...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

March 31, 2006

Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

The kitty and chicken friendship video. Too cute.

Via one of the Beths.

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March 30, 2006

Prayer "Failure" Study Misses The Point

A recently concluded study on the power of prayer supposedly found no evidence that prayer had any effect on the recovery of 1800 heart patients.

In fact, the study found some of the patients who knew they were being prayed for did worse than others who were only told they might be prayed for -- though those who did the study said they could not explain why.

The patients in the study at six U.S. hospitals included 604 who were actually prayed for after being told they might or might not be; another 597 patients who were not prayed for after being told they might or might not be; and a group of 601 who were prayed for and told they would be the subject of such prayer.

. . .

Among the first group -- who were prayed for but only told they might be -- 52 percent had post-surgical complications compared to 51 percent in the second group, the ones who were not prayed for though told they might be. In the third group, who knew they were being prayed for, 59 percent had complications.

. . .

"Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on whether complications occurred (and) patients who were certain that intercessors would pray for them had a higher rate of complications than patients who were uncertain but did receive intercessory prayer," the study said.

I would caution against concluding from this study that prayer is ineffective. Such a conclusion misses a fundamental aspect of our relationship with God.

That is, simply put, God can say "no."

Just because someone does not get what they prayed for, does not mean that the prayer was not answered. It's an obvious point, but one that escapes a surprising number of people ― even many religious people.

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Advice For Political Wagering

Whenever a public figure insists he is not going to resign, take the over.

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Hips Don't Lie

Memo to Katherine McPhee: don't attempt Christina ever again.

Memo to Bucky: You're next. As the MySpace bloggers say: "he can't sing good."

the hips have spoken.

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Literary News

Ultrablognetic, the book. By fellow Cal Bear, longtime blogroll denizen, comic lover, and one of the coolest practitioners of the art of free association: Alfred Pennyworth (or whatever name he's going by these days). Congratulations dude.

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March 29, 2006

Pirate Call

My plate's too full for this, but some of you youngsters out there might think about joining Bluto's Pirate Fleet. It sounds like a fun way to win friends and influence people. Aaarr!

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Useless Jelly Belly Blogging

My first Easter themed post of the season.

The thing about eating from a bag of assorted jelly bellies is that there's no way to identify the various flavors, except by trusting your mouth.

Sometimes I'll just grab a bunch and then say I'm making my own flavor out of the combinations. But that usually results in something that consistently resembles sugary mud. Assuming I know what mud tastes like, which I don't.

Eating them one by one is like a flavor quiz.

Here's one that tastes like peanuts. Another that tastes like balsamic vinegar. Another that tastes like maple syrup.

This is fun.

Here's a yellow one. I expect lemon but it turns out to be banana. Cool.

Black should always be licorice. It is.

Here's a deep red one. It looks like a kidney bean. Ouch. It is a kidney bean. Who put that in there?

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Any poem that contains the following bit of wisdom is probably worth a look:

. . . you, Hangover,
are the opposite of Orgasm. Certainly
you go on too long and in your grip
one thinks, How to have you never again?

From "Ode To Hangover," by Dean Young, which you can find at Slate.com. It's supposed to have a link whereby you can listen to the author reading it, but the link don't work on my machine.

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March 28, 2006

Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

Anyone who tries this, let me know if it works.

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Go Fish



In yet another striking display of tone-deafness, President Bush ignored critics of his administration by *gasp* failing to name a liberal as his new chief of staff.

Developing . . .

Update: A despondent David Gergen was seen crying in his beer at a Georgetown pub, muttering something about "number six."

Developing . . .

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The Law Of Diminishing Returns Rears Its Ugly Head

Yet another ill-advised Oceans sequel.

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March 27, 2006

Guillermo Fariñas

Please find out about Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas and why he's on a hunger strike for what you and I take for granted. Start at The Cotillion and Fausta's Blog.

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The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part Six

I was going to review Seems Like Old Times next, but I have to skip back to the beginning after finally seeing Goldie's first movie ever.


The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968

bandposter.jpgThis was a pleasant surprise. I really liked this movie, though I didn't think I would. The concept couldn't sound more boring, even to a history buff like myself. It's set during the contentious presidential election of 1888, between Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland and Republican challenger Benjamin Harrison. Not exactly a formula for box office bonanzae, even back in 1968. I'd hate to have been the one pitching this one to Disney:

Mr. Disney: Hmm. I don't know. Who did you have in mind to play the lead?

Pitcher: Well, John Davidson's available, and Walt Brennan's signed on.

Mr. Disney: Uhhh. Who else?

Pitcher: And Buddy Ebsen.

Mr. Disney: Errr. The Beverly Hillbillies guy? Is that all? I don't know.

Pitcher: Oh... and uh, I think we can get Kurt Russell.

Mr. Disney: Russell? Why the hell didn't you say so?! That kid's gold! When can you start production?

Originally intended as a two part tv movie, TOAOGOFB was based on the exploits of some real life historical figures, the Bower family of South Dakota.
The Bowers became quite popular in the area because they had they own family band. . . . At the time, there was only one brass band west of the Missouri River, the military band attached to the Seventh Regiment, then stationed in Fort Meade. The military band was scheduled to perform at [a] celebration. Calvin [Bower] went to extreme measures and was successful to persuade the committee to also book his Family Band to play for the occasion.

. . . When the chairman called for music, the leader of the Fort Meade Band responded. After the speaker spoke, the chairman hardly rose when the Bower Band began to play without permission. The Bowers took the crowd by surprise and there was much clapping and shouting. It took the breath right out of the Fort Meade band and they folded up their music racks and left the platform. This was the introduction of the Family Band to the Black Hills.

In the movie, the fictional Bowers are divided along party lines with Grandpa (Walt Brennan, who else?) a cantankerous Democrat, and his son (Buddy Ebsen) a quiet Republican. Brennan's granddaughter gets involved with a dashing Republican newspaperman (John Davidson). He convinces the whole family to move to the Dakota territory, hoping they'll add to the solid Republican majority.

Davidson and the local Republicans are working to get Dakota admitted to the Union as two separate states, in order to shift the balance of power in congress with the addition of four Republican senators.* Davidson gets a shock when he finds Walt Brennan in the schoolhouse, doing a sort of 19th Century Jay Bennish act for the kids.


The eerie topicality of TOAOGOFB is one of the delights of this movie. The musical numbers are horribly bad** (with the notable exception of the finale, which is Goldie's only scene), but I laughed out loud at the unexpected parallels between 1888 politics and today.

Besides the issue of overtly political schoolteachers, the movie touches on political demagoguery, freedom of speech and dissent, and even stolen elections. As you all should know (I'm not ruining anything for you) Benjamin Harrison won the 1888 election despite losing the popular vote by over 90,000. During the movie's election night party scene, the Democrats' elation turns to violence when they find out that their man lost after the electoral votes were tallied. A riot starts and the meeting hall gets trashed. It only stops when the One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band plays "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" to calm the crowd down.

After the brawl, Buddy Ebsen gets up to address the partisans with words that are appropriate whether the date be 1888, 1968 or even 2006:

All of us here together can build the greatest united country in the whole bloomin' world if we'll just remember one thing. There's a time to stand up and fight for what you believe in, and there is a time to join hands and work together, or all the fighting doesn't mean a thing.
The teenaged Kurt Russell made the most of his small part. Despite the fact that he hated dancing, Kurt acquited himself well during the musical numbers. Goldie's one-line part featured some pretty good dancing, as well as her trademark smile. The big scene involves a sort of dance-duel between Lesley Ann Warren and John Davidson as they try to make each other jealous by do-si-do-ing with other partners. Goldie is Davidson's "other partner."


There are no scenes between Goldie and Kurt; and their off screen romance developed many years later. Goldie's memoir, A Lotus Grows In The Mud, includes the story of how she met Kurt the second time, during the casting of 1984's Swing Shift. Goldie apparently didn't even recognize Kurt, and although he remembered Goldie, Kurt had a big crush on Lesley Ann Warren at the time. Funny how the two of them were in the same movie without realizing that they were soulmates until sixteen years later!

I totally recommend TOAOGOFB, but only if you are prepared for the odd combination of Gilded Age politics and good old fashioned Disney schmaltz. I give it 3½ stars.

* As you all know, in 1888, Senators were elected by the state legislatures.

** I can't emphasize enough how bad the songs are. The libretto includes a rousing tribute to Grover Cleveland, "Let's Put It Over With Grover," (don't rock the boat/ give him your vote...) and a similarly pukeworthy paean to Benjamin Harrison, titled simply "Oh Benjamin Harrison," (he's far beyond comparison...). However, the final dance number, "West O' The Wide Missouri," is well choreographed and the song is pretty catchy. Also, 60 year old Buddy Ebsen showed he could still do a nice soft shoe routine.

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March 26, 2006

Just To Show You How Completely Fucked My Bracket Is

My percentage of picks in Six Meat Buffet's Tournament Challenge is 17%. Abysmal, but I did worse in my own fantasy baseball league last year.

Here's how my Oakland regional picks turned out:


What gets me is how someone like Preston can hit 96.8% of his picks. He oughta change his name to Prestondigitator. Or the current leader, Duane, with an astonishing 98.5% score. How do you do that without a crystal ball?

I guess it helps if you know something about college hoops.

But I bet I can accessorize better than both of 'em. I know a little something about hoop earrings, you see.

Anyways, the last two spots in the Final Four will be filled tonight. I say it will be Villanova (whom i've picked to win it all) and UConn. I saw yesterday's games and LSU looked damn strong. LSU and 'Nova in the final? What do you think?

Update: George Mason? I thought he died in season two?

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First Woman Osprey Pilot

Congratulations to Captain Elizabeth A. Okoreeh-Baah, USMC. She's the first woman to take on the very tricky V-22 Osprey aircraft. Good luck to her. She sounds like she has the right stuff.

Captain Elizabeth A. Okoreeh-Baah spent the first five and a half years of her career in the Marine Corps as a CH-46E “Sea Knight” pilot, but when Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-263 began transitioning to the Osprey Program while she was stationed there, she became one of the first female pilots to begin training on the controls of the tiltrotor aircraft.

. . .

“She’s going to go a long way because she never quits. She can succeed at anything she puts her mind to,” said Okoreeh-Baah’s father, Isaac K. Okoreeh-Baah Sr., a native of Ghana, North Africa. “She gets that from me, I think.”

The controversial Osprey is supposed to take off like a helicopter and then fly like an airplane by tilting its huge propellers forward.

Here's some cool video of the Osprey in action.

Before the Osprey, there was always a trade off between fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. The spinning blades of a helicopter make it inherently slower than a regular airplane, with a shorter range and a lower top altitude. But fixed wings need a runway. The Osprey gives you get the best of both worlds: the speed, range and ceiling of an airplane, plus the vertical take-off and hovering capability of a helicopter. The V-22 is designed to replace the big dual rotor CH-46 Sea Knight, which has been around since 1960.

The Osprey is controversial because the military spent a lot of money on it and then it started crashing. A lot. There was a time when the DoD wanted to cancel the program. All I know is when I tried flying my dad's computer game Osprey, I kept crashing it. So I've not always been a fan of the plane (or helicopter, or whatever).

The 1986 estimated cost of a single V-22 was about $24 million with a projected 923 to be built. The first Bush administration cancelled the project in April 1989, by which time the cost of a single craft was estimated at $35 million. However, Congress continued to allocate funding for the program in a November 1989 authorization. Throughout Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney’s tenure, he and Congress wrestled over the question of the V-22 as he felt the project would cost more than the amount appropriated. Eventually he relented, proposing that $1.5 billion be spent in fiscal years 1992 and 1993 to develop the project. The arrival of the Clinton administration into the White House in 1992 provided new support for the program.

Osprey crashes have resulted in 30 deaths. No one died in a June 11, 1991, Osprey crash, but a crash July 20, 1992, in Virginia killed three Marines and four civilians. The Osprey was grounded for 11 months after this crash. A crash in Arizona April 8, 2000, killed 19 Marines, grounding the aircraft for two months. Another crash in North Carolina Dec. 11 of the same year killed four Marines. After the December crash, the Osprey was grounded until May 29, 2002.

One of the crashes was caused by something called "vortex ring state," which happens when a helicopter descends through its own air turbulence. To correct this, Osprey pilots are supposed to descend slowly, although some say that Ospreys should be able to descend faster than conventional helicopters.

Supposedly all the bugs have been worked out. So I'll keep my fingers crossed, and hope that the Osprey lives up to its promise.

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Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

Okay Victor, have you seen this yet?

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March 25, 2006

Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

Two words: viking kitties.

Via Beth.

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This Is How They Get Ya

I saw no reason to want a video Ipod, until I discovered that there is a "Strong Bad Email" video podcast. Now I must have one.


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March 24, 2006

Bad Move

I loved the book Reagan's War, by Peter Schweizer. It tells the story of Reagan's lifelong commitment to anti-communism. The most striking thing about Reagan's foreign policy was the breadth of his offensive against the Eastern Bloc. It wasn't just the overt moves: the arms race, SDI, the summits. He put a lot of resources into more subtle efforts to encourage democracy, most notably support for Poland's Solidarity movement. He also revitalized the Voice of America, which had lost sight of its original purpose as a propaganda tool.

No serious person doubts that Reagan's multi-pronged offensive worked. We should be using the same combination of threats, negotiation and propaganda against Iran. But Congress doesn't see it that way, as reported by ThreatsWatch:

From the House Committee on Appropriations comes word of the failure to fully fund the $75M requested by the administration to assist in broadcast/ telecast/ satellite communication efforts into the people of Iran.
"Promotion of Democracy in Iran - The committee did not fund the $75 million requested by the Administration for the promotion of democracy in Iran because it was poorly justified. Instead, $56 million was provided through proven, existing programs that will have an immediate, positive impact on the fostering of democratic ideals in Iran."
. . .

The $75M was not enough and, as it was, decades late in the game. To see Congress slash the belated efforts by nearly one-third out of the gate, in light of the current urgency, borders on disconcerting.

Sometimes I suspect that there are folks in Congress who are not just clueless, but actively working to harm the people who elected them.

The Iranian problem is a very tough one, and we're in a situation which requires a creative solution. Of all the options available to us, encouraging regime change from within Iran is the least unattractive, in my opinion. Thus, I don't think now is the time to be skimping on resources devoted to that end.

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March 18, 2006

The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part Five

Today let's take a look at two of Goldie's action comedies from the mid to late seventies: The Duchess And The Dirtwater Fox and Foul Play.


The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, 1976

duchessposter.jpgStarring Goldie Hawn and George Segal (whom I loved in one of the meanest movies ever, the classic Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?).

The interesting thing about Duchess is how different Goldie's character is from her more timid roles of the early seventies. It seems that her roles had gradually become more assertive with each film, and this one went way off the scale.

The movie opens with Goldie and another chick rolling on the floor in a full-on bitch fight. She talks like a sailor, punches people out, handles a Winchester like a pro, and even flips the middle finger in one scene. A recurrent motif in the film are a couple of embroidered pasties that keep falling out of Goldie's purse at inopportune moments.


Goldie plays a hooker/cabaret dancer in 19th century San Francisco, who's always on the make. Segal plays a small time crook/gambler who's also always on the make. A bag of stolen money brings them together, and as I like to say, hijinx ensue.

At first Goldie doesn't like Segal, who's all hands when they first meet. But then she finds out about the money and plays along until she can steal it from him. He chases her, and a gang of outlaws chases him. Somehow or another Goldie gets mixed up with a band of Mormons on their way to Salt Lake City, including the great Conrad Janis. (I think there's the obligatory shot of a stagecoach going over a cliff, which must be stock footage because I've seen it in so many westerns it's not even funny.)


The comedy is pretty hit or miss, but the funniest scene takes place inside the stagecoach between Goldie and Segal. They're trying to concoct a scheme without Conrad Janis, who's sitting between them, figuring out what they're saying. So they speak in a comical pidgin German that's really well done.

The rest of the movie is kind of juvenile and the situations seem contrived. Goldie realizes she loves the gambler in the middle of a chase scene, while they're pretending to be guests at a jewish wedding. Later, they have sex in a rowboat, before going through the rapids. The bad guys eventually catch up with our heroes and tie them to stakes in the desert.


Finally, everything works out for the best, but I forgot if they get to keep the money or not. Costume-wise, the movie is heavy on red and black. The costume designer must have been a big Stendhal fan, I guess. One highlight of the movie is when Goldie sings a bawdy song called "Please Don't Touch Me Plums" with a bunch of kids, Julie Andrews style. Fans of Bobby Vinton should also like the sappy theme song, "Lemon Drops, Lollipops And Sunbeams."

Consider me not one of Bobby Vinton's fans. Nor am I a big fan of The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, which I gave two stars on the Neflix scale. Goldie's performance was a standout (she was nominated for a Golden Globe). But the chuckles in this screwball comedy were too few and far between, and couldn't overcome the generally mediocre script.

Foul Play, 1978

fpposter.jpgThis is the first of Goldie's two romantic comedies with co-star Chevy Chase. It's also an homage to the Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much, which is one of my favorites.

Despite his work in the classics Caddyshack, Vacation and Fletch, I've never really warmed up to Chevy Chase. I'm not quite sure why. In Foul Play, he's a San Francisco detective who protects Goldie Hawn from a gang of assassins out to kill the pope. I suppose people thought Chevy was sexy in those days, but he does nothing for me. Still, the romantic scenes between him and Goldie happen to be the most convincing of any movie she'd done so far.

Goldie's part was a complete 180° from her character in Duchess. In Foul Play, Goldie is a 30-something divorcee who's cute but dissillusioned by the dating scene and looking down the barrel of spinsterhood. She actually reminds me a lot of Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally, even down to the oversized 80's glasses.


There's not much to Goldie's character; she's kind of an everywoman who's only purpose is to hold the silly plot together. I can't help but like this movie though, despite it's myriad flaws. It's the supporting cast that makes Foul Play as enjoyable as it is. Look who else is in it: Brian Dennehy, Burgess Meredith, Billy Barty and Dudley Moore. (All are dead now, by the way. And don't tell me Brian Dennehy is still alive. You and I both know that Brian Dennehy and Brian Keith are/were the same person.)

Two scenes are absolutely worth the price of the rental. The first is the legendary American debut of Dudley Moore, which is the one scene everybody probably remembers most. While Goldie is trying to hide from a villain known only as "the albino," she asks Dudley Moore to take her back to his place. He misunderstands, thinking he's going to get lucky. It's rotfl funny, with Dudley's valentines day boxers, and the disco ball, and the helium filled blow-up dolls, and the murphy bed with its little trumpet fanfare. That one scene propelled Dudley Moore to stardom, and the next year he did 10 with Bo Derek.

Here's an interesting bit of Dudley Moore/George Segal trivia, which I got from IMDb.

[Dudley Moore was] the first choice to play Henry Fine in "The Mirror Has Two Faces," only to be replaced by George Segal (who was, ironically, replaced by Moore in the role of George Webber in "10"). In an interview following his announcement that he had supranuclear palsy, he revealed that he was dismissed from the role because he had trouble remembering his lines.
The second most memorable scene in Foul Play is when Burgess Meredith kicks the villainess's ass in a kung-fu fight. That's pretty much all I need to say about that crazy scene.


I did run into a little suspension of disbelief issue when Chevy and Goldie were racing through San Francisco trying to get to the Opera House in time to foil the assassination plot. They seemed to be driving through all the wrong neighborhoods. Maybe I know the City too well, but I was like: "Dude, it ain't that hard. Just take Gough, you'll get there in five minutes."

The costumes weren't all that hot. Goldie wears a lot of nondescript solid color sweaters. She ends the movie in a disco era powder blue décolleté that I don't like at all. The music however, was a strong point for me. Barry Manilow sings the Oscar nominated theme song and, as you know, I love Barry. Plus, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado is featured throughout.

I'm giving Foul Play three Netflix stars. It made me laugh a lot more than it had a right to. But the characters are lovable, and it definitely succeeds as fun and light entertainment.

Previous installments in the 1st Annual Annika's Journal Film Festival can be found here. I have three more to go. Next up, Seems Like Old Times.

Update: Congratulations to Goldie Hawn, who recieved the American Film Institute's Star Award in Aspen last Saturday. She's still hot.

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March 17, 2006

New Boys' Toy

Best quote: "I thought this thing was sick."

Have fun guys!

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March 16, 2006

Commie Star Trek

Check it out.

Via emailer Hannes.

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Airborne Assault

Woke up to this news today:

U.S. forces, joined by Iraqi troops, on Thursday launched the largest airborne assault since the U.S.-led invasion, targeting insurgent strongholds north of the capital, the military said.

The military said the operation was aimed at clearing 'a suspected insurgent operating area' northeast of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and was expected to continue over several days.

'More than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation,' the military statement said of the attack designed to 'clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra,' 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The province is a major part of the so-called Sunni triangle where insurgents have been active since shortly after the U.S.-led invasion three years ago.
Saddam Hussein was captured in the province, not far from its capital and his hometown, Tikrit.

Waqas al-Juwanya, a spokesman for
Iraq's joint coordination center in nearby Dowr, said 'unknown gunmen exist in this area, killing and kidnapping policemen, soldiers and civilians.'

Near the end of the first day of the operation, the military said, 'a number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms.'

Noticeably absent from the story was any mention of "civilian deaths" or any quotes from the "insurgents" point of view. That may come later, but for now I'm proud of the AP writer.

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March 15, 2006

Tournament Bracket

As a teaser, I'm revealing one quarter of my tournament bracket for you all to harsh on.


I'm in Six Meat Buffet's ESPN group. As you can see, I'm really a believer in 'Bama. Also, the 'Zags don't make it to the sweet sixteen on my chart and Kent State gets shot down in the first round. But am I dreaming when I pick Memphis to make the final four? Stay tuned.

Update: Fuck. Oklahoma is out. There goes my Minneapolis bracket.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

The following poem is ascribed to St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, born a Roman citizen in Scotland in the year 387 and died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland on March 17, 493.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

According to tradition, St. Patrick composed this prayer before travelling to convert Ireland's pagan king. Along the way, assassins were set to murder him but as he said the prayer, the attackers mistook his party for a herd of deer. Thus it is also known as "The Deer's Cry."

Thomas Cahill doubts that the poem was written by St. Patrick himself, instead dating it to the 7th or 8th Century.

The earliest expression of European vernacular poetry, it is, in attitude, the work of a Christian Druid, a man of both faith and magic. Its feeling is entirely un-Augustinian; but it is this feeling that will go on to animate the best poetry of the Middle Ages. If Patrick did not write it (at least in its current form), it surely takes its inspiration from him. For in this cosmic incantation, the anarticulate outcast who wept for slaves, aided common men in difficulty, and loved sunrise and sea at last finds his voice. Appropriately, it is an Irish voice.
[Cahill, How The Irish Saved Civilization, p.116.]

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March 14, 2006

AI Blogging

Top four for me were Katharine, Paris, Taylor and Chris, in that order. Katharine and Paris were almost tied, but I gave the edge to Katharine because I didn't expect her to be so polished as she was.

But let me tell you, there's a reason Stevie Wonder is an icon. When Randy, who's prone to exagerration, said that Stevie is one of the greatest singers in the known world, Randy was lying. Stevie is one of the greatest musicians in history. You could see how the top twelve struggled with what he makes sound easy.

And Stevie's effect on people reminds me of how devotees react when they get close to the guru. It's supernatural.

Finally, I think Kevin may have bought himself another week.

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"Civil War" Semantics

What exactly is "civil war" and is Iraq really edging closer to it?

Iraqi authorities discovered at least 87 corpses — men shot to death execution-style — as Iraq edged closer to open civil warfare. Twenty-nine of the bodies, dressed only in underwear, were dug out of a single grave Tuesday in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad.

. . .

Police began unearthing bodies early Monday, although the discoveries were not immediately reported. The gruesome finds continued throughout the day Tuesday, police said, marking the second wave of sectarian retribution killings since bombers destroyed an important Shiite shrine last month.

In the mayhem after the golden dome atop the Askariya shrine in Samarra was destroyed on Feb. 22, more than 500 people have been killed, many of them Sunni Muslims and their clerics. Dozens of mosques were damaged or destroyed.

Underlining the unease in the capital, Interior Ministry officials announced another driving ban, from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 4 p.m. Thursday to protect against car and suicide bombs while the Iraqi parliament meets for the first session since the Dec. 15 election.

Okay. Sounds like there's been some violence. Nothing new there. The government is taking steps to limit further violence. Also to be expected. But where is the support for the assertion that this recent violence is something new ― something different than the insurgency that has been going on since 2003?

People are throwing the term "civil war" around a lot lately, and I think it's interesting that nobody defines what that means. So I looked to that unassailable source, the Wikipedia, which has this to say:

A civil war is a war in which parties within the same country or empire struggle for national control of state power. As in any war, the conflict may be over other matters such as religion, ethnicity, or distribution of wealth. Some civil wars are also categorized as revolutions when major societal restructuring is a possible outcome of the conflict. An insurgency, whether successful or not, is likely to be classified as a civil war by some historians if, and only if, organized armies fight conventional battles. Other historians state the criteria for a civil war is that there must be prolonged violence between organized factions or defined regions of a country (conventionally fought or not). In simple terms, a Civil War is a war in which a country fights another part of itself. [links omitted]
More enlightenment can be found in the classic text, The American Constitution, Its Origins And Development, which describes the semantic issue in the context of the American Civil War:
An insurrection is legally construed to be an organized and armed uprising for public political purposes; it may seek to overthrow the government, or it may seek merely to suppress certain laws or to alter administrative practice. A rebellion in general is considered to have a much more highly developed political and military organization than an insurrection; in international law it conveys belligerent status. Generally, such belligerent status implies that the belligerent government is attempting by war to free itself from the jurisdiction of the parent state, that it has an organized de facto government, that it is in control of at least some territory, and that it has sufficient proportions to render the issue of the conflict in doubt. An international war, on the other hand, is one between two or more independent states who are recognized members of the family of nations.

In international law the rights of parties to an armed conflict vary greatly with their status. Insurgents have a very limited status; they are not mere pirates or bandits, but their activities do not constitute 'war' in the de jure sense, and they cannot claim against neutrals the privileges of the laws of war. A full rebellion, on the other hand, is a 'war' so far as international law is concerned and the rebel government possesses all the belligerent rights of a fully recognized international state, toward both neutrals and the parent state. Needless to say, a parent state may attempt by force to suppress either an insurrection or a rebellion. In domestic law rebels may be criminals in the eyes of the parent state, and answerable to its courts if their movement fails. (Kelly, Harbison and Belz, The American Constitution, Its Origins And Development, 1955, 6th ed. at pp. 306-07.)

In the American Civil War, the Confederacy tried to define the conflict as an international war. Obviously, the Federals tried to define it as an insurrection. In truth, it was a rebellion. But the historic distinctions are interesting when applied to what's going on in Iraq.

I think it's clear that there is no civil war yet, by any accepted definition of the term. Can it happen? Perhaps, but there would need to be a lot more organization on the part of the al Qaeda and Baathists who are currently running the opposition. I think that's a long way off. Right now, it's just an ad hoc campaign of violence, much like a gang war, with no clearly articulated end other than to chase the US out.

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March 11, 2006

Go Cal Bears!

Cal beat Oregon last night, and will play #13 UCLA today for the PAC-10 championship! It's now an intrafamily rivalry Saturday, my dad being a UCLA graduate.

California (20-9) reached its first Pac-10 tournament final with a 91-87 double-overtime victory Friday over Oregon. The Bears, who finished third in the conference, likely will make the field of 65 regardless of the outcome of this game.

Forward Leon Powe claimed a Pac-10 tournament record for the second straight game, scoring 41 points to better the previous mark of 39, set by UCLA's Reggie Miller in 1987.

The senior, whose late basket forced the second overtime, established a new rebounding record Thursday by pulling down 20 in a victory over Southern California.

Ayinde Ubaka added 12 of his 17 points in the two overtime periods for Cal, which rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit and a seven-point gap in the final 2:45 of regulation.

The win gave Ben Braun his sixth 20-win season at Cal, moving past Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell for most in school history.

The teams have split two all-time Pac-10 tournament games, with Cal posting a 67-61 win in the 2002 quarterfinals. The road team won both games in the season series, with Bruins guard Arron Afflalo scoring 44 points in the two games.

But who will Hugo root for? The game is at 3:15 PST on CBS.

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Now People Think I'm Lindsay

As you know, I did a marginally funny spoof of an e-mail to Lindsay Lohan well over a year ago. I got so many comments from Lindsay fans asking me to put them in touch with her, I had to close the comments. Now I just get tons of emails. It's tapered off to about one a week now.

Here's a new twist, though. Some emailers think I'm Lindsay! Which is inexplicable, especially if they've read even one or two posts of mine. Oh well, it's better than people thinking I'm Ashlee, which would truly be insulting.

From: "[redacted to prevent embarrassment]" [*]@hotmail.co.uk
To: coolconnector20@yahoo.com
Subject: to lindsey.lohan
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 15:00:50 +0000

hiya you dont know me but im one of your fans i always feel sorry 4 you when you get ppl taking pictures of you in the street when u want them 2 leave you alone. I would like 2 be in one of your films later in the years please could you add me email or send an email to me i aint sure if you are lindsey lohan or not if you are dont worry i wont telll any1 your email your in safe hands with me i look abit like you actually lol. i wish i was as pretty as u. ppl always say i do abit. i know alot about you that ive read on internet and makeup books i read.I wish we was m8s i always listen to your music and i think your are a good singer. Ive heard about your dad and i hope everythin goes well if it already has :)

my email addy is [*]@hotmail.co.uk

as i live in the uk lol of course :P

sorry 4 taking your time wish your ok and hope your brother and 11 year old sister is ok well guess shes nearly 12 now :) i want to be a celeb like you but i aint sure where 2 start and i also wants 2 live in america but my
parents moan that i need some1 2 support me as i want 2 live in florida loved all your movies i aint seen herbie yet but the clips i have seen are kool :)

sorry if i am rambling on lol i would like to know your addy so i can talk to you but if u think im a pain following you, then you dont need 2 add my email addy.

nice talking to you lindsey bye bye xxxxxxx

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March 09, 2006


annikagyrl: what do you get when you put the OC after AI?
bettyspaggetti: idk
annikagyrl: aioc!
bettyspaggetti: lol
annikagyrl: lol
bettyspaggetti: that wasn't funny

Posted by annika at 09:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Oh, by the way, today is my three year bloggy-versary. Congratulations will be accepted.

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For Those Keeping Score . . .

. . . it's President Bush - 0, the base - 2

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The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part Four


Shampoo, 1975

Yes, the biggie, the classic. There's a lot to say about Shampoo, and a lot of good stuff has been written already.

In my view, this was a transitional movie in Goldie Hawn's career. She was thirty when the film came out. As Warren Beatty's girlfriend Jill, you still see the cute vulnerable waif from her previous comedies, but you also see flashes of the more assertive Goldie Hawn characters of the eighties and nineties. There's even a hint of that whininess she later honed to perfection in Bird On A Wire, Overboard and Private Benjamin.

Make no mistake, Shampoo is a Warren Beatty - Julie Christie vehicle, and Goldie is a supporting player.* But she had definitely arrived by 1975, and being cast in this film was merely proof of the fact.

Shampoo is another bedroom farce, but a vastly different one from Cactus Flower. Although set in 1968 (election day to be exact), Shampoo is a movie of the Seventies, or more accurately, that part of the Seventies which inspired the phrase "The Me Decade." Instead of slamming doors, each peccadillo is punctuated by a shot of Beatty tearing across Beverly Hills on his little Triumph 500.


Shampoo is about fucking. As much as each character can get away with. It's a very pre-aids movie. For a script that took eight years to write ― and the writing process was contentious at times ― there's not much of a plot. In a sense it's very much like a Dazed And Confused for the over 30 set. All the action takes place within about a 48 hour period. Beatty plays a vacant hairdresser juggling at least three women at the same time. Goldie is his easily manipulated girlfriend. Julie Christie plays an old flame who's also Goldie's best friend. And Lee Grant plays a client who's giving him a little something something on the side. Grant won an Academy Award for the role.

I must confess I didn't like Shampoo at first, mainly because I'm not a big fan of Warren Beatty. I hated Bullworth and Dick Tracy. And I was ambivalent about Bugsy, although I thought Splendor In The Grass and Reds were fantastic. But Shampoo has grown on me with each viewing. What it lacks in plot, it makes up in great lines. Like these:

GEORGE: Ever listen to women talk? I do till it's running out my ears. They only talk about one thing, How some guy fucked them over. That's all that's on their minds.
Lol. I hate to say it, but that's true in many cases. Not mine of course.

Here's some more classic dialogue. Lorna is the teenage daughter of one of the women Beatty's character is banging. She's played by Carrie Fisher in her first feature film role. I love this banter.

LORNA: Are you gay?... baked apple?... they're cold but they're good.

GEORGE: No thanks.

LORNA: Did you hear me?


LORNA: Well, are you? Are you queer?

GEORGE: yeah.

LORNA: (laughing) C'mon, are you or aren't you?

GEORGE: Gee, this is great.

He slices a piece of cheesecake. Lorna sits down, in the
chair nearest him now.

LORNA: C'mon, tell me. Don't be afraid.

GEORGE: Why do you wanna know so bad?

LORNA: See if you've been making it with my mother.

GEORGE: What would my being a faggot have to do with that?

LORNA: (shrugs) Nothing, I guess... have you ever made it with a guy?

GEORGE: Have you ever made it with a girl?

LORNA: I asked you first.

GEORGE: Yeah... I've made it with a girl...

Lorna smiles. A pause.

LORNA: Well, are you?

GEORGE: Am I what?

LORNA: Making it with my mother?

They end up screwing, of course.

There's two or three scenes with Goldie that blew me away. The first that comes to mind is a short scene when Goldie is walking home from an audition, and stops at a fruit stand. It shows the actress's maturation from a comedienne who delivers lines with great timing, to an actress who can show her inner dialogue without speaking a line.


You know she's obsessing over her fight with George, and whether or not to take that acting job, and you can see it all in her face, along with her character's indecisiveness and insecurity. Then she picks up an apple, and for just a moment, you watch her agonize over whether to buy the apple or not until she finally tosses it back in the bin. It's really hilarious.

The shot below is from another scene I love. It shows Goldie just after she got out of a porsche at the election night party, and her boyfriend Beatty is there escorting her best friend into the restaurant. Goldie shoots him a look that is pure daggers. And Beatty has this look like, "oh shit, this is going to be a long night." And it was.


By the way, the silver dress she wore for that election night party was simply adorable, and about as short as legally possible.

There's another great scene at a psychedelic party on a large Beverly Hills estate. Jack Warden's character and Goldie's happen to bust in on Warren Beatty and Julie Christie while they're fucking in the poolhouse. Julie Christie plays Warden's mistress, and Goldie's best friend, so you can imagine both of them are horrified at this discovery. But their reactions are the exact opposite of what you'd expect. It's a terrific scene.

My rating was three stars (liked it), definitely worth a rental. Next up on the AJFF: The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox.

* Goldie also starred opposite Warren Beatty in 1971's Dollars. Unfortunately, that film is not yet on DVD, and therefore Netflix doesn't carry it.

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March 08, 2006

AI Thoughts

Okay, cuz I know you've all been waiting for my AI thoughts.

Top three for me were Ace, Gideon and then my crush, Chris. Kevin will be going home tomorrow night along with, unfortunately, Gideon. I'm a huge Gideon fan, but I'm afraid his genre is too old fashioned for the average voter. But he led the competition all the way tonight. All the way until Ace came on, that is. Ace completely blew away the field. Completely. It totally slipped my mind how well he can do an MJ song.

Check in tomorrow night to see if I'm right.

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Visions Of Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. Celebrate by visiting The Cotillion, where you'll find as many points of view as there are types of women. Unlike on the feminist left, where anyone who doesn't toe the party line gets the boot. (How's that for mixed metaphors?)

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AI Blogging

Everyone sucked last night, except for Melissa. Even Mandisa sucked, which was surprising. But it's real tough to sing Chaka Khan and do it better than Chaka can. And Simon was way off his game. He thought Melissa was awful, when she was the only decent act on the show.

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Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here's a really wonderful debut work by Publicola. It's meter is very musical. Guess I'll have to start calling him the "Bard of Ballistics" now. Or maybe Mr. "Terror Dactyl."

The Post

Even through the glove I felt it seeping from the metal till my bones ache
Just slightly
The cold is on the metal; the wood, then on my cheek
The almost perfect roundness close to my eye is lost
The bite of the leather in my flesh disappears
As is the cold on my skin and in my bones
Only a tiny column imposing itself on the object I desire to reach has focus
The cold doesn't matter
The feel of the wood doesn't matter
Metal doesn’t matter
The weight of the lever I'm pushing towards myself means nothing
Only the column
The rectangle I know, the rectangle I need
The pillar that my will rests upon
It alone is my world at the same time it isn't alone
The lever lightens, yet becomes the hardest part of my world
Still I only know the rectangle
Nothing else matters 'cept for seeing that little stanchion where I will it to be seen
I don't even notice the break, like a rod
Not like a glass rod but still a distinct and noticeable breaking happens
Yet I don't notice
I only see the rectangle
I know the wood is pushing me back
I hear the muffled boom through my heart as well as my ears
But I only see the rectangle
Rising slightly, lifting itself momentarily above my desire only to settle back down to it again
The metallic shucking of the mechanism tells me it's ready again; that I'm ready again
But there's only that rectangle standing between me and my desire
Bridging the distance between me and my desire
I know the device; I've cleaned it, repaired it, cared for it
I've broken it so that I could build it again
It will not fail me
I can only fail myself
But that rectangle holds my faith, my confidence, my certainty that I won't
It rises again as the boom rolls over me
The boom that I hear but pay no mind to
My heart races, my breath begs for release
I only know the rectangle
Six more times metal slides across metal
Wood heats; expands
Gasses slave to my design; working for me more than against me
Then I heed something other than the rectangle
A ping
A cold metallic sound to others, to me a thing of beauty and sadness at the same time
Whether to fuel the tool or not? Whether to enable the tool to function again or let it rest?
Those are not the questions I would answer here; they are for another time, another tale
Here I speak of the rectangle
What was beyond it? Paper or flesh? Food or enemy?
It did not matter
What I wished it to guide me to was decided long before I gazed upon its sharp lines and flat top
The rectangle will guide me as it always has
A rectangle on a tool made before I was born
Made the same year my father drew breath, years before my mother cried for the first time
A rectangle viewed through a circle; a post through an aperture
Sitting atop a tool made to control burning gas; expanding gas
To direct metal to repeat the task while the wood cradles it; gives it comfort
With leather to bind it to me
Me to it
To make us one
Odes cannot describe it and I when united
Words fail in their vulgarity and barbarism
A rectangle sitting on top of a cylinder made to spew smaller cylinders to affect my will?
How crass that sounds? How empty?
All my eloquence is inadequate to tell of how my eye links with that rectangle
Of how my heart beats inside the wood
How my breath hardens with the metal
How my mind burns the hole that the tool will make real
It is not a mere rifle of which I speak but a Garand
And not a mere Garand, but Mine

I think the best explanation of this poem was from USCitizen, who said: "The Post captures the focus, the essence, the gestalt of the aimed shot. The mental focus that erases the physical, that casts away all peripheral considerations and concentrates all effort on the only thing that matters: the rectangle through the ghost ring."

Posted by annika at 06:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 07, 2006

Still More Muslim Outrage

When will it end?

From The Wesleyan Argus:

'Death to the infidels who have committed this blasphemy against Allah!' shouted Lebanese Imam Rahim al-Safaar to a teeming crowd of enraged supporters. 'How dare they challenge the unrivaled supremacy of Jack and Ennis's torturous and passionate love! And that Ryan Phillipe, what a bi-yatch! Maybe you can put Reese's Oscar between your legs and pretend you've got a johnson! Seriously, did you guys see Cruel Intentions? He is so gay! But in that creepy ambiguous manipulative way, not in the repressed-cowboy way. Die, blasphemous scum!'
Then on a more serious note, there's this.

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Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

A mean old bull.

Runner up: Shar Jackson covers Brittany's "Toxic." I love the ending; Shar gets the last word.

Posted by annika at 04:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

New Salad Dressing Discovery

Safeway Select's Tuscan Style Basil. And it made WebMD's list of approved "light" dressings. So you can drink it right out of the bottle.

Posted by annika at 02:10 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 05, 2006

Obligatory Oscar Wrap-Up Post

Crash wins.


Okay, now that that's over with, on to March Madness. You gotta like Duke again this year. Villanova too. Arizona and Gonzaga will disappoint, as they do every time. And Geo. Washington is overrated. Keep an eye on Alabama. If they make the tourney, they're worth at least one upset.

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Coolest Thing On The Internets Of The Day

The Robotic Mule.

Wanna bet the second generation will kick back?

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Oscar Preview In A Nutshell

From The American Princess:

Were it not for Hollywood, these people would be serving your food, cleaning your homes and parking your cars, which is a main reason that we give thanks, every year, that someone has the intestinal fortitude to organize a meeting, serve them free booze and award them prizes for going three full months not wearing makeup, and working opposite Billy Bob Thornton.
EM will be liveblogging the Academy Awards tonight at Wizbang Pop, so you might want to turn the sound down and read her while you watch.

Posted by annika at 09:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 04, 2006

The First Annual AJFF: Goldie Hawn, Part Three

The next two films in our retrospective contain very strong performances by Ms. Studlendgehawn. I hadn't seen either until they came in the mail this week. I love Netflix.


Butterflies Are Free, 1972

pbutterflies.jpgIn Butterflies, Goldie plays yet another young waif with more modern sexual mores. Like her first two films, this one is also based on a stage play. The screenplay was written by the original playwright, which is probably the reason why it's so chatty and the action takes place almost completely inside an apartment. Writing for the screen and writing for the stage are two different animals, a fact that is often lost on theater people.

Butterflies is about a blind guy who is trying to gain some independence from his overprotective mother and make it on his own. It's the kind of simple PC message movie that Hollywood made a lot more of in those days: "Blind people are people too." Goldie plays the free-spirited next door neighbor who is afraid of commitment. The conflict arises when Goldie meets the mother (played by veteran TV actress Eileen Heckart, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this role).


Goldie again demonstrates a surprising dramatic ability in addition to her already established comic talent. As usual, she lights up the screen. Blocking was important in this movie because of the limitations of the apartment set. But Goldie seems to glide effortlessly from couch to floor to kitchen to table to bed. She handles the emotional transitions with the same ease. The drama seems to slow down in the middle of the movie, but things pick up at the end with the addition of Paul Michael Glaser (pre-Starsky, of course) in a bit role as a sleazy director of experimental (i.e. nude) plays.

The blind dude is played by Edward Albert, the son of Green Acres' Eddie Albert. He's an interesting guy. Half Colombian, educated at Oxford, he has an IQ of 157 according to IMDb, and he speaks Spanish, French, Portugese and Mandarin. Unfortunately, I found his constant wisecracking throughout Butterflies to be a distraction. He delivers his sarcastic lines with a deadpan affect that is too annoying for my taste. The mom character is just as sarcastic, but much more appealing.


As is my wont, I paid special attention to the costuming. Goldie had three outfits in this film. In the first act, she wore a cute peasant blouse and flirty ankle length skirt, which was her best look. She spends the middle third of the movie in a bra and panties only. I thought Goldie looked a little thick in There's A Girl In My Soup, but I must say, she was in awesome shape for Butterflies. Finally, during the third act she wore a dreary green floral dress, which was nothing to write home about.

As for ratings, I gave Butterflies three stars (liked it). The final act, with it's romantic suspense, saved the movie for me. Yes, I had a few tears. But I cry at the drop of a hat with these kinds of movies. In the end, all three main characters learn something from each other. Personal growth is always a good thing in a romantic comedy, if not in life.

The Sugarland Express, 1974

Sugarland_Express_72.jpgIf Butterflies Are Free sounds like too much of a chick-flick for you, definitely check out The Sugarland Express. Not only was it Goldie Hawn's best role to date, it was Steven Spielberg's debut as a feature film director. And what a debut!

Long time visitors may have guessed that I'm a scholar of the 70's action movie. I mean I'm really a scholar; I wrote a paper on them in undergrad, when I toyed with the idea of being a film studies major. However, I can't claim to have been much of a scholar if I hadn't seen Sugarland Express up 'til now. I was truly missing out.

Sugarland was Universal's attempt to cash in on the anti-hero chase movie craze of the early 70's. Like another favorite of mine, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, the main character is a skinny blonde who's as dumb as she is cute. But in Sugarland, the anti-heroes are more loveable than usual. You don't have to sympathize with them in spite of their badness, because they aren't really all that bad.


Goldie plays the wife of a small time crook who has just four months left on his sentence for petty crimes. Their kid just got taken away from her and given to a foster home. Goldie breaks her man out of jail and they take off on a comic journey across southeastern Texas to get thier little boy back. Along for the ride is a kidnapped Texas highway patrolman with a slight case of Stockholm syndrome.

The name Sugarland Express is meant to be ironic, because the pursuit is anything but an express. It's more like a 1970s version of OJ's "slow speed chase," complete with cheering throngs of roadside fans. Goldie's character insists on stopping to pee, or to get some fried chicken, or to pick up some trading stamps.


From the first reel on, you can tell that this is not your ordinary Goldie Hawn vehicle. She puts on a pretty convincing Texas drawl (to my Californian ears at least). And her character is grittier than the previous three hippie-chick roles she played. Consequently, It just might be her best performance. She still shows off her comic skills, but thanks to Spielberg's direction and the Barwood/Robbins script (Corvette Summer, Close Encounters) we get to see much more of her considerable dramatic range. With Sugarland, Goldie Hawn gave notice that she was indeed a star.

Goldie's husband is played by William Atherton, better known to me as the slimy reporter from Die Hard, and the meddling EPA dude from Ghostbusters. He does a nice job in Sugarland and it's a shame he became so typecast in his later work.

Although Spielberg had already made Duel as a made-for-TV film in 1971, he really showed the maturity of his talent in Sugarland. It's no wonder that Universal let him do Jaws the very next year. Their faith in the 29 year old director paid off. Say what you want about Munich ― I'm disappointed in that choice too ― but the guy has always known how to put together a great movie. To say that Sugarland Express is underrated is to underrate the word underrated. I gave it five stars (loved it), and I think you'd enjoy it too.

Posted by annika at 09:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Idol Blogging

It's the first time I've ever said this about a contestant, but if Chris were to take Randy up on his offer to make a record right now, I'd probably buy it.

Posted by annika at 09:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Now that Mardi Gras is over, let's have some New Orleans poetry. Gina Ferrara is a poet who was displaced by hurricane Katrina. She evacuated to Jackson, Mississippi, leaving everything behind, including her computer with all her work. She thought she had taken a CD containing all her poetry, but when she arrived in Jackson she realized that she had grabbed the wrong CD. In the interim, Ferrara had to re-learn an old technology.

I bought a red notebook and some mechanical lead pencils, and I began writing poems by hand. . . . I found that this was a totally different process [from] using the computer. Writing poems by hand is slower, and it seems to be more of a permanent process. The page looks like grafitti, with arrows pointing in up and down directions, scratch outs, and edits done in different colored inks.
After a few anxious weeks, Ferrara returned home to find that although her neighborhood had flooded, her house, and her poetry, had been spared.*

Close to Zenith

Hearts do not bleed,
there, up in the sky
at the other end of twine.
We are flying a kite
admist rubble
from a demolition
we cannot remember,
past birthdays and ruins
higher than the slipping sun
when we run out of twine.
The blurred kite
with hearts ablaze on gauze,
escapes from our fingers
a curious flag of surrender.


* Poets & Writers Magazine, January/February 2006, p. 59.

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