Wednesday, January 31, 2007

But Was Intermission Fun?

Last night, while at a fairly acclaimed Broadway musical with my friends Elgie and Missy, and my favorite guy-pal Wally, I glanced over at them and they had these expressions on their faces.

I don't think they liked the show.

I've Got to Hand It To The Producers

My favorite line in this vintage physical education movie -- the polar opposite of the old "steel mittens" mentality of days gone by -- is during the locker room scene, and it involves a yearning desire for ... a fig leaf.

"Before we moved here I used to go to a school where we had to go swimming in the bare," the one teen tells the other. "I was so embarrassed about the size of my penis we used to dread the days we had to go swimming."

My favorite line is just after this, when the boy new to school and worried about the size of his genitalia confides to his compadre about locker room shyness: "Boy, what I wouldn't have given for a fig leaf, even from a small tree," he laments.

I wonder how David Mamet would rewrite the dialogue in this scene.

Quentin Tarantino? Nora Ephron? Oliver Stone?

Chi-Chi Larue?

It would also be interesting to see what kind of monologue about small penises Aaron Sorkin could come up with. I'm sure it would be touching.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Is America Ready?

At near right is Wayne Palmer, the new president of the United States on this season of Fox's 24.

I've given this a lot of thought, but frankly I don't think America is ready for a president with facial hair.

The audacity of not shaving gives me no hope that Wayne Palmer could ever have survived the Iowa Caucus.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm Glad I Don't Have
Government-Equipped Hi-Fi

"All homes have a built-in radio speaker that pipes out propaganda. The radio can be turned down, but not off."

This is a description of North Korea. It was part of a fascinating story Sunday on 60 Minutes about an American who defected to North Korea in 1962.

If you can't picture this, the speaker looks like an intercom system you would find in school classrooms. Now imagine this one-way speaker system in your tiny one-room apartment, and the principal -- I mean the government -- can talk to you all the time and any time.

Can you imagine if homes in the United States had piped-in radio featuring Dick Cheney as the Voice of God on his top-rated (cause it's the only show) "Cheney & Friends in the Morning"?

Is this a terrifying thought or what?

God bless 'Merica.

Afterthought: I hope I'm not giving Karl Rove any ideas.

Jack and Jim See The Problem Clearly

I would bet that the very real Sen. James Webb and the very fictional Jack Bauer probably have the same Myers-Briggs test score: ISTP, as in "I See The Problem."

Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot more than 24 hours to fix the mess we're in.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bill of Rights + Beefy Guys = Readership?

I realize that basically NOBODY but my friends and a few dozen others are reading this blog, UNLESS I post a shirtless picture of a hunky guy, and then I get visitors.

Like last week, when this post drew about 2,000 visitors in a single day, most of whom decided never to return.

This bothers me a little, because I think some of the other things I bring up here, from time to time, like this and this, are important.

Therefore, I've decided that the only way to get people to read some of the things that I think are important would be IF I also post these words along with shirtless and semi-nude hunks.

Because of this, I offer you below the Bill of Rights (which I think is important) with a splash of Beefy Guys.

And whether you are a strict constructionist or not, I believe that YOU have the right to beat off while reading.


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Amendment XXVIII (forthcoming)

Fags can't marry. Fags can't adopt. Fags can't have equal rights. God hates fags. Yeah, we're talking to YOU, Mary Cheney.

"Hear, Hear!":
Here, here, and here,
just to name three.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Coming Tomorrow

A very special comment from The Cup of Joe that could change this blog forever. Stay tuned.

A Movie for At Least 546 To See Now

It was the sweater that I noticed first.

The man wearing it, grieving in a most painful and public way, stood beside a pile of dead bodies in a market near the center of Baghdad, the aftermath of explosions that killed 88.

I own a similar sweater. Same color, too.

I'm not desensitized to such images of violence. They really bother me. Violence in movies, which I know is fake, usually doesn't affect me, but the "real thing" is something I have a more difficult time with.

Can any thinking person not look at this without feeling a sense of horror?

The photo (and others like it, which are being created on a daily basis) has been in my head all week, since it appeared on the front page of the New York Times on Tuesday. It's really hard to forget.

I suppose all this was in the back of my mind when I wrote this, and it certainly was in the back of my mind last night, when my friends and I went to see Letters From Iwo Jimo, part II of the Eastwood masterpiece of filmmaking that started with Flags of Our Fathers, and a two-movie set that I wish every single American would see, think about, and learn from.

I don't know if it's realistic for all 300 million Americans to see, but why don't we start with 546 individuals?

Let's do the math together: That would be the 100 U.S. Senators, the 435 U.S. Representatives, the 9 members of the Supreme Court, our single Chicken Hawk vice president, and plus his boss, the former Yale cheerleader, the child of privilege who was able to skip out on his National Guard service because his daddy was a Congressman and his grandpa was a Senator.

Letters from Iwo Jima movie site.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Master Bait and Switch

I've had some new readers to this blog in the last week, thanks to this post featuring some hunky men in a "fantasy football" Super Bowl pitting the Bears against the Colts. If only the real Super Bowl would be as entertaining.

I do feel a little bit bad about this, especially if you are a repeat visitor, because instead of being greeted with more Shirtless Gods in a harness, you have been getting posts featuring what this blog is really about: Abraham Lincoln, George Bush and Morris the Cat.


If you do a Google search of
"Bears versus Colts preview," my post
(as of this morning) is the FIRST entry
on the list. This amuses me.

U.S. News Is Like A Grade School Textbook

Americans tend to view history relative to us, us, us. Just as the earth revolves around the sun, Americans tend to think the world revolves around the 300 million souls fortunate enough to live in this great country.

I thought of this while glancing at the cover of the most recent issue of U.S. News & World Report, which is a report on the Jamestown settlement 400 years ago. The big headline on the cover is THE FIRST AMERICANS.

This headline is grade school history at its worst.

The English who immigrated here, free to enter because the Native peoples had not erected a large Lou Dobbs-inspired barbwire fence, were NOT the first Americans.

This "country" had a civilization and a culture well before the English arrived. We had cities on the level of Paris and London right here in 'Merica well before the Jamestown settlement, and predating Leif Eriksson, the man credited as the European "discoverer" of North America about 1,000 years ago.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we measure the history of this land starting in 1607.

Silly covers are not a first for U.S. News.

You may recall a few months ago when U.S. News editors (who couldn't find a current war to put on the cover) confidently declared that America’s greatest speech was The Gettysburg Address, which surprised me because it's probably not even Lincoln's best speech. Earlier posts here and here.

America likes to think of itself as the center of the world. That the 3,000 dead on 9/11 are somehow more important than the 655,000 Iraqis* that a team of epidemiologists estimates have died in Iraq because of the war.

We are all equal in God’s eyes.

If Americans think they’ll enjoy the same insular standard of living come heaven-time, they’re wrong, because inside those Pearly Gates they’re going to be sharing that Jacuzzi-tub not only with St. Peter, but with someone who probably doesn’t speak English.

Oh, and St. Peter didn't speak English either. Just like Jesus, his native tongue was Aramaic, and his skin was dark.

* Here's the sourcing
(Washington Post account)
for the 655,000 number.
And here are some other 'Mericans
whom U.S. News didn't think
were worth remembering: here and here.


My Feet Are Firmly Planted on Middle-Earth

Yesterday, after lunch, my friend Elgie told me that my winter coat -- a finely tailored Calvin Klein wool garment in the great tradition of English overcoats -- looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. She told me this in a mocking and cruel way.

This is quite extraordinarily mean. I would expect such cruelty from the Dark Lord Sauron, but certainly not from a "friend."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Five Favorite "Seldom Used
Verbs of Attribution"


The usual verb of attribution is said. As in, "I'm a complete disaster as president," Bush said.

I will now use my five favorite seldom used verbs of attribution using actual quotes from George Bush's State of the Union Address.
"The rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour -- when decisions are hard and courage is tested," Bush ejaculated.

"We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies -- and the wisdom to face them together," Bush belched.

"America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil," Bush gushed.

"When it comes to health care, government has an obligation to care for the elderly, the disabled, and poor children," Bush chortled.

"My fellow citizens, our military commanders and I have carefully weighed the options," Bush snorted.
Bush snorted? Bush snorted.



Don't You Dare Ask How My Daughter Is!

There's a good chance you've already seen the below video: It's been all over both the mainstream media and the blogosphere. But I can't resist posting. Start listening closely around the one minute and 53 second point.

Worth waiting for, if you haven't heard or seen this yet.

Years ago, during the Dan Quayle vice presidential debate with Lloyd Bentsen, Quayle was described as looking like a "deer caught in the headlights."

Here's yet another entry for the great annals of vice presidential stares.

02/03: UPDATE: The YouTube video was taken down -- I wonder why? -- but you can see portion of the interview via The Daily Show here.

New York Times Outs Gay Sheep

This story has been on the blogosphere for a while now, particularly here and at other sites I also link to at right, but The New York Times has a good overview story on its front-page today on the controversy involving research to determine why "8 percent of rams seek sex exclusively with other rams instead of ewes."

I wonder which of the sheep at right are Friends of Dorothy?

And is there a bear/leather community in sheep culture? Twinks? Circuit drones?

Think any of the sheep at right are hoping for a big comeback for Whitney Houston?

Do sheep celebrate Gay Pride?

The NYT story, with its quite serious
underlying issues, can be found here.

Everything's Not Coming Up Roses

Would you vote for Pete Rose for the Football Hall of Fame? I wouldn't. He played baseball.

Would you vote for John C. Mather or George F. Smoot for the Nobel Prize for Literature? I wouldn't, but not merely because I had never heard of them before moments ago, when I googled "Nobel Prize for Physics." The answer is "of course not" because these two made their big bang with the big bang theory.

Would you vote for Jennifer Hudson, the very talented Jennifer Hudson, for Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls? I'm not sure I would. She has the true leading role in the movie, not really a supporting role.

Jennifer Holliday, who created the role of Effie on Broadway, did not win a Tony for Best Supporting Actress. No she didn't: She was THE Best Actress.

When "best actress" performances are bumped down to the supporting category, it's unfair to actresses in real supporting roles. Like Catherine O'Hara in For Your Consideration.

In musical theater, there are a handful of true "bring down the house" moments such as "And I'm Telling You" in Dreamgirls -- a show-stopper on the level of, if not surpassing, Mama Rose's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" in Gypsy.

Hudson had the best role in Dreamgirls, the leading role.

Nominating Jennifer Hudson for best supporting actress is like nominating Marlon Brandon for best supporting actor in The Godfather. (Brando did win the Best Actor Oscar.)

True supporting roles can be neglected by the Academy because studios put "bigger" performances -- like Hudson's -- in categories where they think they'll win, or where they think they won't anger or compete against Beyonce. How about a new Oscar for Best Cameo or Best Scene, honoring a performance where an actor or actress has only one scene and really nails it. Like Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction. People still talk about his pocket watch scene. He wasn't even nominated for it. That year, 1994, Martin Landau won for Ed Wood. And wasn't he terrific? He was indeed. But who's still talking about this performance?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Morris May Be A Mo?

Earlier this week, someone named "Morris" replied on this blog with a gentle suggestion not to write so much about American Idol because I'm not (to my knowledge) a teenage girl. Point taken.

Now, I don't know if this is the actual "real life" Morris I know personally -- a cat lover now living in that great southern city -- but it got me thinking about another Morris. Morris the cat.

And thanks to YouTube, we can present the very first Morris commercials from 1972.

Morris -- with his penchant (as you can see below) for tea parties, "creamed gravy," the Oscars and the finer things -- very well could be television's first gay character, and certainly the first-ever gay spokesmodel, assuming (of course) the heterosexuality of Mr. Whipple, whose penchant for squeezing the Charmin probably made him America's first (and creepiest) asexual spokesmodel.


Why United 93 Didn't Get Nominated has an interesting argument answering this question, and it kind of puts the shallowness of Hollywood in perspective, don't you think?
No way United 93 would get a Best Picture nomination. Why? Because this critics' darling had no name stars in it, and the most elite Screen Actors Guild members make up the largest segment of Academy voters. They don't like it when somebody with a good script makes a great movie with a C-grade cast. In a nutshell, it's bad for their biz (their biz, of course, consisting of implausibly padded perks, ironclad start and stop dates, half-hearted promotional efforts in exchange for those studio jet flights, and other pain-in-the-ass behavior that drives up production costs.). There was also the content problem: no one in Hollywood wanted to nominate a jingoistic rah-rah America drama. Not when this year's seven-times nominated Babel was to global bleakness what last year's Crash was to Los Angeles. Instead, the punishment they meted out is to nominate Paul Greengrass for Best Director and, on Oscar night, force him to sit for hour after hour and hour of that interminable awards broadcast inside that fucking prison impersonating the Kodak Thater.
For me, United 93 was one of the three best movies of last year. Fifty years from now, United 93 will be remembered and watched. I don't think the same will hold true for Babel.


George Bush Makes Me Want To Dance

When George Bush talks, as he did last night during his State of the Union address, isn't it just like hearing the Adult Voice on the Peanuts cartoons?

Watch the short cartoon: Would you call Bush a "Failure Face"?

How Is This For An Answer?

How can a reporter possibly write this story and not once mention the words "gay," "lesbian" or "homosexual"?

News flash for the New York Times: WE CAN'T MARRY.

As more people fail to repress or start to embrace their sexuality -- a new openness that simply was not as common a generation ago or even 10 years ago -- you will find that a decent chunk of the population will avoid heterosexual marriage in the first place. It's one facet of the answer to the question, "Why are so many Americans single?"

Many of the men of yesteryear who married and had children, because this was what was expected of them, will be, later tonight, dancing at The Eagle in a harness. They may even have their partner or "husband" next to them, a man who, of course, is not recognized in any U.S. government statistics.

If Ted Haggard (married in 1978) were a young man today, would he be looking to get married to a woman, or would he be polishing his profile? I'm fairly certain that JesusGiz69 would probably be polishing his profile, and a few other things as well.

Reminder: The Pelosi documentary on HBO,
featuring Haggard being about a braggard about
the evangelical sex life, which I blogged about
early this month,
airs tomorrow night. Here's that post.

A Tower of Babble

Last night, while at the movie Babel, which was just nominated for Best Picture, I glanced over at my friend Elgie, whose expression was pretty much like the monkey at right.

I think she was trying to figure out how to say the words "contrived" and "manipulative" in as many different languages as possible.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today Show Video of Jonathan and Kenneth

Whoever posted the below video to YouTube thinks that Meredith Vieira is Katie Couric.

"Katie Couric interviews our bud Jonathan Jayne & Kenneth Swale about his experience on American Idol," according to the description on YouTube. Then it goes on to plug a wacky radio station morning show.

Nope, my friend, Katie is over on CBS now. And Meredith has come over to NBC from The View.

Speaking of The View, the guy in the Hawaiian shirt in the video, Jonathan Jayne, who sang God Bless America on the show, tells Vieira what he really wants is an interview on The View! That's sort of like telling someone how cute their ex-boyfriend is two months after the breakup, and how it would be so much fun to hang out with him.

But I have to compliment JJ, though: He comes off as genuine and real in this interview, much more so than the LA phonies who produce and judge American Idol, especially the Brit who wears the ridiculous T-shirts, whose wardrobe, by the way, is ghastly.

Wally's Take on the Oscars

Wally, he of few words, and he who never posts replies on this blog, just sent me an email with his reaction to the Oscar nominations. As usual, his 12 words are few and well-chosen:

"I'm just glad that Borat wasn't listed in any of the scategories."

Indeed, there'll be no Best Actor Oscar for Sacha Baron Cohen because you can't win if your peers don't enter you.

And it looks like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences wasn't quite ready to reward Cohen's quite literal bag of tricks.

If you haven't seen the movie, Sasha's "bag of tricks" is actually a "bag of poop" during the dinner scene pictured above. He may have better luck securing an award from the Anal Academy of Motion Picture Arts.


One More Brief Note on Oscar Nominations

How soon we forget United 93.


2007 Oscar Nominations: A Quick Reaction

Jackie Earl Hailey, the guy who played Kelly in the 1976 movie Bad News Bears, is now an Oscar-nominated actor as of one minute ago.


Morris Buttermaker (and not to mention the late Oscar winner Walter Matthau) must be proud.

Also, we here at The Cup of Joe are delighted that Little Miss Sunshine herself, Abigail Breslin, was also recognized with a Best Supporting Actress nomination, as was the movie itself for Best Picture.

And choosing Little Miss Sunshine over the NOT-nominated Dreamgirls for Best Picture wasn't a bad choice, no? Anybody?

Not that I take awards seriously.


Dynamic Duo Hits The Today Show

Jonathan Jayne, our favorite American Idol contestant, not only has an agent now, we learned yesterday during an appearance on The Today Show (interviewed by Meredith Vieira), he also has a MySpace site. Here it is. He is one half of the Jayne-Briggs dynamic duo that is capturing the heart of America. I'll post the NBC appearance if it hits YouTube.

Boston Herald TV critic Mark A. Perigard points out: "Yesterday, the two sat down for a chat with Today’s Meredith Vieira that seemed to run twice as long as the show’s segment on Hillary Clinton’s decision to run for president."

God bless America.

My Five Favorite Seldom Used Expressions

1. Jeepers.

2. Gee willikers.

3. Zoinx.

4. Heaven's to Murgatroyd.

5. Gadzooks.

Second in a series. Earlier: my five favorite seldom heard nouns of insult.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Sanka Coffee is Outstandly Delicious

After seeing this classic TV commercial from 1963 using the characters from The Andy Griffith Show, I'm not going to be annoyed anymore about the obvious product placement on shows such as Bravo's Top Chef. If I can't stay mad at Sanka, how could I possibly hold a grudge against the Sears Kenmore PRO line of outstandingly good appliances?

Top chef blogs are linked at right.

Idol Updates: 'No Golden Ticket,
But They Have Each Other'

In an article in today's Washington Post, American Idol is praised by the Special Olympics for including Jonathan Jayne on the show. Jayne is a former particiant in the games who was ridiculed last week during an appearance on Idol in which he sung a patriotic song.

Jane and the contestant referred to by Simon Cowell as "Bush Baby" (Kenneth Briggs) also were on Jimmy Kimmell's show on Friday. More here.

And here's the link to contestant Jayne's online biography, which the New York Times dug up last week.

And here's my prior post, where I argue that American Idol judges aren't so special.

God bless America.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Super Bowl Preview: Bears Vs. Colts

It's fantasy football time, and may the best team win. I really don't have a clue who will come out on top.

NFC Championship Game Halftime Cheer

Go Bears!

I only say this because I'm no Saint.Publish

Me Encanta "Volver"

De todas las películas que he visto en 2007 y 2006, creo que "Volver" es uno de mis favoritos. !Excelente! Soy un homosexual, pero pienso que Penelope Cruz is muy, muy, MUY bonita y atractiva y caliente. Mis amigos heterosexuales (y Wally) están de acuerdo. ¿No?

Also: What Ebert said. Cuatro estrellas; four stars.