Daily Archives: November 12, 2011

Snow White & The Huntsman Trailer…

It’s unfortunate that so much time and money was spent making the upcoming Snow White movie with Academy Award winner Charlize Theron and Academy Award show viewer Kristen Stewart when someone could have just told them about the existence of Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” from 1937.

I’m not sure how this oversight occurred. There’s clearly video footage that proves conclusively that the film was made. They could have asked me. I would have gladly waived my normal consulting fee to spare them this embarrassment.

The Theron film is promoted as the “first in a planned trilogy.” The Disney film managed to tell the whole story in less than 90 minutes but George Lucas wasn’t alive in 1937.

Most likely the only thing the two films will have in common is that the Evil Queen in both makes the error of hiring a man to murder a woman who the talking mirror — apparently an expert on this sort of thing — says is the “fairest one of all.” One would think someone with her resources could find a female, non-lesbian to do the job.

Also — and I know this from experience — always confirm that the heart is actually human in case someone tries to pull the old “pig’s heart” scam on you. It’s regrettable to have to do business this way but you just can’t trust some people.

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Pop Life


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The War Against Thanksgiving…

There is much complaint of late that the Christmas season seems to start the day after Halloween, effectively preempting Thanksgiving. The National Retail Federation (yes, that’s real) officially declares November 1 the beginning of all the “Santa Claus, ho-ho-ho and mistletoe, and presents to pretty girls” that Sally told Schroeder about in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

However, the Nordstrom store in Portland, Oregon is resisting the early call of the holidays and has declared Christmas music off-limits until the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday because that was the day African-Americans got to celebrate after spending the actual holiday serving the guests at the Thanksgiving dinner scenes in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

That’s somewhat unfortunate because there are no real Thanksgiving tunes — not even a “Monster Mash.” I can understand not wanting to hear the more overtly Christmas songs such as “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” or “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” until a half hour before midnight on December 25 (my preference), but we could all use more exposure to “Last Christmas” or “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — it’s been a Christmas ritual of mine since 1986 to watch Darlene Love perform the latter on David Letterman’s show each year.

Thanksgiving has also produced a paucity of seasonally themed movies or TV show episodes. Old men don’t suddenly see the error of their ways and start down a path of redemption on Thanksgiving. They just watch football and occasionally tell a racist joke before falling asleep on the couch.

The exceptions are few — I plan to download the 1986 Thanksgiving episode of “Cheers” — a classic half hour of comedy, and I preferred spending Thanksgiving with the cast of “Friends” than with anyone else from 1994 to 2003.

Otherwise, much like the Charlie Brown specials, Thanksgiving on a cultural basis ranks behind Halloween and Christmas, and given the economy, there might be a lot of cold cereal and toast instead of turkey and stuffing on the menu.

The challenge for Thanksgiving is that there’s nothing really special about it — no crass commercialism of Christmas, which is what the U.S. does best, and no excuse to dress up and over-indulge on candy like Halloween. It’s basically a dinner party. You can do that any day of the year — especially if Woody Allen loaned you the black maids from “Hannah and Her Sisters” to help with the cooking and clean-up.

I think the problem is not that Christmas starts too early, it’s that it ends too soon. Is there anything more depressing than January with the decomposing tree in the corner, the discarded toys on the floor, and the stack of bills on the coffee table? It’s cold outside but not in the sexy way of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” but in the “I can’t believe it’s snowing again. How am I going to get to work?” way.

So, I say push Christmas back to January 25th. This will allow Thanksgiving to embrace its fate in the natural order as the opening act to Christmas while still maintaining some of its dignity. It will add some much-needed juice to January. You can even do one better and make New Year’s Eve February 13. If you go the right party, your loved one will have such a hangover the next morning, you won’t have to worry about Valentine’s Day.

It might surprise people who know me to find me promoting Christmas in any way, but frankly, the religious aspect of it has long been abandoned. Santa Claus is Alec Baldwin’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross” deriding Jesus’s Dave Moss: “Last year, I had a million guys dressed as me and twice as many TV specials. What did you have? See, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing.”

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Social Commentary


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Clark Durant does not want to buy the world a Coke…

U.S. Senate candidate Clark Durant, during a fundraising event at Calvin College, said that the Occupy Wall Street protesters should “go find a job.” This is what frustrates me most about the opposition to the Occupy movement. If after 9/11, people had taken to the streets to express their fear and anger over their belief that the government could not keep them safe, any politician who had said they should stop whining and “go defend themselves” would have wound up on some celebrity boxing reality show. Yet, it’s OK for politicians to derisively dismiss the public’s lack of faith that the government is at all concerned for their financial, rather than physical, security.

But that wasn’t the worst thing Durant said to the group of College Conservatives. (I’ve always applauded College Conservative for not wasting their 20s and 30s having their compassion and sympathy stomped out them. Best to get it out of the way early — like chicken pox — and use that free time for something more constructive, such as perfecting your golf swing.)

In regards to the wealth gap the movement decries, Durant said, “I think it should be wider.”

“Does anybody think Steve Jobs should not be (sic) in the 1 percent? He made life better for the 99 percent of the rest of us. You want to create opportunities for people with their unique gifts,” he said. “They have created value and wealth.”

I am forever grateful to Jobs for allowing me to have access to the entire Stephen Sondheim catalog when at the gym, but it’s not like the guy cured heart disease or developed an alternative energy source, ending our reliance on fossil fuels and ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity. He didn’t even create a silent vacuum cleaner. He was a successful businessman who made billions. That’s fine and all but don’t try to claim he wandered the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.

Durant also demonstrates a common Republican misunderstanding of how our economic system works: The 1 percent might command the nation’s wealth but it’s the 99 percent that actually creates it. If Durant believes the iPad is the 21st century’s version of the soft drink you buy the world in order to live in perfect harmony because everyone’s too busy playing Angry Birds to pay attention to each other, then he has to understand that all Jobs had was an idea without the people in the 99 percent who helped him implement it. Code had to be written. Devices had to be manufactured. But if Durant has his way, the people who did that would not have the spare change necessary to buy a Coke.

Invoking the name of God several times, Durant described himself as a “nerdy” kid whose life was profoundly changed by the C.S. Lewis allegory “The Great Divorce.”

I sometimes think Randians pulled a large-scale prank on Republicans and replaced the insides of all their Bibles with copies of “Atlas Shrugged.” Also, it’s nice that “The Great Divorce” moved a young Durant but it seems like his political goals are to turn the United States into the “grey town” Lewis described.

Durant is not entirely without empathy — he “likened the fissures in the Republican Party of today as analogous to the implosion of the Whig Party in the 1850s over the question of slavery. He said the 2012 election is a ‘defining moment’ for the party, which must decide whether or not to ‘enslave’ a generation with debt and spending.”

Is metaphorical “slavery” comparable to actual slavery? Let’s see: Slaves working 18 hour days in 100 degree heat generating wealth in which they’ll never share for a small few. That does sound similar to circumstances today. But Durant might want to reconsider which side he’s own.

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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Capitalism, Political Theatre


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