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Archive for February, 2004

Liv Tyler’s Hair Has Gone Horribly Wrong!

February 29th, 2004 by danimal

The nominees for Worst Dressed are

Renee Zellweger: for the bow on the ass.

Liv Tyler: for the apparently bulletproof dress, the Lisa Loeb reading glasses, and the aforementioned hair.

Diane Keaton: for dressing up like a fucking mime. You know, Marcel Marceau never won an Oscar, either.

Sandra Bullock: for arranging five hundred feathers and bows into a gigantic wedding cake of irrelevance.

Uma Thurman: for introducing the Glamour Dojo look, plus her inexplicable failure to wear a Kato mask.

Honorable mention: Diane Lane: for what can only be described as a tinsel pretzel obscuring her breasts.

Also, an honorable mention to the many men out there who tried, but failed, to rent a tuxedo without everything going off the fashion rails. When you see the shiny lapels, just turn around and run. Seriously.

And (struggles to open envelope) the winner is – after a lengthy and acrimonious voting process – Uma Thurman. If she had only smacked Billy Crystal upside the head, the costume might have shown itself to have some practical use.

Feel free to cast your own votes; however, the judging panel – many of whom are sleep-deprived and grouchy – have made their decision, and it is final.

"I Hoped I Could Blag My Way Through"

February 29th, 2004 by olly

This is last week’s news, but a valuable opportunity to remind Tim that economics isn’t so hard, for a couple of days at least.

Matthew Richardson, I salute you. Even if you do end up getting your ass sued off, you have brought the world great amusement. A lesser man would have had second thoughts much, much sooner, perhaps even before accepting the free flight to Beijing. But with a relatively common name like that, the sky’s the limit: if he plays his cards right, Richardson can now carve out a lucrative career as a conference participant, expert witness, and occasional high court judge.

(Hat tip: Invisible Adjunct.)

Swearing Potentially Ten Times As Expensive

February 29th, 2004 by olly

I missed this in the welter of Howard Stern nonsense this week: a proposal to increase the maximum fine for indecency (temptation to use scare quotes just barely resisted there) on network and radio from $27,500 to $275,000.

Thanks for that, Fred Upton. Thanks a lot. Now all we need is for Wayne Brady and Ryan Seacrest to say “fuck” a few times, and this deficit thing will take care of itself.

Also, apparently, the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City doesn’t air SNL. But is this because they’re Mormons, or just because they think it’s fallen off in recent years? The AP is tantalizingly oblique on the subject.

I Suppose That’s The Kind Of Mark They Would Use

February 27th, 2004 by olly

Faithful Observe Ash Wednesday With Mark Of Faith.

See also: Leap Years Keep Calendar Aligned With Seasons.

Yes. Yes, they do.

FMA Headcount In The Senate

February 26th, 2004 by olly

Courtesy of Oxblog, here. Smith and Wyden split predictably. More interesting are people like Lamar Alexander, who is “not persuaded that amending the Constitution is necessary” although, as a Republican from Tennessee, I’d be surprised if he was that enthusiastic about gay marriage as a concept. (The only Democrat to break party lines is Zell Miller, which isn’t terribly shocking.)

UPDATE: Chafetz says no way. Assuming that everyone sticks to their stated positions, of course.

The Hollywood Star Chamber Has Convened

February 26th, 2004 by olly

The Oscars have been decided, as they always are at around this time, by five identical clones of Karl Malden. This year, they decree that Lord of the Rings will finally take home a Best Picture statue. (“Now maybe Jackson will stop making the damn things.”)

I Don’t Think The Emerald Picked Up This Story

February 26th, 2004 by Sho

The Emerald noted the candidacy of one of its former freelancers last October in California’s gubernatorial recall election. However, it’s failed to write a single word about the achievement of another alum. While she didn’t make it into the Top 5 list, it’s nice to know that there’s another industry that’s open to journalism graduates.

February 26th, 2004 by pete

I don’t see what’s so odd about it. The people of modern Japan are simply taking on the role of foreign soldiers, killing their fathers and grandfathers in a grisly pantomime of history’s greatest tragedy.

The videogame Medal of Honor: Rising Sun is a huge hit in Japan. And why not? They still love Godzilla over there. And he’s destroyed Tokyo like what, a dozen times?

But what I’m really posting for is to rally up a gang to go see Ze Passion of Ze Christ this weekend. If you’re going to see it, go now, while the fanboys are still showing up in droves. You know, the “I-Was-A-Teenage-Jesus-Freaks” with their Lord’s Gym T-Shirts (Bench Press This!) and Creed CDs. I pray every night (not to God, of course) that I’ll get to sit next to a homeschooled Springtonian who starts speaking in tongues and slowly waving one hand back and forth like an aging rock fan at a Journey concert. So who’s down? How about Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. We’ll make it a double feature. Ze Passion followed by Broken Lizard’s Club Dread. Because laughing until it hurts is the ultimate flagellation.

And I know Mel Gibson’s dad is supposed to be crazy and all… but I know another “crazy” guy who had some “pretty weird” ideas…

Let’s Not Argue Over Who Appointed Whom…

February 26th, 2004 by Timothy

He’s BACK! It’s been awhile since we’ve had such a lovely diatribe from Dave Jagernauth. I actually quite like this one, trying to make recess appointments the equivalent of say, suspending habeus corpus. And, before y’all go off on me about Lincoln Bashing, know that I’m making fun of these guys [Personally, I find the idea of suspending habeus corpus to be repugnant, but desperate times like the War Between the States call for desperate measures. IE it needs to be viewed in context, shut up NC Review]. Bush is no more a dictator for making recess appointments than Clinton was for doing the same. The process is being respected, as the Executive is allowed to make such appointment under law. Furthermore, the judges will only sit until the next congress convenes, at which time they will be subject to the same filibustering treatment they received earlier. Estrada was railroaded because he’s a Hispanic conservative. Brown subscribes to some doctrine flowing from Lochner, and the hard-line Dems simply can’t have that. How could a justice constantly come down on the side of individuals’ property rights in America? SHOCKING!

Is Portland the Next San Francisco?

February 26th, 2004 by Sho

I can’t stop linking to the Portland Communique, but Christopher Frankonis seems to be on top of things. Yesterday afternoon, he posted a link to an article from OPB that ended with this:

In the meantime, lawyers for Multnomah County are looking into whether it’s allowed to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. State law says counties can issue licenses to males older than 17 and females older than 17.

But it doesn’t say the marriage must be between a male and a female, though the two are required to declare an oath as husband and wife. County Counsel Agnes Sowle says any day now a same sex couple could ask for a marriage license in Portland, just like in San Francisco.

Check out his comments and links to relevant state law on the whole issue. This could make for eye-catching news in the near future.

Shakra Bleu!

February 25th, 2004 by olly

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,

A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou

Beside me singing in the Wilderness–

Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

Alternatively, there’s the new Aaron Shakra piece.

Where to begin? What to say that hasn’t been said before? Have we done this to death? Are we at a point where we can just let these columns just pass by unremarked upon, with nothing more than a wry laugh and a shake of the head? Is it time to move on? Has that blessed day arrived, the day upon which we finally pronounce our last word on this sage of modern times, this hirsute prophet, this… hang on a second.

Violence doesn’t solve problems; it escalates them… Yet perhaps Star Trek is a bit too idealistic in this day and age… Like children sucking on the proverbial teat, we’re milked on this stuff from birth… In this visual nation, there is little respite from the addiction to violence…. For a defenseless viewer, violence becomes associated with pleasure… without the exploitation and subjugation of women, nature and foreign peoples and countries, Western civilization simply could not exist… “progress” and “advancement” have come at the expense of a violence that is justified as truth… Violence is not just a vice rooted in the American way of life, however. It telescopes out a global scale…

People, that day is still a little further on down the road. And the road – if you’ll permit me to coin a phrase – is telescoping out on a global scale.

(Incidentally, I’m sick of seeing that Francis Bacon line about “subordination, suppression, and even torture of nature, to wrest her secrets from her” in pieces like this. For a self-professed poet, his understanding of metaphor seems to be lacking. However, I agree with him that the practice of milking children is reprehensible. And the milk that results is, frankly, substandard.)

Time Keeps On Slipping

February 25th, 2004 by olly

I know it’s hard to keep abreast of these things, and I agree with the content of the editorial that the ODE contributes to last week’s ignition-lock controversy, but, um, people, the bill was swiftly killed before even reaching the Senate floor, and this happened five days ago. (Then as now, the link is courtesy of Reason.)

I’m curious: how long in advance are these editorials written?

Vice Section Consists Of Paper, Printed Words, Occasional Illustrations, Crushing Sense Of Ennui

February 25th, 2004 by olly

The Vice section of the ODE does not please me much, I must confess. I can see absolutely no reason why it needs to exist, except to inform us that senior Jarod [sic?] Courtney isn’t into randomly hooking up with people at bars. (“That’s a bad idea,” he says. “You should go out and chill with your friends.” I hope the Pulitzer committee is paying attention to this.)

The best/worst aspect of it all, though, is the headlines. Seriously, who writes these damn things? They’re always liable to be a bit clunky, and that’s fair enough: deadlines, last-minute rushes, random misspellings – I think we can all feel their pain. But this is ridiculous:

Appeal Of Music Draws Fans, Critics.

Caring For Too Many Pets Can Strain Budget, Sanity.

By this point, I feel as though someone has wrapped the Vice supplement around a brick and is gently knocking it against my forehead. But it continues:

Choice Of Eating Meat Or Not Guided By Taste, Values, Diet.

That’s right, folks: your diet has a undeniable impact on whether or not you eat meat. Jesus Christ. But wait! There’s more!

Cigar Flavors, Sizes Help Relax, Give Buzz.

Debt, Job Difficulties Result From Excessive Gambling.

And so on. Once you read enough of them, it’s impossible to stop:

Word’s Meaning Determined By Context, Definition.

Basketball Game Results In Winning Team, Losing Team.

Students, Others Find Books, Resources At New Public Library.

ASUO Vice President Allegedly Has Mean Right Hook, Uppercut.

More suggestions welcome, perhaps with an eye towards a Nobody piece. Contestants will be judged on number of commas, non-specificity of nouns, and overall lack of semantic content. Bonus points for tautologies a la the meat/diet headline above.

A mild question

February 25th, 2004 by danimal

” After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization . . .”

— President Bush, endorsing a Federal Marriage Amendment

Just one question (among many possibles). Where in these “millennia of human experience” is there room for Ancient Greece, where at times heterosexual unions had to be mandated by law in order to maintain healthy populations, and where Aristophanes, in Plato’s Symposium, explained homosexuality as the natural result of divine action.

(Once upon a time, goes the story, humans all had two heads. Some of us had a male and female head, and others had homosexual heads. Zeus, in his wisdom, split us in two. Since then, humans have set about seeking to become whole by pairing off with their natural counterpart. Some men seek women, some women seek men, but . . .

“The women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments; the female companions are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature.”)

And do these “millennia of human experience” include the Roman Empire? Many artisans in that era devoted a great deal of time and effort to making objects like this:

I guess I’m just trying to figure out which millenia of human experience the President is using to justify writing bigotry into the Constitution. Perhaps he means only the most recent millennium, which included 1327, the year the deposed King Edward II had a red hot poker shoved into his anus as punishment for his homosexuality. Sounds like a great tradition. Lousy activist judges!

UPDATE: I realized I could’ve explained the Aristophanes thing better. So I did.

Marriage Debate Heats Up In Oregon

February 25th, 2004 by Sho

The Portland Communique is writing some excellent coverage and commentary on the ballot initiatives that would ban gay marriage AND civil unions in Oregon. One interesting item it has found during its investigation on the three chief petitioners behind the initiatives, is one petitioner’s weblog. Anyway, the Communique had an insightful observation on the anti-gay marriage initiatives, comparing them to past attempts to prevent interracial marriage in Oregon:

The same arguments made today against same-sex marriage — which boil down to something about a threat to the social fabric — are merely echoes of the arguments which supported the idea that blacks were not quite human and could be owned as property, the idea that women should not be allowed to cast votes at the ballot box, and the above idea that whites should not marry people of other races.

Thing is, they’re right. Same-sex marriage indeed is a threat to the social fabric, just as were the ideas of free blacks, voting women, and interracial marriages. But when the social fabric clearly is worn, tattered, and only protects the privileged few, it deserves to be threatened.

Very well put.