Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Back to Reality

I've returned after a three-day St. Louis fantasy camp of video games, 14 different beers, golf, lawn jarts, and inhuman amounts of frozen pizza. What a wonderful weekend it was! Thanks, Jon and Brian.

And look at all I've missed! Arnold has leapt to a 15-point lead over Bustamante in California, and Davis looks doomed--though I still expect that voters will think twice when they get into the booth and ponder the idea of Governor Schwarzenegger. Huffington is dropping out tonight because she's smarter than Ralph Nader: she knows it's better to leave a race and throw support to the lesser of two evils than stay in and hand the election to the worst possible choice.

Oh, and the Cubs made the playoffs. If that can happen, Gray Davis can defeat the recall.

Friday, September 26, 2003

The Best Part of Waking Up...

Why Bush is a terrible president

Is finding a column with the title above in the morning Chicago Tribune . (The link above is to Molly Ivins' syndication site, in case you don't have a password at chicagotribune.com.)

Molly discusses the fact that the grudge regarding the stolen election of 2000 is perhaps the longest held grudge in the history of normally wimpy liberals, and lays out a case for the badness of Bush's presidency that isn't predicated in the least on the gut-level outrage many people feel toward him. Here's her last paragraph to tempt you into clicking on the link:

"It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he's a bad president. Grown-ups can do that, you know--decide someone's policies are a miserable failure without lying awake at night consumed with hatred. Poor Bush is in way over his head, and the country is in bad shape because of his stupid economic policies. If that make me a Bush-hater, then sign me up."

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Where's the Sense?

Tell me: why is it that two comedies tonight had more plot advancement than the "Best Drama" on last night? Both Friends , which dealt quickly with Joey and Rachel getting together, Ross finding out, and Phoebe and Mike encountering a small bump in their reunion, and Will & Grace , which handled Will and Jack in bed together, brought Karen back from the Russian ship, and made Grace very happy when Harry Connick, Jr., quit Doctors Without Borders, moved forward in their story arcs. Perhaps John Wells should have been watching. In any case, it's hard to believe there are only 17 more episodes of Friends .

It will be a while until I have news about the interview I had today, but it went well and lasted three hours. I imagine I'll at least be invited back for a second interview (though I can't fathom what else we'd discuss), but we shall see.

Sometime tonight or tomorrow morning someone is going to roll this page's odometer to 1,000. Thanks.

Let It Be Today

The signs are in place: I need to get a job. Today the doorbell rang while I was brushing my teeth. Confused, I ran downstairs and opened the door to two women wearing long dresses and carrying a bible. They quizzed me on my thoughts on evolution and gave me a book: "Life--How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?"

That's right: Jehovah's Witnesses are coming to my door. I wanted to scream, "I'm a gay man who worked on a dinosaur museum!" But I didn't, mostly because I felt bad for them being out in the cold. Nevertheless, I need a job so that I'm not home the next time they show up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Say It Ain't So

USATODAY.com - Once-powerful 'West Wing' falls from grace

OK, it wasn't dreadful, but I didn't need any Kleenex to watch that overemoted tripe, either. I'm talking, of course, about tonight's season premiere of The West Wing .

Nothing happened. Really. John Goodman brought a dog into the Oval Office and it yipped and yapped and got hair on CJ's skirt. Bartlet's kids showed up, and Charlie showed his loyalty. And, finally, the world knows the truth about Qumar and the killing that ol' Jed approved in the finale of season three--16 months ago!

The show leaves all the cliffhanger elements from the finale for season four in place. Will Zoey be found alive? (Of course she will.) Will Walken (Goodman) take control of the government and shut out the Democrats, as Josh fears? (Doubtful, since Martin Sheen and the rest are under contract.) Will Donna ever acknowledge her feelings for Josh? (I'm betting Wells bails on this hint planted in the finale, when Amy asked Donna if she's in love with Josh--though Wells is known for turning shows into soap operas, so he could create a protracted Amy vs. Donna plot.)

At least the preview for next week appears to foretell actual plot advancement. Nevertheless, this episode marks a low point for me. Toby actually said that if they close the stock market, "the terrorists will have won." Remember that cliche?

By the way, didn't the show used to have a two-hour premiere? Perhaps that would have allowed the advancement viewers deserve after a summer of waiting. Tomorrow: did Will sleep with Jack? How many episodes until Joey and Rachel break up and she begins her steady progress toward her destiny with Ross? Could I be any more obsessed with television lately? And finally, will I ace my interview and get a job?

48 hours to St. Louis!

NBC Poll: Bush rating lowest ever

NBC Poll: Bush rating lowest ever

There's just something about going to MSNBC.com and seeing the words LOWEST EVER next to a picture of a frowning George W. Bush that brightens my evening. His approval is at 49% in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Can we reschedule the 2004 election for next Tuesday?

Only half an hour until John Goodman's television presidency begins on The West Wing . May it be short-lived. I'll comment on the Sorkin-Wells transition on the show soon.

The Kind of Recall I Support

Crystal poised for Oscar duty again

The talk is that Billy Crystal will be back hosting the Oscars next year. While I enjoyed Steve Martin's show last year, I think most of America feels comfortable with Crystal running things. The anticipation of his opening monologue/medley makes the first ten minutes of the telecast must-see.

Meanwhile, California has decided to have its recall after all. At least in two weeks this will all be over. Let's just hope Arnold doesn't win. In the words of Jon Stewart at the Emmys, "You know, if he stinks you can't go to the future and send somebody back to stop him." Indeed.

Monday, September 22, 2003


Yahoo! News - Clark Tied With President Bush in Poll

Who'd have thought? Only a week after he decided to run, General Clark is the Democratic frontrunner. Wait, scratch that. He's THE frontrunner, leading Bush in a head-to-head matchup (though still within the margin of error). Granted, this is a honeymoon and closer scrutiny will force Clark to actually, I don't know, TALK about his positions and debate them, but the poll is a good sign nonetheless. Dean, Kerry, Lieberman, and Gephardt all polled within striking distance of Bush. And Bush's approval rating--remember when it was in the 80s?--is down to 50%, with a 47% disapproval rating. 51% of people say they disagree with Bush on the issues that matter most to them.

Countdown: 485 more days of Bush. Four days until St. Louis!

Sorkin Stunner

I don't think I'm the only person who jumped off the couch in disbelief last night. Who would have predicted a fourth straight win for The West Wing ? I love the show, and I didn't think it stood a chance. Apparently, TV's top prizes don't belong in the hands of cable TV. There was a very real chance for both Best Drama and Best Comedy to go to HBO, with two nominees in each category. Maybe if only one had made it in each list, HBO could have walked out a winner.

For the record, I know that my dream list and reality had barely any correspondance--and it would have been even worse had I made picks in the supporting categories. Brad Garrett? Doris Roberts? Tyne Daly? I know Emmy skews old, but geriatric? Oh well--Entertainment Weekly did worse, picking exactly zero categories correctly. NBC and CBS should enjoy this while they can. After next year--when Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond will clear the way, along with Frasier --it'll get a lot tougher to find geezer fare to pick ahead of Curb Your Enthusiasm . And maybe, just maybe, The Sopranos or Six Feet Under can beat a Sorkin-less West Wing .

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Not Quite the Oscars...

Yahoo! TV - Coverage of the 55th Annual Emmy Awards

But still required watching for people who appreciate quality television. Tonight's Emmys are considered by many to be the best shot HBO has had at winning a Best Drama award (for Six Feet Under or The Sopranos ) and possibly the night when Curb Your Enthusiasm will win several awards as well. Considering the network alternatives, it's hard not to hope that the pundits are right. My dream picks:
Best Drama: Six Feet Under
Best Actor, Drama: Peter Krause, Six Feet Under (I know, Tony Soprano is a shoo-in. I'd also be happy to see Martin Sheen finally win this award.)
Best Actress, Drama: Who am I kidding? No one has had the guts to predict anything but Edie Falco (as Carmela Soprano) in this category. I thought Frances Conroy was sublime on Six Feet Under , and I love Allison Janney. But this is probably not a contest.
Best Comedy: I love Friends , but it would be great to see Curb Your Enthusiasm , from Larry David of Seinfeld fame, take this prize. He's making what is probably the funniest show on television.
Best Actor, Comedy: Can Joey win? It would be nice, but I've always been more of a Chandler person. So I'm picking Larry David in this category. (Matthew Perry was nominated for a Guest Actor Emmy for his two-episode role on West Wing , so he could finally win, too.)
Best Actress, Comedy: This is the hardest category to pick because all five nominees deserve to have at least one Emmy on the mantle. Aniston and Heaton already have them, so for me it's a race between Sarah Jessica Parker (who makes Sex and the City tick), Debra Messing (who sometimes over-acts on Will & Grace ), and Jane Kaczmarek (whose crazed mother character had a baby on Malcolm in the Middle this season). Parker can win next year for the final, full-length season of Sex , and Messing needs to prove she can pull off an episode that isn't dependent on her physically goofy humor. Kaczmarek should get an Emmy to put next to husband Bradley Whitford's as a lifetime achievement award--before Malcolm goes down the tubes.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Don't Be So Quick To Walk Away

I had a retail curse on me tonight. At Circuit City, I tried to return a $14.99 video cable and the guy told me my refund would be $4.00. That would be the price of an audio cable, which was on the same receipt. But did he correct his mistake? No...he told me that his Circuit City doesn't have the same inventory as the one where I bought the cable in the first place...and I get to go back there and have the same foolish argument with another person. Then, at Cold Stone Creamery, the kid behind the counter actually mocked my ice cream while he was making it. I paid for dessert, not a lecture on how wonderful the banana caramel crunch is and how unadventurous I am for ordering the Founder's Favorite.

Bookended by these two events was a very pleasant dinner with Brian and Michele at Tribella in Batavia. (They also witnessed the dessert debacle.)

By the way, the box at the right will allow you to subscribe to an e-mail version of this blog; you can have it waiting in in your inbox for you a few times a week free of charge! And most of the time it'll contain posts with more depth than this one. Coming soon: commentary on the recall decision of the court, when the case is decided; discussion of (and picks for) the Emmys; and the full lyrics of Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body." Maybe just two of those three...

Thursday, September 18, 2003



Check out the link above (or at the right, in the links section) for a new source of political information. And, while you're at it, check out the fact that my last post is part of the content!

Also on the site, check out Michael Moore's letter to Wesley Clark (you'll have to scroll down to Veralynne's post for 9/12/03). While I remain a Dean supporter, I think General Clark can add a lot to the race and would welcome him as a Dean running mate--or even as the nominee, if it comes to that. He's my solid second choice.

A Bit of Light Reading

Editorial: Truth / Too little of it on Iraq

I've been asked to provide more interesting reading material, so here's some: the link above points to an editorial in the Star Tribune . It discusses a series of statements by Dick Cheney in one of his rare public appearances. The lack of honesty is astounding.

You can also read this article by Molly Ivins for a brief commentary on the state of the nation today. Pay special attention to the paragraph that begins, "Let me be the first to say--we shoulda listened to Al Gore....We shoulda put that money into a lockbox for Social Security." The point she's making is perhaps the scariest point of all: that this war, these tax cuts, are not the misguided folly they seem. Indeed, they're really the fulfillment of the desire of the right wing Republicans to force the country to untie its safety net.

For a deeper exposition of this point, read Paul Krugman's article in this weekend's New York Times Magazine . You may need to go through the free registration process in order to read this, but it'll be an eye-opener for sure. Tell me, do you want to live in a country with substandard public education, no Medicare or Medicaid, no Social Security? If so, by all means, vote Republican.

Otherwise, it's time to do as Ivins says: "It's our government, we can still make it do what we want it to when we put in the energy it takes to work with other people, organize, campaign and vote--we can still make the whole clumsy, money-driven system work for us. And it's high time we did so."

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Fortune Smiles

Mere hours after informing my employer of two days that there would not be a third, I got a call from a place I applied to last week for a job editing and writing for a national magazine published for members of a niche medical community. Which is, frankly, perfect--close to home, in line with what I've done in the past, and clearly not driven by sales goals. The interview isn't for eight days. But it feels good to have something on the plate so soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Oh, the Folly of Youth

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." --Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything...

Wednesday at 7:00 AM I will be voluntarily unemployed for the second time in three months. My new job is quitting jobs! Seriously, this is NOT the place to work, at least not for me. I don't mind working hard--as I hope many of you would agree--nor do I mind pressure, or even having to wear a tie every day. I DO mind working for a company that willfully lies to clients, treats employees like cogs in a machine, and seems to have no guiding vision other than making money. I understand: The purpose of a business is to make money. Call me crazy, but life is too short to go into business solely for that reason, or to work for an employer whose only objective is to wring money from clients as quickly as possible while doing as little for them as possible.

And the boss (who reminded me of Marsellus Wallace [Ving Rhames] in Pulp Fiction , if that tells you anything) told us this afternoon we would be working Saturday at 9:00. Which happens to be when one person was planning to move into a new home, a second was expected in Minnesota to play rugby, and a third thought he would be spending the weekend with his family in Colorado because he commutes once a week--on Friday night, not Saturday--to his home there. An employer who A) doesn't know about these events in his employees' lives or B) doesn't care about them isn't the kind of person for whom I want to work. I'd rather be poor.

Which I am, except now I have a bunch of nice clothes that I bought for work. Maybe I should get a job as a bank teller. Seriously, if you know of any jobs--preferably not for soulless corporate entities--let me know. Today I proudly pull my Lloyd Dobler for a lifetime, but tomorrow I'm still going to need to eat.

One more thing. This experience makes me appreciate Split Rock Studios more than I ever did. I'll be lucky to find another place that fosters a friendly environment and cares about clients as much as that company.

Friday, September 12, 2003

I Knew I Moved For a Reason

HBO: Bill Maher

If you have HBO and you're not watching Bill Maher on a weekly basis, you're wasting your money. This week: watch Jesse Ventura make a buffoon of himself (Minnesotans will have flashbacks) and shout down anyone who dares to disagree. And watch Bill still make the show fun, interesting, and informative despite having a wrestler as his loudest panelist.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Stepping Out of Line...

The unemployment line, that is. As of Monday I'll be employed here. Now I can afford that new car...that I already bought.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

And Now For Something Frivolous

Six Feet Under 's third season goes into reruns on HBO starting Saturday night. It'll be on alongside The Sopranos .

John Mayer's new CD is pretty good. You can get it for less than ten bucks if you buy before Tuesday at Target or Best Buy.

Monday, September 08, 2003

A Twist in the Tale

Sorry for the long lag between posts from last Wednesday until today. I've been reconsidering my job search strategy, leaving little time for pondering of more important issues like the Democratic debate or Bill Maher's hilarious show this week. (Wesley Clark AND Al Franken are on. Catch it before Friday if you haven't already.)

Good news: I have a job interview for a copy editor position tomorrow. It's closer to my house than the last serious prospect. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me--even if it prevents you from getting anything done for the next two days.

Remember When....

it was OK to call Bush a total moron? I was watching a rerun of SNL on Comedy Central this afternoon and Charlie Sheen, coming off his involvement in a scandal involving drugs and hookers, made a wonderful joke. An audience member asked him if he's considered following in his father's footsteps and playing the president on TV. He responded, essentially, "I don't think people want a president who's been on cocaine, who's been arrested, and who isn't very smart."

No one remembers that Bush was a cokehead, that he drove drunk and tried to hide it. And his lack of intelligence is so blatant that the media doesn't even talk about it anymore--it's a given. Without 9/11 to transform the Bush presidency, I think we'd still be hearing these jokes and waiting for the long national nightmare to end. Even if you agree with the things he's done--and I know many people do, though the reasons why, except the most cynical, escape me--how can you think Bush is the right person to be doing them?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Today Was the Day!

To get bad news, that is. The hiring from hell is over--well, over for me, anyhow. Apparently, after more than two months of working toward filling a new position, they've decided to move in a whole new direction. They were "impressed" with me at my interviews and will keep me in mind if they have openings that I can fill.

Which sounds A) like a gentle let-down and B) like I'm a male prostitute.

While swallowing this bitter pill, I should mention that Annie Lennox's new album, Bare , which features the song "Bitter Pill," is brilliant. Really. It's got top five--and possibly Grammy--written all over it.

At least I was right about James and Wes.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Tonight is the Night!

At last, we'll know who's been lying to James. Tonight marks the final episode of Bravo's Boy Meets Boy . I repeat my prediction: James will pick Wes, and Franklin will turn out to be the straight guy. Poor Brian will go down in reality TV history as the gay man who had a crush on a fellow contestant who turned out to be straight.

By the way, welcome to all of you who are finding this site strictly on the basis of Google searches regarding Boy Meets Boy . Who do you think will win tonight?

Finished Hey Nostradamus! , by one Douglas Coupland, over the weekend. It's OK, and it's interesting how Coupland tracks the impact of a high school massacre over fifteen years and within three generations. But this is a slight book in many ways; it doesn't carry the intellectual weight or have the thoughtful heft of recent books by Yann Martel, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides, or Jonathan Safran Foer. For that, check out:
Life of Pi
The Corrections
Everything is Illuminated

Rewatched Almost Famous (thanks Paul) and Wonder Boys (thanks Cammy) over the weekend. Wonder Boys =best movie ever. What do you think about that?