Monthly Archives: December 2012



We’re all familiar with “director’s cuts” on DVD and Blu-ray, but did you know that Charlie Chaplin released his own revision of his classic 1925 comedy, The Gold Rush, way back in 1942?  Check out the update – replete with Chaplin’s narration and musical score – free of charge by clicking here.


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Lots of excitement in these parts over the possibility of Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (above) setting an NFL rushing record tomorrow.  But press coverage of Peterson’s historic pursuit seems to be leaving out something … or someone.

Media types inform us that Peterson is closing in on the single-season yardage record set by Eric Dickerson back in 1984.  But is that the whole story?  Dickerson did rush for 2,105 yards that year — in a 16-game season.  Someone else rushed for 2,003 yards ten years earlier — in a 14-game season, and with a better yards-per-game average (143) than both Dickerson and Peterson.  And just who was this super stud?  Hmmm … recognize anyone in the mug shot below?





The political rumor mill has it that actress Ashley Judd might run for Kentucky’s senate slot in 2014, opposite renowned double-chinned Republican Mitch McConnell.  We can just imagine Ashley’s campaign posters — and Mitch’s reaction.


Judd1            Mitch1

Mitch2            Judd2




Good luck, Mitch.  Seems like you’re going to need it.


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Chin Up!



Kerry2    Kerry3        Kerry4






Wolf Blitzer cited a “scathing, scathing” government report about something.  Someone should tell Wolf that we can hear him — clearly, clearly — the first time he speaks.  A few more Blitzerisms from this week:


“Dr. Drew, excellent, excellent advice.”

Much, much more of the interview in the next hour.”

“So what time did you get the confirmation of this horrible, horrible news?”




“This huge, huge tragedy.”

“The pain is clearly, clearly evident.”

“One of his former classmates says Lanza was once, was once a good kid.”






Good Show That You Are Probably Not Watching:


Season two of The Hour on BBC America.  Problem is, it’s a serialized drama so if you’ve missed past episodes, you’re screwed if you tune in now. But this period (1950s) thriller depicting romance and intrigue among British TV-news pioneers is smart and entertaining.




More Words and Phrases That Really Need to Go:


Oftentimes — What, you can’t just say “often”?

Showrunner — A pernicious new way of saying “producer.”

Les Miz — Listen up, Broadway Biff.  Not everyone is a theater fanatic.  Call it what Victor Hugo called it:  Les Miserables.

Presser (press conference) — Dammit, not all of us are news junkies.




Arrogant Quotes of the Week:


“I don’t want to be doing a Topaz or a Buddy Buddy.” — Quentin Tarantino, contemplating retirement and disparaging the later works of legendary directors Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.  Someone should remind this foot-loving weirdo that Hitchcock made the classic Frenzy when he was 72.

“There’s people smoking right now.  No smoking!  If you love me, then don’t smoke. You’re looking right at me and smoking cigarettes, like I’m a stupid fucking idiot.” — Moral authority Madonna lecturing her smoking fans, in the great outdoors, at Chile’s National Stadium.






Yes, what happened in Connecticut was tragic, and yes, it was horrifying.  However …

1)  The media needs to ease up.  If this shooting had occurred in, say, inner-city Detroit, we’d already be back to non-stop coverage of the “fiscal cliff.”  But Newtown, Connecticut fits the demographic that Big Media loves:  white, affluent, and privileged.

2)  For years, we were told how powerful this Washington lobby was, and how difficult it would be for politicians to defy this special-interest group and pass legislation against its wishes.  I am referring, of course, to the tobacco lobby.  Please tell me, again, why everyone is so afraid of the NRA.

3)  The media insists on painting heroes and villains.  A kid can’t be mentally ill; he must be “evil.”  A dead woman can’t be a victim; she must be a “hero.”  I am sure there were some heroes in Newtown, and the shooter might or might not have been “evil,” but I wasn’t on the scene — and neither was the media.




There is just … something about John Kerry’s chin.




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When George Bernard Shaw got the news in 1939 that his screen adaptation of his play Pygmalion had won an Academy Award, the playwright’s reaction was Higgins-like:  “It’s an insult for them to offer me any honor, as if they had never heard of me before – and it’s very likely they never have.   They might as well send some honor to [King] George for being King of England.”  You just can’t please some people.  Watch this classic comedy, which was later adapted into the musical My Fair Lady, by clicking here.


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2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival - Day 1 - Show


Awful Music from South of the Border


God bless American music.  I was reminded of this not once, but twice this week.

Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera was killed in a plane crash.  I’d never heard of her, but TV news made sure that I heard plenty of her music.  It sounded like most Mexican music:  like time-traveling to 1955 Nebraska and listening to Uncle Slim’s barnyard polka band.

This Korean dude, PSY (above), apologized profusely for making inflammatory remarks about America — ten years ago. Gee, you don’t suppose that this nitwit, who skyrocketed to fame with a silly YouTube video, sensed that his big shot at American super-bucks was slipping away, do you?






Wolf Blitzer:  “Piers Morgan had the three amigos for a taping here in Washington.”

Joe Lieberman:  “On this one, we were going to prove that the three amigos can disagree and still be amigos.”

What is this “three amigos” crap?  Do CNN and Lieberman think that Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are some sort of boy band?  Or worse, movie superheroes?  You aren’t fooling anyone.  We know what you are:  three wealthy, self-satisfied, old guys in Congress.




“We have new information now about why Nelson Mandela is in the hospital.” — Scott Pelley on CBS.  Mandela is 94.  It would be news if he wasn’t in the hospital.




Quentin Tarantino has a new movie coming out.  Tarantino is the Moe Howard of film directors.  What he does, he does well.  But what he does is stupid.




Bill O’Reilly continues to churn out historical bestsellers, but I have no desire to read them.  If I’m going to learn about Lincoln or Kennedy, I’ll read a book written by an actual scholar, not some clownish blowhard on Fox News.




Conservative fat cats have migrated to O’Reilly’s show for a collective crying jag, reacting like petulant babies because they might be asked to contribute their fair share of taxes.  These guys always mention how much in taxes the rich already pay, but they never mention how much of the country’s wealth they possess.




“I’m a guy out here thinking, wow, this is the first time in my 59 years I’ve got a president who I believe actively dislikes people like me.” — Dennis Miller, above, who just wants to be liked, gosh darn it.




“We should stop saying ‘tax the rich’ and say ‘tax the successful,’ because I’m not rich, I’m successful.” — Adam Carolla, above.  Yes, and those Wall Street bankers who screwed over investors and the nation a few years ago were also “successful.”  But millionaire tax cheats are hard to catch; it’s much easier to blow a fuse over some deadbeat dad in Des Moines, right Adam?






“If you’d shut up for just a second, I would try–“ — Ditzy Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, just before being interrupted by Fox fat boy Neil Cavuto.




This is an official still from the upcoming movie, RED 2, starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, and John Malkovich.  It begs the question … what in the hell is wrong with Malkovich’s legs???




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 by Jo Nesbo



Caustic critic Joe Queenan once wrote, “There is no earthly reason a mystery or thriller needs to be more than 175 pages.  After a mystery writer passes the 200-page mark, it’s all ballast.”  I suppose there are exceptions to Queenan’s rule, but not in this case.  The Redbreast, Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo’s 500-plus-page marathon of serial killings and romance in frigid Oslo, is mildly interesting.  The characters are … mildly interesting.  The sole aspect of this plodding novel to avoid a been-there-done-that sensation is its background theme about Norway’s tortured history during WWII, a topic about which I knew little.

In 2004, Norwegian book clubs declared The Redbreast the “Best Norwegian Crime Novel Ever Written.”  Across the border in Sweden, I’m guessing that Henning Mankell suppressed a chuckle.


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James Bond got his license to thrill in 1962 because the first film based on Ian Fleming’s novels, Dr. No, had its tongue firmly planted in cheek.  Bond, as personified by Sean Connery, kissed and he killed, but always with a wink at the audience.  And we were delighted to be in on the joke.  Later, in the Roger Moore years, the 007 franchise went too far and began to confuse wit for self-parody.  In Octopussy, Moore/Bond even donned a clown suit.  Were we supposed to laugh with him, or at him?

So now we have Daniel Craig in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the pendulum has swung to the other extreme.  The tone of Casino Royale, Craig’s first outing in Bond’s tuxedo, is much too somber for a film loaded with outlandish set pieces.  Both the movie and Craig have little sense of camp — but a modicum of camp has always distinguished the best Bond films.




The Good Stuff:   As we’ve come to expect from this series, the producers do not skimp on the budget.  The scenery, much of it shot in Prague and the Bahamas, is eye-catching and glamorous.  There is some amazing stunt work in the opening action sequence, and an extended poker-playing scene is suspenseful, good fun.

The Other Stuff:  The “Bond girls,” although fetching, do nothing to make us forget 007 hall-of-famers like Honey Ryder or Pussy Galore.  The main villain (Mads Mikkelsen) is unexceptional; it’s hard to respect a bad guy who at one point gets the snot kicked out of him, and whose signature prop — an asthma inhaler — is a pale imitation of great gizmos past, such as Oddjob’s hat.

Casino Royale’s producers have said that they were seeking a more realistic tone for Craig’s debut.  But when so much about Bond’s world is inherently ridiculous, too much realism can spoil the fun.  What this movie needed was a hollowed-out volcano.  Or perhaps Oddjob’s hat.        Grade:  B




Director:  Martin Campbell  Cast:  Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Ivana Milicevic  Release:  2006





                                     Watch Trailers and Clips (click here)




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 The Miss Bum Bum 2012 Winner!

See bottom(s).




                   Kristin Murphy


Vogue editor and big-time Obama contributor Anna Wintour is reportedly on the short list for a cushy ambassadorship.  The Five’s Bob Beckel has no problem with that:  “This is nothing new.  They give it to big contributors.  Every administration does it.”

CNN’s Erin Burnett had a different take:  “Should this be the way it is?  There are so many career diplomats who do work overseas, wonderful work, and maybe it’s time for us to decide what we think an ambassador really should be.”

I’m with Burnett.  If Anna Wintour wants so badly to be a diplomat, let’s make her our next ambassador to Libya.






What’s with all of these image-polishing TV spots from BP?  Shouldn’t the British oil giant be spending that advertising money on gulf cleanup and legal settlements?




Sign that you are in denial over the aging process:

You are thrilled to hear that the world’s oldest woman (Besse Cooper, below) finally kicked the bucket.  You are not happy that she died, you are happy because she was 116.  Since you are not yet 58, that means you are not yet middle-aged.  Right?




Sign that you are well into middle age:

You create a blog that consists of personal gripes.  Like this one.






I have no idea if software honcho-turned-fugitive John McAfee is guilty of any crimes, but I do know he is high on my list of annoying jerks.

Here is McAfee, 67, speaking to his impressionable, 20-year-old “girlfriend” as the media swarmed them in Guatemala last week:  “You’ve never seen this before, have you?  This is my life in America, sweetie, so you’ll see that I am quite comfortable with this.”

This is your life in America?  Please.  Until recently, outside of the business world no one had heard of you in America.  On the other hand, I was familiar with your namesake product.  Last year, I inadvertently downloaded McAfee software — and my computer was promptly infected with bugs.




The world held its breath last month, anxiously awaiting the results of the U.S. presidential election.  Balderdash.  Most of us were holding our breath this month, anxiously awaiting the results of Brazil’s Miss Bum Bum 2012 contest.

Here is a picture of this year’s winner, Carine Felizardo, courtesy of The Huffington Post.  I think we can all agree that she has a lovely smile.



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