Monday, January 31, 2005

Francis Ford Coppola Makes a Friend of Horror 

Russian president lauds Coppola
Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday and was praised for films that show "the horrors of war".

Coppola visited the Kremlin while in Moscow to pick up the Golden Eagle award from the Russian Film Academy.

"Your works are well-known and greatly appreciated in Russia," Mr Putin said.

"Not only on account of The Godfather, but of other examples of your work, especially your work that faithfully recounted the horrors of war."

The president said he hoped the visit would "provide a reason for resuming and developing co-operation in the field of film-making" between the two countries.

Mr Coppola gave Mr Putin a DVD of his daughter Sofia's movie Lost in Translation and praised the president for his recent speech marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

"Excellent speech," he said. "But in person you look much younger than you did on TV."
(emphasis mine)

Putin reportedly watched the DVD with a cold, glassy stare, then appeared on state television to announce that while it was sorta funny, it didn't recount the horrors of war as faithfully as Stripes.

In other, entirely unrelated news, pro-Russian forces "disappeared" 1,700 Chechens in 2004, including, most recently, a 49 year-old human rights attorney.

And Augusto Pinochet just loved Sideways.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sadly, Most Iraqi's Won't Register To Vote For Fear of Jury Duty. And Carbombings. 

Via Google News, a few seconds ago:

Stuff and Reuters seem to have slightly different takes on the same story.

Also, Iraq has a President. Who knew?

Friday, January 28, 2005

After the Smoking Ban, She Doesn't Really Feel Like Going Out With Him Anymore
Or, Is He Really Going That Far For A Bad Post Title Joke?

Joe Jackson is pissed:
Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, commenting on the New York smoking ban, has stated that ‘the role of ETS in the development of chronic diseases is without scientific basis. There is no evidence that any New Yorker - patron or employee - has ever died as a result of exposure to smoke. The link between secondhand smoke and premature death . . . is a real stretch'.

Don't mind me. Just crusading again.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Condi's Book Club Selection This Month: Toni Morrison's A Grave and Gathering Threat 

Tonight on Condoleezza! -- Our host and renowned Non-Existent-Nationologist welcomes noted Latino and fellow over-promoted incompetent Alberto Gonzales, and Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher.

With the comedy stylings of former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, soon appearing on his HBO special, The Dumbest Fucking Guy On the Face Of the Earth.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Payola Scandal Rocks Sundance! 

I can't believe that cute little Maggie Gyllenhaal accepted payments from the Department of Health and Human Services to pimp Bush's "marriage initiative" -- that just doesn't sound like her! Untalented "Bubbleboy"-star Jake, maybe. But not our indie darling Maggie!

Though this does explain the strong pro-hetero-marriage themes in many of her films -- from Riding in Cars With Boys, the story of a free-thinking rebellious single mother learning the value of marriage to a strong male father-figure, to Mona Lisa Smile, the story of rebellious, free-thinking art professor teaching her students the value of traditional, biblical marriage. Yep. Shoulda seen this one coming.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

In Which Two Fire-Related Stories Highlight Our Differences, Then Reveal Our Essential Similarities 

Oh, boo hoo hoo say all the New Yorkers about one little fire in a train station. "How will I get to work? How will I get to school?" Those 670,000 daily A and C riders will not stop whining about how their daily commutes will be a little harder for 3 to 5 years, possibly endangering their livelihoods. Buy a car, already!

Well, in America's heartland, we're having our own problems (note: I am not actually in America's heartland. But neither is David Brooks, so lay off):

Arson blamed in fire that killed hundreds of sheep
NERSTAND, Minn. -- Arson was to blame for the fire that killed more than 300 sheep at Shepherd's Way Farms in Rice County, state and county investigators announced Tuesday.

Susan Lasley, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said investigators determined the fire was started in the lamb nursery.

Veterinary students and staff of Shepherd's Way Farm continued this morning to treat the sheep that survived. However, "we're continuing to have to destroy more animals today,'' farm owner Steve Read said.

Of the 341 animals that died in the fire, 200 of them were lambs, she said.
In the emotional hours after the fire, Steve Read estimated that 550 sheep had been lost. On Tuesday, the number appeared to be significantly lower, but sheep continued to die from their injuries.

Gunshots occasionally rang out from behind another building as sheriff's deputies and others euthanized animals that were too badly injured.

Based on the local tv news reaction to a fire in a mostly-empty warehouse a couple weeks ago, I predict a Minneapolis anchor, wearing his best "serious" face, will refer to this as "the Minnesota Sheep community's own 9/11" by the end of the week (if one hasn't already).

So while you're waiting for your severely overcrowded and irregular A train service tomorrow, having paid your recently raised fare, on the way to your sub-minimum wage-paying restaurant job, just be grateful that the periodic gunshot-like noises you hear aren't cute li'l sheep being shot in cold blood by thick-mustachioed doughy midwestern sherrif's deputies, just (surly, non-cute) former station fare booth employees being shuttled to abandoned stations and (humanely) euthanized, as a cost-cutting measure. And when the train does come, it will be run by a robot. It's just the kind of customer service you've come to expect from the MTA, now in the 3rd fantastic year of their landmark "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" anti-terrorism campaign.

Unlikely Juxtaposition = Satire Week Continues 

In $8 Billion Restaurant Industry, Zagat's Finds Mostly 'Bad Jobs'
A new survey of New York City's restaurant industry has found that at least 36 percent of its workers are "illegal immigrants," that 59 percent of restaurant workers surveyed reported "overtime violations," and that 73 percent said they "had no health insurance."
According to the study, "most" of the city's more than 165,000 restaurant workers "earned less than $20,000 a year" and 13 percent reported "minimum wage" "violations." The study also found that 33 percent of the city's restaurant workers reported "verbal abuse by their employers" and that 19 percent said management "illegally" "took a share of the tips!"

Monday, January 24, 2005

Life During Wartime 

Thomas "Some People Are About to Get Free!" Friedman is still reporting live from a rhetorical device in his latest column, which, conveniently, can be summarized with the lyrics to the song I happened to be listening to while reading it: "Animals" by the Talking Heads. Just replace each reference in the lyrics to "animals" with "Europeans" -- it's fun!

by David Byrne and Thomas L. Friedman

I'm mad...And that's a fact
I found out...[Europeans] don't help
[Europeans] think...They're pretty smart
Shit on the ground...See in the dark.

They wander around like a crazy dog
Make a mistake in the parking lot
Always bumping into things
Always let you down down down down.

They're never there when you need them
They never come when you call them
They're never there when you need them
The never come when you call them down down down down.

I know the [Europeans]...Are laughing at us
They don't even know...What a joke is
I won't follow...[Europeans]'s advice
I don't care...If they're laughing at us.


They say they don't need money
They're living on nuts and berries
They say [Europeans] don't worry
You know [Europeans] are hairy?
They think they know what's best
They're making a fool of us
They ought to be more careful
They're setting a bad example
They have untroubled lives
They think everything's nice
They like to laugh at people
They're setting a bad example
(Go ahead) Laugh at me.
(repeat until fade, or 800 words)

Extra credit: Do it again, in reverse!
All that the [animals] care about is being able to say to George Bush, "We told you so."

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Culture Jamming On the Skids 

And now I must blogroll Mark Dery, secure in the knowledge that he would probably hate me.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I Can't Quit You Baby 

After neither blogging nor guest-blogging (apologies to Scout) at all for the duration of Winter Break, I'm back again. I'll be at the big Drinking Liberally inauguration party tonight, less for the liberally than for the drinking, but if you're in town and you couldn't make it into the Tsunami benefit with Lou Reed and Moby, you ought to come -- free admission, beer, commiseration, what more can you ask for on a Thursday night? It's either that or the new 90s-themed nightclub, featuring reproductions of the famous blue dress and OJ's white Bronco. Should be almost as fun as Silent Cal's, the '20s-themed bar and grill, where you can enjoy Sacco and Baked Ziti with a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola.

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