Friedkin (The Exorcist), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), Romero (Night of the Living Dead) … what the hell happened to these guys?

My other complaint is more subjective.  I happen to believe that Bob Clark’s Black Christmas was the most terrifying movie of the decade, and that John Carpenter (who, incidentally, comes off as a Grade-A jerk in this book) shamelessly stole concepts and techniques from that movie to use in his blockbuster Halloween.  Zinoman touches on this directorial “borrowing,” but inexcusably devotes little text to Clark’s woefully underappreciated, eerie masterpiece.


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Ugly Politicians Edition


But first …

Idiot of the Week:  Dr. Sanjay Gupta



This clown masquerading as a journalist doesn’t know whereof he speaks when it comes to headaches.  Reporting on Michele Bachmann’s migraines, Gupta told the world that migraine headaches can be “easily treated,” and then doled out bogus information about the duration and causes of these killer headaches.

Speaking as someone who suffered from migraines for ten years, let me assure Gupta that they are definitely not “easily treated.”  Nothing works — at least not for cluster migraines, the variety I was lucky enough to have.

Idiot of the Week Runner-Up:  Some clueless joker named Dr. Marc Siegel, who echoed Gupta’s bullshit:  “Migraines are very easily treatable,” Siegel said, causing me to almost suffer a relapse.






Politicians are movie-star wannabes who are just too damn ugly for Hollywood.  They have movie-star egos but are not photogenic.  So these cosmetically challenged egotists go into politics, where the rest of us have no choice but to keep an eye on them, lest they destroy the nation. 

Only in the political world could pasty-faced, chubby Bill Clinton be described as sexy.  Only in politics could scrawny, hook-nosed Caroline Kennedy (and her mother, Jacqueline) be hailed as “glamorous.”  Michelle Obama is anointed “the new Jackie Kennedy,” but our First Lady is horse-faced and has hips as wide as Kenya.  Our charismatic current president has ears like Alfred E. Neuman’s.

As for Republicans, just two words:  Newt Gingrich.  The GOP beauty bar is so low that geeky-looking Paul Ryan is considered a “stud.”  Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are “babes.”  Yeah, move over Angelina and Megan, these middle-aged mothers want to use your mirror.

Herewith, a gallery of hideous politicians:




Al Franken:  The picture speaks for itself.


Jackie1 Caroline


The glamorous Kennedys:  Hard to say which picture is sexier, Caroline bathing in blue (see above), or mom Jackie in the buff (below).




Palin1              Palin3


MILF Sarah Palin.




Chris Christie will beat you up … if only he could run fast enough to catch you.




Expensive gifts from Tiffany’s?  Nah, Newt’s wife was obviously attracted to his rugged good looks.




Mitch McConnell, making John Boehner’s eyes water.




Above, Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in an outtake from The Tourist?  Perhaps not.




Carla Bruni needn’t feel threatened.




Donald Trump:  No comment.




Henry Waxman, above, wants to ban my cigarettes.  I want to ban Henry Waxman.




Well … maybe someone Photoshopped this one.  Or maybe she is having a migraine.






Now we know of (another) reason why rich old farts get trophy wives.  Geezers like Rupert Murdoch are too feeble to defend themselves, but their much-younger wives can sometimes throw a nasty hook.  Or was this incident staged to throw sympathy at scandal-ridden Murdoch?


Murdochs1 Murdochs2






Norwegians — even their terrorists are good-looking.




This column by the New York Times’s Frank Bruni is a great piece of social observation.






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