Match Point

April 18, 2006
Finally got to see it.
This is a Woody Allen movie in name only. He doesn’t appear. Here he is attempting to play it straight with melodrama-mystery. The last Allen film of consequence was Crimes and Misdemeanors. This attempt is better than anything he’s attempted in recent memory. He’s returning to the drama of that earlier film, but with something that ultimately feels more like a BBC feature that might appear on PBS Mystery here.
He’s also grappling not so much with issues of one’s conscience but here with a main character who clearly lacks one. So, without that struggle, it’s hard to relate to the main character. Unless you’re a sociopath.
The lead actress belongs in the category of overhyped. She was okay, but presents nothing in the character to make you like her (except her c-cups perhaps). Note to Johansen: give the audience something to hang on to other than your physical asset, cos we need more women in cinema worth risking all for, and personally I don’t find you worth more than a 2nd look.
If perceived physical beauty is your sole criteria for judging a potential female partner, if you like her ‘unconventional’ beauty you’ll find her charming. But if it was I meeting her at a party, well, charmed isn’t the how I’d feel. Annoyed at the whiny, self involved flake in front of me, more like.
Besides there are a couple of plot incongruities at the end that should have been cleaned up; things that really are obvious to any mystery genre watcher, and detract from any chance that a life and death moment has at having some impact on you, the viewer. When it happens, you’re meant to feel shocked; I was just sort of wondering why Allen thought it was worth going down this path, because the potential prize really didn’t warrant it.
My $.02

I keep asking myself

April 18, 2006

why did we invade Iraq?
was oil the real objective?
was it to ‘spread democracy?’
or was it public flogging for Hussen’s cunning stratagem?
all of a sudden it’s starting to make more sense.

Lush Rimjob

April 18, 2006

I know it’s not nice to criticize others. I feel sheepish because I know I am far from perfect and successful. And I know success attracts all kinds of flak and certainly since nobody reads thi sblog, I’m not really adding to the flotsam and jetsom of public discourse.
But I have an opinion!
I wanted to spout off about Rummy’s appearance on Rimjob’s radio program yesterday. I hadn’t actually heard it myself. I read reports, and these made me somewhat agitated (good job Lush!), not that that is hard to do.
I have listened to Lush on occasion when I need to get riled up about something (works in reverse for me). Something like the stupidity in America. The stupidity of America. The stupidity of Americans. Something about how one man can blend greed, corpulence, addiction, hypocrisy and self-righteousness into one personality that is respected and admired. Only in America!
Just reminds you what sheep humans can be.

The Lazy Man’s ways to Riches

April 17, 2006
Back in the day (1960’s or 70’s, perhaps both) there used to run a commercial for a book or program of some kind (I can’t recall what he was actually selling per se).called The Lazy Man’s ways to Riches
I only saw it run on daytime tv so as you would expect, so they were after a certain target audience (this was long before the marketing psuedo science mumbo jumbo hooey fooey- he knew).
What fascinates me then as now is that these snake oil (Sleep Away, the weight loss supplement is another) salesmen are allowed to promote and steal from the public. Thanks, FTC.
I’m sorta envious.
While my conscience would never allow me to rest if I were to undertake deception of the public with the goal of ill-begotten gains, I must say I am fascinated. I know a cheap suit salesman when I see one, but apparently the guy standing next to me does not.
A sucker is born every minute.
He was a large (Eddie would call him portly) goateed gentleman, sort of resembling Victor Buono, and he liked to tell you the price of everything he owned. And how he didn’t ever have to work a lick to get it. And how he might be persuaded to share his secret with you…for a price.
As I recall the this mersh lasted more than the usual 30-60 seconds, might have been as long as two minutes. I suppose that sounds expensive, but back in the day on channel 9 or 13 day time rates probably weren’t too costly. At any rate I’ve always looked back fondly at such chutzpah. Certainly he knew he looked a fool, but he also knew there were many a man more foolish then himself out there too.
But the joy of something like this is the potential for a movie idea or short story. What could this be like, I would imagine, and what possible success could he have? And how does he conduct his business? What’s he like? Is he a sociopath, or is he a easy-going con man with a heart of gold?
Well, I know there is a book around with that title, but I’m not sure if it’s the same man or same, erm, ‘product.’
WEHT to this guy? What was he selling? Did he get shut down? Did he make a mint and disappear? Did Eric Garcia have a bead on him hen he wrote Matchstick Men?
Don’t you just hate people without answers?

There is a question I really have to ask

April 17, 2006
It’s about blogs.
Having read blogs for a few months before beginning this, I feel sort of unfulfilled.
News is telling stories. Stories stir interest. We, humans, tell stories, and enjoy them. Each of us has a different way to tell a story, and of course each of us might choose something unique to tell, and each perspective would of course be valid… and different, Rashomon-style.
Defining what news is is perhaps necessary at this point. News, which in it’s purest for is the recording of an event, can only try to be objective, but as well you know there are many who complain stories never are.
You know that by the time you read/hear about it, the event is often long over, and since were reading/hearing a report we have the story second, third, x hand. We try and relate it to our view of the world, how it will affect us personally, and we look for answers that might spill over into our own lives.
A bit like fiction then.
The thing about news that makes us into news junkies is it’s timeliness. It’s dynamic, complelling, and originates from that space where nothing existed before, out of nowhere, and it blinks at us from across our desk or and screen. It rivets our attention. It just happened!
News is most interesting us when it is seemingly happening. A car chase being photgraphed from the air is fascinating, as we are seeing something inexplicable happen (or happen for inexplicable reasons). When a new story comes out e.g. Tom DeLay is a Paedo! well that’s a story you want to click right away ‘cos it’s fresh, surprising. And someone somewhere profits from the click…
So the question my brain is trying to form is something like, are blogs useful? A blogger worth his ISP can put a spin on a story that can put it in perspective. Especially when they’re complex and not immediately… I don’t have a good word to use here, so ‘grokkable’ will have to do.
The answer has to be yes. They entertain, give us perspective, and when one finds a blog with a theme or mirrors a specific genre one enjoys or likes to track, they can sort through stories that we might otherwise miss.
I think there is another question here too. Such as, are blogs relevant?
Well, blogs serve many masters. Besides navel gazers, the most typical blog are news aggregators as mentioned above. There are blogs that feature gossip and whose purpose is to entertain (and provide revenue via clicks). Entertainment, while it might have the appearance of, isn’t really relevant. Hell, I’m entertained just sitting on the toilet sometimes, and there ain’t nobody that would call one of my best craps relevant.
Blogs that focus on stories of local interest are somewhat useful in that they tell the whole world about a story happening in my local area, which is ironic given that my local news organizations (tv, radio, newspaper) often miss them.
I could go on here about how I can channel hop during the hour when several channels present their ‘news’ and the talking heads change while the script remains the same. Freaky, man. What makes this additionally funny (or sad- your call) is even the commercial breaks are concurrently timed. I mean, why do we even need more than one channel? AFAICS it’s only to get a better perspective on that police chase.
As far as relevance, I guess that depends on the reader. The question I should be asking, is, how can I be relevant?
I guess the presupposes that I, a lazy, opinionated, belligerent, left-leaning cnsrvative, white male nearing fifty, am relevant.
Numpters out.

Project Mersh

April 17, 2006
I’ve watched a fair amount of television in my forty-eight years. Probably mostly a waste of time too, hate to admit… but it’s too late to turn back now!
At an early age, I learned I was able to tune out the commercials. I kept that going to this day, where it requires too much effort now that I have mute and can edit them out using my pvr.
I think it’s remarkable (and satisying) that I recognized what a waste these were at such a young age. I kept the practice up until the vcr made it easy to skip them. I think few people watch television any more as it is aired unless it’s a sporting event. Television commercials are annoying and pointless, and it’s only the occasional clever or funny one that we all enjoy. Most are trite, annoying, repetitive, and aimed to separate you from your money for products of questionable worth with jingles and catch phrases that are punchy and artless.
While society is in transition from the old media to the new, there are cries from Mad Ave. that the 30 second spot is dying (some say it’s already dead), and devices that can edit out commercials should be banned. This has had some effect as my Media Center PC has no built in facility to do this.
The mersh makers and producers of Blat! know that without this brain washing they will be unable to move product. Sad I know, cos that also means… (Wait for it)… jobs!
WELL, it will get to that level soon, just you wait.
While there is some research that says advertising works, there are other reports that it is totally ineffective. I guess like religion, you have to believe in it for it to matter. Religion was probably the first product to use the hard sell to the masses, with the goal of control and as a sort of unexpected bonus to relieve them of their ducats as wll.

Oh yeah. Religion has never really delivered on its promises. Who from the afterlife has ever contacted you? I rest my case.

Religion is theft, fundamentally, and I will expand on that in a later missive, but for now it would be getting away my point (hmm, I know it’s around here somewhere).

So without further adieu, I announce my next big project: the banning of all television commercials.
It won’t be easy. Ring around the collar and that’s a some-a spicy-a a meatball-a and the Bryman school for Beauty will have to find some other way to hock their wares. I’m sick of eye/ear/mind pollution, of being sold to by products that neither interest me or have any place on my shelf. If I want something, I go to the store and buy it. If I have a problem, I’m apt to ask someone else what might work, not watch telly until the very thing I seek flashes before my eyes.
I mean c’mon, it’s all so unnecessary, and pointless, and there is an entire profession sprung up around it… talk about the lack of a solid foundation on which to build your house…
So tell your friends, get the word out, it’s a grass root beginning fer sure. Don’t worry about the effect this will have on the economy, or jobs, or programming. Hell, programming will have to improve, won’t it? I mean to get us to watch, they’ll have to produce really good stuff, not this bland same old same old that resembles everything else. And soap operas- think about this now, soap operas- will — no — longer — be — on — the — air. At least not in their current form. But they’ll have to make them good in order for anyone to want to watch! (Well, there are those that tune in because they think these are actually good (I know, I know, it’s astounding), but then they don’t know any better, poor stiffs, it’s not their fault. They’ll soon learn).
Or maybe we’ll watch less and get more out of life.

That alone should make you decide let’s ban all commercials!

If you happen to know a politician or two, bend their ear. Tell them in your most influential way that you’d like to keep America Byoo-ti-ful and demand to see an end to commercials. Tell them how society will be impacted favorably, more jobs will be created than ever in the history of the country, more good will be done for our society than could be accomplished by all if his.her ilk in Washington in 100 years, with this one simple act.

Brought to you by A Numpty Speaketh

All the News that is Print to Fit

April 10, 2006

‘Tis said that the LA Times motto is “all the news that’s print to fit” (in the margins around the all of those ads). If Craigslist is going to take the news to the next level, it behooves the LAT to understand something simple: web pages can be of indeterminate length. Articles need not be edited down to fit into the 10% of the printed verrion, Hey, you could even get people to the web site by offering MORE coverage that can’t be included in the print version (“For more information visit…).
There, I just needed to get that offa my chest. My association with the LAT goes back to helping my dad deliver papers before school back in the 60’s and 70’s on his moonlightiing job.