Movable Type 3.2
May 28, 2010
This sort of post is a perfect example of why I love Jezebel.
Do you ever get tired of articles about Swedish murder mysteries? I don't.
There's a font of Robert Pattinson's handwriting. This is terrifying.
I know I've asked this before, but hey, things change. So. I'm working on a post about my current favorite podcasts, but before I finish, I want to know if you have any favorites I should make sure I try. My current playlist is rather skewed toward the BBC. Which is not actually accidental. But still. I'm sure there's non-BBC stuff out there that's worth a listen. Tell me where!
Review: The Luxe
This is one of those books that I don't really have a lot to say about, but that's not a bad thing. Set in 1899 Manhattan among socialite teens and their servants, it's basically Gossip Girl meets Edith Wharton meets Gosford Park. Now, it's not as good as any of those things*, but it was a fun, quick read. It gave me a completely enjoyable Saturday afternoon of reading, and I immediately requested the next in the series from the library. And sometimes, that's all I really ask for from a book.
* To clarify: This is a million times better than the Gossip Girl books, which are barely readable, but not as good as the Gossip Girl show, which at times approaches genius.
May 27, 2010
Song of the Day: Foyle's War Theme
I meant to use this as the song of the day on Tuesday, when I posted about the new Foyle's War DVDs, but I was at a conference and the day totally got away from me. So, hey, still excited about Foyle. Here you go.
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: ABC
Better Together, Fall, Wednesdays at 8:30
Body of Proof, Fall, Fridays at 9
Detroit 1-8-7, Fall, Tuesdays at 10
The Gates, Summer, Sundays at 10
Happy Endings, Midseason
Mr. Sunshine, Midseason
My Generation, Fall, Thursdays at 8
No Ordinary Family, Fall, Tuesdays at 8
Off the Map, Midseason
Rookie Blue, Summer, Thursdays at 9
Scoundrels, Summer, Sundays at 9
Secret Millionaire, Fall, Fridays at 8
The Whole Truth, Fall, Wednesdays at 10
History, Live on Twitter
One of my favorite unconventional uses of Twitter is reading history tweeted real time. Here are two accounts I like. Know of others? Let me know and I'll do a follow-up.
@UKWarCabinet: As they say in their bio: "Watch WWII unfold day by day through original Cabinet Papers from 1940 held at The National Archives." You can learn more about the Cabinet Papers here. (Thanks to Liz for telling me about this one!)
May 26, 2010
Song of the Day: "St. Paul's Suite"
Well, part of it, anyway. I heard this on the radio this morning and it took me way too long to identify it, considering that I've actually played it. So! Here you go.
Review: Shoot to Thrill
First: P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of a mother/daughter writing team, so if I refer to the author as "they," that's why. This is the fifth book in their Monkeewrench series, and it pains me to admit that it was a disappointment. Like many people, one of the main reasons why I read mystery series is because I enjoy the character development that usually occurs over the course of the series. This book was particularly disappointing in that respect. There was very little character development for most of the book, and then there was an epilogue in which a main character did something slightly shocking - something that would hurt another main character - and I didn't think it had been set up sufficiently, and I didn't have a good grasp on her motivations at that point. It made me a little nervous about where the next book would start. One other character note: series always have to deal with the issue of how much from previous books to recap in new volumes. I didn't think this one did enough - I've read the entire series and I couldn't remember what they were talking about a fair amount of the time, so anyone who was starting out with this book would have been completely lost.
The mystery itself was . . . okay. Actually, it was completely fine until the end, The solution was constructed in such a way as to offer a certain lack of payoff to the reader, but other than that, it was well-plotted and reasonably suspenseful. I don't think the main characters actually ended up in danger at any point, which was a nice change from how many mysteries go. I figured out some of the solution in advance, but not all of it.
What really stands out about this series is the technology. Half of the recurring characters are cops, but the other half are a group of programmers and hackers who are basically supposed to be the best in the world. Now, the books don't get everything right. But so many novels get even very basic computer stuff wrong that it's really nice to be able to read this series, with so much focus on tech stuff, and not be completely jolted out of the story by ridiculously unrealistic computer activity. Actual programmers might well feel differently, but for me, the Monkeewrench books keep the technology realistic enough for me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride.
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: CBS
Blue Bloods, Fall, Fridays at 10
The Defenders, Fall, Wednesdays at 10
Hawaii Five-O, Fall, Mondays at 10
Mike and Molly, Fall, Mondays at 9:30
$#*! My Dad Says, Fall, Thursdays at 9:30
May 25, 2010
More Foyle's War!!!!!!!!
Yes, I realize I've now used up my daily quota of exclamation points, but really, this news is that exciting. Due to a TiVo issue, I somehow hadn't realized that PBS had been showing new episodes of Foyle's War in May. I'd vaguely heard that there were supposed to be new episodes at some point, but I'd had no idea that they were done and out there. But they are! And if you also missed them on PBS, you can get the DVDs a week from today. They're already at the top of my Netflix queue.
May 24, 2010
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: CW
There are promos out for most, if not all, of the shows that got picked up by the networks for fall. (And some new summer shows, too.) I watched them all, so you don't have to. You're welcome.
First up: CW!
Nikita, Fall, Thursdays at 9
Hellcats, Fall, Wednesdays at 9
Plain Jane, Summer
Five Ridiculous Things in This Girls' Flag Football Article
1. The title: No Tackling, but a Girls’ Sport Takes Some Hits. Haven't all possible tackling-related cutesy puns been used? Can we declare a moratorium?
2. "But rather than applaud the new opportunities, some women’s sports advocates call it a dead-end activity." Supposedly, flag football is less worthy because you can't do it professionally. This kind of thinking about school sports drives me nuts. Everyone, let's take a deep breath and admit the fact that odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the fact that no student in your high school is going to become a professional athlete, regardless of sport. That isn't the point of having sports programs, just as training professional musicians isn't the point of having a high school band.
3. "But one advocate for women’s sports said that by recognizing sports like flag football, administrators were artificially pumping up girls’ participation numbers." Wait, what? They're participating, right? And they're not being forced into it or anything? How is this artificially pumping up numbers?
4. "Its popularity has led to grumbling by coaches of other spring sports, who say they have lost their best athletes to flag football." Doesn't sound like that's saying something bad about flag football. It sounds like the other sports need to do better marketing themselves, or, I don't know, be more fun.
5. "Ms. Hogshead-Makar, who also serves as the senior director for advocacy at the Women’s Sports Foundation, said girls missed the educational benefits if they did not take a sport seriously." This, of course, following quotes from actual girls saying they like the sport because there's less pressure. I mean, sure, I suppose you could say there's an educational benefit to undergoing that sort of pressure, but the main benefits of playing sports - exercise, strategic thinking, teamwork - are the same regardless of whether the athletes are worried about getting scholarships.
(That does, however, make me wonder about one issue not mentioned in the article. When some sports at a high school can lead to college scholarships and others can't, does team make-up end up being split along socioeconomic lines to any extent? Anyone know if there's research out there on this?)
May 23, 2010
CW's Fall Promo Video
I don't have anything particularly interesting to say about this. It's just . . . nicely done, and it captures the flavor of the network very well. And it makes me want to watch their shows that I don't already watch, even those I tried and didn't like. (I'm looking at you, Life Unexpected. Should I give you another try?) Except America's Next Top Model. I watched a season of that and I can't think of anything that could ever make me want to watch it again.
Not-Quite-Review: Letters to Juliet
Warning: The following will, in fact, include spoilers for the movie. But really, if it isn't completely obvious to you how this movie is going to end, then apparently you've never seen another movie before, ever. So it barely counts as spoilers.
Okay, I was going to write an actual review, but then I read A.O. Scott's review in the Times and I pretty much agree with everything he says. So go read that, and then I'll add the following points:
1. Christopher Egan, who plays Charlie, half of the younger of the two couples whose story this movie tells, looks exactly, distractingly like Daniel Truhitte, better known as Rolfe from The Sound of Music. So let me give you some peace of mind about one thing: he does not, at any point, turn Amanda Seyfried or Vanessa Redgrave over to the Nazis. I know you were worried. I certainly was.
2. I've never been a big fan of Romeo and Juliet. I mean, it's Shakespeare. It's great. Obviously. But it's a tragedy, about dangerous prejudice and dumb teenagers, so I've never understood setting it up as this great love story. And the whole premise about women leaving letters asking Juliet for advice - and yes, I know this really happens, but still - seems absurd, because - really? Juliet is extremely low on my list of people from whom I'd want advice. I was afraid this would ruin the movie for me, but it didn't. The actual Juliet stuff doesn't come up much once the plot really gets going.
3. I'm always unsure about these romances in which one of the people is supposed to be with someone else, but this didn't bother me while watching, just afterward. And I think it was handled pretty well. Of course, part of me also wishes that Victor, the fiance, had been a more three-dimensional and sympathetic character, but then I'd be complaining more about Sophie's relationship with Charlie. So. I am fickle.
4. Scott mentions the Italian scenery, which was, of course, lovely, but it was the food and wine that really got me. So either make dinner reservations for after you see the movie or be ready to cook.
5. The cast was actually pretty amazing. I've been a fan of Amanda Seyfried since Veronica Mars, and it's nice to see her getting starring roles. Christopher Egan, once I got past the Sound of Music thing, was a revelation, and while I'm not quite ready to call him our generation's Hugh Grant, well, I'm considering it. Vanessa Redgrave was perfect, of course. And the fine supporting cast - Oliver Platt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero - left me wanting more of them.
6. The big obstacle making Sophie and Charlie "hate" each other was Charlie's grandmother's quest to find her lost love. I felt like the movie wanted me to sympathize with Sophie here, but I was completely on Charlie's side. So, now that I think about it, the movie did a nice job of offering these two different points of entry, rather than making one of the positions completely ridiculous.
7. Lastly, I really liked the way they handled Sophie's work in relation to the two men. She didn't need a man to encourage her to pursue her dreams - she was going to write regardless of what Victor or Charlie said about it. And it wasn't that one of them believed in her and the other didn't. They both expressed confidence in her abilities and future. But Charlie really wanted to read her writing, because he was actually interested, whereas Victor couldn't be bothered to read a piece even when she specifically left it out for him. And that was the moment when Sophie made up her mind once and for all.
May 20, 2010
These newly unveiled London Olympics 2012 mascots are extremely creepy.
Here's the CW fall schedule. New: Hellcats and Nikita. At this point, I'll try an episode or two of any new CW show, just in case.
Did you know there's a huge controversy over whether to put jam on scones first, then cream, or cream and then jam? Well, there is.
Yes, Mom, Rodgers and Hammerstein have been in a lot of commercials recently.
Do we need to do this to Vivaldi?
I suppose after Immortal Beloved it was just a matter of time before movie makers decided other classical composers would make for good period dramas. Now that I think about it, I'm amazed there isn't a movie about the Schumanns. (Is there?) Or Tchaikovsky. Or Bach, with all those kids. But Vivaldi? Not my first choice for a period romance. And yet Raffaella De Laurentiis, whose name I am astonished I spelled correctly on the first try, is making one. (Oh! Giada's aunt! That's why I thought I recognized the name.) I mean, I'm all for historical movies in general, but . . . we all know Vivaldi was a priest, right? (There were rumors about his relationship with this woman, but so far as I know most modern scholars don't believe anything was going on.) But then, I suppose ecclesiastical sex scandals are somewhat timely. Still. I am skeptical. And on the casting: Luke Evans has done a fair number of historical movies, although I don't actually remember him from Clash of the Titans. But there's a reason Vivaldi was called The Red Priest. Okay, multiple reasons, but one of the reasons was his red hair. So, please, dye Evans's hair, and hope he looks believable as a redhead. Jessica Biel is playing the love interest, and while I don't actually have anything against her in general, but she always plays as very modern, and I found that distracting in The Illusionist.
Oh well. At least we know the soundtrack will be good!
Look look look!
I promise I will shut up about the whole thing soon, but - look! My story is on the front page of The Atlantic right now!
May 19, 2010
Glee's Inexplicable Timing
(Now that I think about it, Glee has rather inexplicable pacing as well, but that's a different subject for, perhaps, a different post.)
The third album of music from Glee was released yesterday. Now, I understand why FOX wants to put out as much Glee stuff as possible, and I will obligingly buy most of it. But I don't understand why they chose to release this album so early. Upfront week? Neil Patrick Harris buzz? Unless there's some compelling reason I'm not thinking of, it just doesn't make sense. There are twenty songs on the album; twelve of them were from episodes that aired over the past few weeks. Three appeared last night - hours after millions of fans already had the album - and five have yet to show up on the show. This does a disservice to both the show and the album.
For me, at least, part of the pleasure of listening to the Glee albums is remembering the characters and situations that were taking place on the show as the songs were being sung. When the songs appear on an album before the show, it all feels very disconnected, and it's way less exciting to hear them. I mean, from listening to the album, I can say that sure, the Lady GaGa episode sounds like it will be interesting - but I could have guessed that anyway. This "Beth" song, on the other hand - well, I don't know what it's doing, although I'm sure it will make sense once the episode airs.
Perhaps the bigger problem is that hearing the music in advance takes something away from watching the show. Yes, song lists often leak, but they don't include many details, so it's still interesting to find out who will be singing which song and what they'll do with it, musically. Now that level of interest is gone for these songs, and they're something like Chekhov's gun - we'll be watching the episodes and trying to figure out which events are building up in such a way as to lead to these songs we know are coming.
Overall, I feel like Glee just handed us a photo album from a vacation without actually letting us take the trip first. Now, no matter how great the trip ends up being, it will be something of a letdown.
Song of the Day: "Sabotage"
It's The Good Guys day, and FOX used this song in their upfront presentation about the show, so hey, good enough reason for me.
My ACTUAL Incredibly Exciting News
So. All those reasons I was giving for this being The Most Incredibly Exciting Week Ever? Well, they're exciting enough, but none of them were really why I've been so excited. I couldn't give the ACTUAL, most exciting reason until today:
I wrote something, and today The Atlantic ran it on their site. I can't even express how excited I am about this. THE ATLANTIC. It's a dream come true. So, without further ado:
(Also, Alyssa Rosenberg very kindly posted about my piece.)
May 18, 2010
Like Alyssa, I don't even know what to say about this. Hamlet! Vampires! Law and Order! Wait, what?
Tracking ice cream availability: the best use of RFID to date?
Jamie Bamber has a new show and it sounds disconcertingly like BSG. But British! So maybe it will be good!
ABC's fall schedule is out. There are several new shows I'll probably try, but I'm not really wildly excited about any of them.
Awww! Cute knitted tofu!
Did the end of "Neutron Star Collision" sound familiar?
Yeah? Maybe? Here it is again . . .
When I first listened to it, I couldn't figure out why, at the end, I suddenly felt like I was listening to Celine Dion and/or watching Clueless. But!
The common thread? Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto, the second movement, Adagio sostenuto.
May 17, 2010
Rudy Giuliani is coming back to New Hampshire. Because that went so well for him last time?
FOX picked up a bunch of new shows today, and there are even a few that involve neither cops nor Texas. Here you go. Related: I said this to a friend at lunch and it totally sounded like a joke but wasn't: "Did you hear about the show Stephen Spielberg is making with Brannon Braga and people from Avatar? About dinosaurs? Set in the future?" Yeah.
Oh, this is useful: TV Guide's fall schedule, which will be updated as news is released.
This one is for a certain little Esther who was born yesterday: Baby's Touch 'n Feel Guide to Russian Literature
Gossip Girl Season Finale Liveblog
Good evening, Upper East Siders! Everyone settling in for what promises to be an exciting - and upsetting - finale? My dinner is mainly comprised of lettuce and grapes, coincidentally, so Blair would approve. Ready? Here we go.
9:00 Previously, about a million completely ridiculous things happened. Please don't remind us, Gossip Girl. Jenny, what's weird about you wanting your life to get back to normal is that when you had your old life all you ever wanted was the new one. Chuck, you're lucky you're you because no one else could get away with this "At 7:01 I'm closing my heart to you forever" nonsense. And yes, that Gossip Girl blast does say "Empire State Building of Mind." Sigh.
9:01 Is the song in the background "You Really Got a Hold on Me"? I think it might be. Notice how we're starting in Grand Central, just like the pilot? Oh look! It's Georgina.
The van der Humphreys are eating waffles. OF COURSE THEY ARE. I'm not sure Lily is the best person to ask for advice about raising teen girls.
9:02 Eric, as usual, is the one reasonable person here.
Did Jenny finally actually sleep with Nate? They're both awfully clothed for that. How long are they going to drag out this Jenny-has-sex thing? (Wait, don't answer that, because I think I know the answer and I don't like it.)
9:03 Chuck is very dapper for so early in the morning. Bringing them breakfast in bed. HEEEEE.
9:04 Dorota is ridiculously pregnant. Blair is already all frenetic-crazy. Dorota is a Chuck/Blair shipper. Hee. Blair is dragging poor pregnant Dorota on her date. Really, if everyone on this show listened to Dorota and Eric, things would be a lot more reasonable. But then, there would be no show.
9:05 Georgina has randomly shown up at Chuck's Home for Wayward Girls. Of course she has. I think I like her better on Mercy. Chuck's being harsh, but I'm glad at least one person recognizes none of them have any reason to trust Georgina.
9:06 Dan and Serena are in his bed, also fully clothed! And - oh, Jenny. She takes their picture, of course, and this might actually be the most realistic version of her plan to break up Nate and Serena we've seen yet.
9:07 Dan looked at Serena's ringing phone and saw it was Nate and for a second I thought he was actually going to answer, but luckily, not even Dan is that dumb. I mean, when your ex-girlfriend/stepsister is sleeping in your bed and her boyfriend calls, you don't answer. Wait, is Serena putting her underwear on? So wait, they . . . kissed? Is that all? Why were her pants off?
9:08 "Do we have to tell anyone?" No, Serena, you do not have to tell anyone that you kissed your stepbrother. Why on earth would you tell anyone? They are so emphasizing not telling anyone that obviously they will both immediately tell people. She leaves and... goes in for another kiss. Yeah. Guys. You're not very good at this.
Gossip Girl breaks out the Faulkner!
9:09 That moment of Chuck and Nate looking at their phones and then at each other was classic. Dan, you should not need to see the coffee cup emblazoned with "JENNY" to know who did this. Who did he think was in his house?
9:13 Blair looks a little surprised/confused when Serena says Jenny is obviously behind the photos. A little role reversal there, no?
9:14 "Are you friends with Vanessa?" I love that Dan has to ask this. Also, guys, the more times you say "meaningless," the less meaningless it gets.
9:15 Why do they keep being so surprised that an unsupervised grounded girl isn't just staying where she's told? Have they met Jenny? And wow, Chuck telling someone to stop playing games? Hee.
9:16 Nate! You are in no place to question "We just fell asleep talking" here! You just did the EXACT SAME THING!
9:17 Blair/Jenny smackdown! Yay! Wait, Nate and Serena is "mythic"? I'm not sure that means what you think it means, Blair. But I love Blair in scenes like this. She's really at her best here. "Signs are for the religious, the superstitious, and the lower-class." Also, she was rather smiling as she was damning Chuck Bass to hell, no?
9:19 Blair's going to go meet Chuck! Wait, Dorota's water broke! Of course it did. Blair was so smiley a second ago. That was great.
9:24 Yes! Shipping Jenny off to her mother! Best idea Rufus has ever had! The city's all she has? What does that even mean?
9:25 I don't think I want to know about Cyrus's birthing coach experience. Wait, why is everyone showing up at the hospital? This seems a little excessive.
9:26 I think I'm on Nate's side here. He is right.
9:27 "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" is kind of an odd song choice for labor and then Blair trying to find Chuck. And was Nate's phone a piece of product placement for something that actually looks really clunky to use? Huh.
9:28 Facial expressions like that are why I always end up a little in awe of Leighton Meester. And now is when I start saying "NO NO NO NO NO" as this inevitable Chuck/Jenny thing finally happens. Chuck is actually being really believable here, though.
9:29 Chuck: "The world you're looking for only exists from the outside. The only reason I survive in it is because I always knew it was empty." That might be the most true thing anyone's ever said on this show.
9:33 Oh, CHUCK. Oh, JENNY. Stop. Please. Stop. They're not stopping but at least we don't have to see them, for the moment.
9:33 And we're at the hospital, and Dan is inexplicably the one staring at the babies. Okay, Serena and Dan are actually pretty adorable together, I have to say.
9:34 Why are they letting Georgina stare at babies? Her evil might rub off. Aw, the baby's name is Anastasia. Cute. Anyone else get the impression that Eleanor's more excited about this baby than she ever was about her own?
9:35 Does Dan actually think he and Vanessa are happy? Hmm.
9:36 Okay, as much as I hate this whole Chuck/Jenny hookup, Chuck is actually being fairly tender and considerate here. And... of COURSE Blair shows up. Sigh.
9:37 Don't LIE, Chuck. Lying to Blair never ends well. And - you didn't expect to see her ever again? REALLY? What about the fact that all your friends are in common? That's a little unrealistic there, Charles. Oh, the look on Chuck's face when he sees the flowers is that amazing one he pulls out for moments like this. Aww.
9:38 Chuck was so completely happy for a second there until he remembered about Jenny. SIgh. And... Jenny's gone. What happened with the bed? She was doing something, but it wasn't clear what.
9:43 I really can't bring myself to have much sympathy for Jenny. She totally knew what she was getting into. How much do they spend on eye makeup for this girl, I wonder?
9:44 I do like how quickly Eric figured out what Jenny's "mistake" regarding Chuck was. And hey, Jenny, I know you wanted it to be special and all, but you got Chuck in his bed. That's saying something. Blair got the back of a limo, after all.
9:45 I do not approve of these car dealership ads popping up on the screen during episodes. I'd rather watch more actual commercials. Of course, I fast forward through the commercials, which I suppose is why they're doing the pop-up thing.
Eric: "Jenny's here. She needs help." Dan: "You're just now realizing this?" HEE. That was a nice little brotherly concern moment there, boys.
9:46 I'm not convinced Nate would ever think to start a sentence with "I find it in my heart to..." It's just taking a break, Serena? Are we going to do this whole "on a break" thing? AGAIN? Nate's being a little harsh here, but also totally within his rights.
9:47 Oh! Oh! Chuck's proposing! And . . . Dan ruins it. Of course. GAH. "Go. And never come back." Leighton Meester's acting the hell out of this. I don't really think this is all Chuck's fault here. Jenny was certainly willing, and knew more or less what was going on with Chuck and Blair, right? But it's still nice to see Dan being all brotherly.
9:48 Serena, correctly, takes in the whole scene and immediately zeroes in on Blair. Because Blair is the only person Serena can consistently bring herself to care about, regardless of what else is going on.
9:49 Okay, I get that Blair sees this as a huge betrayal, but she and Chuck were broken up. And I think Chuck is being completely honest when he says he didn't care if he lived or died at that moment. I mean, it wasn't the best decision he could have made, but I don't think it's quite as awful as the show seems to be telling us it is.
9:52 And Jenny's off to Hudson, claiming it was her idea. Um? Nice parallelism to the pilot with Jenny and Dan coming home from Hudson.
9:53 Jenny is really obnoxious telling all these people who love her that there's nothing left for her in the city. And Eric is being adorable. And I'm starting to get worried, because we have seven minutes left and Georgina hasn't done anything yet.
Blair's point about how life is kind of like summer for Serena is pretty brilliant. Wait. WAIT. Wasn't it snowing last episode? Why is it suddenly summer? What is this, New Hampshire?
9:54 I like Blair's implication that Serena has something worth writing a memoir about. Hee. I like this idea of them in Paris. Could be fun. "As long as we have each other, we're both going to be okay." That's where this show begins and ends, really.
9:55 This Dan and Nate apology call is completely adorable. I love their scenes together. Hee, Chuck's in Prague! Nate has Chuck's girls! Nate, you will never be Chuck, but it's cute to watch you try. (Tip: Stop with the plaid shirts.)
(And I just got a text saying "WTF???!!!!!!" from my cousin Liz. Now I'm scared to finish the episode.)
9:56 Blair is wearing some sort of sailor dress. Awesome. No! Dan! You don't need to search for "www.airfrance.com"! You know the URL! You can type it in! It drives me crazy when people do this. At least he seems to be back to using a Google clone rather than Bing, though.
9:57 Did he really just buy a ticket that quickly?? I could get behind Dan trying to get Serena back. That could be interesting. OMG. As soon as Georgina says "Looking for you," I think I know what's going on. Hah! I was right! And, um, that's quite an outfit there, Georgina.
Hm. I am not as shocked or upset about this as others seem to be.
9:58 OMG! Never mind, clearly CHUCK GETTING SHOT is what people are upset about! Oh. Wow. Okay.
Verdict: Not as shocking as The Vampire Diaries finale, but pretty good. Hmm. I will have to contemplate.
Bonus Song of the Day: "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)"
Here's the new Muse:
I've only listened to it once, but my first impression is that I like it well enough, I guess. It seems to be missing the energy of "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Starlight," and sounds an awful lot like Queen. I was going to call the lyrics heavy-handed but then I remembered that I adore the early Beatles and I don't hold that against them. It certainly sounds like it was written for a Twilight movie. My lingering question: Why do they keep putting space stuff in their song titles if they're going for the teen vampire demographic?
Song of the Day: "The Old Ways"
(Have I used this one before? Hmm. Anyway, it's still good.)
Gossip Girl Season Finale Liveblog Tonight!
Attention Upper East Siders! I'll be liveblogging the Gossip Girl season finale right here, tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern. Come join me!
May 15, 2010
TNT has picked up a new Mark-Paul Gosselaar legal show. Because the last one went so well?
I know I always say this, but I really, really love Gail Collins. Here she is on new gun laws.
Lautenberg has a knack for proposing laws against things that most people would presume were illegal already. You may remember him from such past hits as "Let's Not Let Convicted Felons Buy Weapons at Gun Shows" and "Don't Sell Assault Rifles to People on the Terrorist Watch List."
Gratuitous Beatles Blogging is a concept I can get behind.
As is Gratuitous Ed Westwick Photography. (Hey, the post title is even a Beatles reference!)
Via Robin Wasserman, a children's book title trivia game. (I got 100%, with a few minutes to spare. Not to brag or anything.)
Taylor Momsen - you may know her as Jenny Humphrey - wants to be John Lennon. Um, good luck with that, sweetie. May I suggest you start by occasionally going out in public fully clothed?
NPR Does Lady Gaga
This is a little old at this point, but I somehow hadn't watched it until today. So in case you also missed it, I assure you that you want to watch this. Right now.
All My Posts at Alyssa Rosenberg's Blog
My week of guest blogging for Alyssa Rosenberg is over, and I'd like to publicly thank her for handing over the keys, and my co-guest-bloggers for a great time. Here are all my posts from the week:
Lena Horne (1917-2010)
May 14, 2010
Review: The Demon's Lexicon
I have a whole list of book reviews I owe you, but they're always the easiest thing to push off until later, somehow. But the next book in this series arrived today, so I'm going to tell you a little about this one before I read the next and they run together in my head, as series are wont to do.
Because it's late and I'm tired, I'm going to quote a quick description from the School Library Journal review:
In this riveting debut novel, 16-year-old Nick and his older brother, Alan, are accustomed to life on the run. Since their father was murdered, the boys have been forced to slay demons set on them by magicians seeking the powerful charm stolen by the boys' mother. Nick is furious when Alan receives a first-tier demon mark while saving a neighborhood boy. While seeking to remove it, Nick begins to suspect that his brother is lying to him about the reason for the magicians' attempts to kill them and about why their mother screams whenever Nick touches her.And man, "riveting" is really the right word. This was, by far, the best book I've read so far this year. I don't want to say much more about the plot, because this is one of those books about which you really don't want me to give anything away. So! How about a list of reasons why this books was great, instead?
1. It fit perfectly into the strong YA fantasy genre, and yet still felt wholly original. It helps that the main species of supernatural being here is demons, rather than vampires or wizards or whatever else the kids are on about these days.Here's a quick test to help you decide whether you should read The Demon's Lexicon. Read the first paragraph. If it makes you smile, then you must go read this book immediately.
The pipe under the sink was leaking again. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that Nick kept his favorite sword under the sink.
Song of the Day: "You're Nothing Without Me"
Yes, this is a duet between an author and his character. I love it beyond all reason, and it seemed vaguely appropriate for today in a few ways.
May 13, 2010
Apparently Google is going to officially allow Android phones to work as Wi-Fi hotspots. This is perhaps the most exciting news I've heard all week, and given everything else going on this week, that's saying a lot. (h/t Jamelle)
I've only been paying cursory attention to the Newsweek/Kristin Chenoweth flap about gay actors, but if you're interested, Aaron Sorkin has now weighed in. Of course he has.
Could Ian Somerhalder be any more adorable? Well, actually, I'm sure he'll manage. But this interview about how he became "one of those actors with a political agenda" in the wake of the oil spill is really good. (There's some good Vampire Diaries stuff there too.)
More Ian Somerhalder: a photo gallery of his best roles. (I guess Marco Polo doesn't make the cut.) And here's another nice profile, although calling Damon Salvatore "fully clothed" is a bit of a stretch.
E-mail I just got: "Friendster launches Massive Multiplayer Online Games!" Really? REALLY? The only time I remember Friendster exists is when they e-mail me. And I think they mean games like, you know, Farmville. Sigh.
The finale season has been won.
The Vampire Diaries finale that just aired was so mind-blowingly amazing and shocking that I'm pretty confident in saying that I seriously doubt any other season finale I'll see this spring will top it. (I mean, go ahead, Bones and Gossip Girl. Bring it on. We'll see.)
More over the weekend, when I've recovered from my shock enough to form coherent sentences beyond "OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG." (Yes, I just texted that to someone.)
Song of the Day: David Tennant's "Modern Major General"
It's Arthur Sullivan's birthday, so I was looking for some Gilbert and Sullivan on YouTube, and hey, look! It's David Tennant! Who knew?
The Most Incredibly Exciting Week Ever
Okay, that may be overstating things a little, but seriously, folks, there's a lot of exciting pop culture stuff going on in the next week or so. Here's a rundown of the things that interest me. (Notes: All times are Eastern. Here's an explanation of "upfronts".)
Thursday, May 13
Friday, May 14
Monday, May 17
Tuesday, May 18
Thursday, May 20
May 12, 2010
This review feels pretty much the way I do about Happy Town right now, which is to say, WHAT THE HELL?
Derek Jacobi is joining The Borgias? Yes, please.
At this rate, FOX should soon rename itself the Texas and/or cop network.
Song of the Day: "Train Home"
"This is kind of a gospel song for people who aren't really sure."
Shirley Temple and Fast Food Icons
This just occurred to me the other day when someone mentioned Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits. I'm not sure I'd ever heard of the chicken chain before; to me, the name conjures up Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who sang and danced with Shirley Temple:
Robinson himself was never involved with the chicken chain, but Temple's song and dance partner Arthur Treacher licensed his name and acted as spokesman for Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips, which is now part of Nathan's Famous.
There's probably something to be said about the connection between the cultural appropriation involved in being a fast food symbol and the way Temple's handlers deliberately paired her with older men they thought would make her look smaller and cuter, but I have to go to work, so I'll leave it at - hey! Interesting trend there!
May 11, 2010
I'll hate myself for this in the morning...
I can't believe I'm actually about to post this. A fanvid. For a teen CW show. About vampires. Set to Celine Dion. But really, if someone sat down and decided to make a video that perfectly encapsulated my guilty pleasures, this is pretty much what they would come up with.
I've been watching Happy Town but kind of hating myself for it, so it will more or less be a relief when it gets cancelled. On that note: ABC is taking it off the air until June, after this week. Then it looks like five more episodes and it's done.
Over at Alyssa's, Dara has a good response to my HIMYM post.
I searched for "Damon Salvatore" on YouTube (shush) and was perhaps too surprised to find that I am not the only one who thinks of him when I hear "Cowboy Casanova."
Guest Blogging at Alyssa's
This week, I'm guest blogging along with some other folks over at Alyssa Rosenberg's place while she takes a much-deserved vacation before she starts her new job. I'll give you links to my posts specifically, but I really recommend you go over and read my co-guest bloggers as well. I'm in some impressive company there.
May 10, 2010
The Hottest Characters on TV Right Now
I'm sure you've all noticed that I enjoy making lists. The other night while I was doing dishes or something, I started absentmindedly creating a list of the top five most attractive characters currently on TV. I was somewhat astonished that I got stuck at four. I can come up with these four who stand out, and then the next tier has 15 or so guys and I simply cannot decide who to elevate. Of course, if I were to wait a week or so, this problem would go the other way, because The Good Guys would be out and I'd probably want to include both of the male characters from that. But anyway! Here are my top four, at the moment, and than an incomplete list of honorable mentions. (Caveats: the order among the four changes based on my mood. As usual, I am judging by looks, personality, and whatever else, not just looks.) And hey, how about a quote from each? Because if there's anything I like almost as much as lists, it's quotes.
2. Marshall Mann from In Plain Sight (Frederick Weller)
Interestingly, two of those (Marshall and Booth) are in law enforcement of some sort, and the other two are . . . very much not. One could even call them criminals. If one wished.
Honorable mention: Robert McCallister and Justin Walker from Brothers and Sisters, Rick Castle from Castle, Will Schuester from Glee, Will Gardner from The Good Wife, Derek Shepherd and Alex Karev from Grey's Anatomy, Raylan Givens from Justified, Patrick Jane and Wayne Rigsby from The Mentalist, Adam Braverman from Parenthood, Pete Wilder and Sam Bennett from Private Practice.
May 07, 2010
NBC has picked up a few shows for fall. Scott Patterson (Luke Danes)!
Speaking of the Twilight phenomenon leading to more airtime for things I like, the CW will be airing reruns of Moonlight this summer.
Song of the Day: Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto
Not exactly a song, as such, but happy birthday, Tchaikovsky! Make sure you check out today's Google doodle.
I can't decide how to feel about this.
There were rumors going around that the band Muse wouldn't have any songs in Eclipse, the third Twilight movie. (If you don't care about Muse or Twilight, feel free to just stop reading now.) Muse had songs in the first two movies (and on the soundtrack albums), so there was sort of an uproar when they were supposedly not going to have anything to do with Eclipse. But don't worry! They are in fact putting out a whole new song for the movie! Everyone take a deep breath!
On the one hand, Muse is a good band, and I'm happy that they're getting more exposure. On the other hand, well, I try not to be one of those people who refuses to like popular things, but I'm not necessarily wild about the idea of bands I like being co-opted by screaming teenagers. (Actually, I maintain that Muse exited indie-cool status three years ago, when a poster of the band was used on a failed CW summer teen soap to telegraph that a boy was angsty and depressed, but since I seem to be the only one who watched that show, I generally fail to convince people of this. And by people, I mean my best friend, who runs MUSE: Simulacrum. Anyway. Moving on!)
On the other other hand, my feelings about the whole Twilight franchise are rather mixed right now. There are a few reasons for this, but first - okay, I'm getting into Casey McCall territory here*. And now that I think about it, I might write something longer about my Twilight issues at some point. But a summary: I enjoyed the books. I think it helped that I read the first before it was popular, before there was any hype. But I think the movies are pretty bad. And I think the plot sends some iffy messages to young girls. But without Twilight, other things I really REALLY like - namely The Vampire Diaries - would have been given much less of a chance.
So! New Muse song for Eclipse. The name is kind of dumb: "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)." I mean, with this trend in Muse song titles, I'd really rather they be used in a movie about space rather than vampires. And what the hell is the point of subtitling a song WRITTEN FOR A TWILIGHT MOVIE "Love Is Forever"? Is that really necessary? Not to put too fine a point on it, or anything. But hey, new music from Muse. So I'll stop complaining. For now.
* "Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects--" - Sports Night
May 06, 2010
As usual, you should read Gail Collins:
Yes, if you are on the terrorist watch list, the authorities can keep you from getting on a plane but not from purchasing an AK-47. This makes sense to Congress because, as Graham accurately pointed out, "when the founders sat down and wrote the Constitution, they didn't consider flying."
Shorter Alyssa Rosenberg: Bones is awesome.
Song of the Day: "Fugue for Tinhorns"
I think my parents saw this revival on Broadway. It also - the song choice and this version in particular - is sort of in celebration of something that will be on TV tonight, although the connection is tenuous. (Anyone get it?)
May 05, 2010
Undercovers looks like it will be worth a try.
Congratulations (belatedly) to Janel Moloney and Marcelo Zarvos on the birth of Julian Francis. Valentine's Day baby! Aww!
Basically, any time Ezra Klein writes about how restaurants should have more vegetarian options, I will link to it.
Song of the Day: "Grande Valse Brillante"
Something a little different...
The Amazon Meme
I've seen this in a few places, most recently over at Alyssa's. The question: What was the first thing you purchased on Amazon.com? I was mildly surprised to find that mine was Baryshnikov's Nutcracker on VHS in December 2002, to replace the version my parents taped from PBS when I was little. (I still have the tape, but no way to play it. I'll have to buy the DVD this Christmas.) I don't think that's actually right, though; perhaps I had an older account under a different e-mail address? I think I remember buying a tape of A Wish for Wings That Work as a gift for someone for Christmas 2000, and I can't imagine where else I would have gotten it. Hmmm.
I love electricity.
My power was out when I got home yesterday, and didn't come back on until almost bedtime. Now, this was a short enough outage that it wasn't a major problem in any way, by which I basically mean that I didn't have to miss a shower and the ice cream in my freezer didn't melt. But I felt like I should find such outages to be, I don't know, refreshing, or a nice change of pace, or delightfully old-fashioned, or something. And I didn't. At all. I sat and read by candlelight, so it's not like it was an unpleasant evening, even, but there were things I wanted to be doing. I wanted to cook dinner. I wanted to knit lace. (I realize knitting doesn't technically require power, but I would have had to light a whole lot more candles.) I wanted to finish season two of In Plain Sight. I wanted to obsessively check for an e-mail I'm expecting without worrying about draining my phone battery. I wanted to watch Glee while everyone else was watching and tweeting about it. I wanted my TiVo to be merrily going about its tasks, including recording things that I probably won't watch for weeks or months, so the prospect of watching online doesn't help.
I'm not sure what my point is here, except perhaps that it's always fashionable to talk about dropping off the Internet or getting rid of your TV, or whatever, and there's this idea that getting rid of technology makes you a better person, and I'm calling shenanigans. If some people prefer to live that way, more power (ha!) to them, but don't bring virtue or enlightenment into it, and drop the holier-than-thou bit. Sure, none of these things are essential. I realize that. But I have absolutely no desire to attempt life without my laptop or my smartphone or my TiVo, and I'm fine with that, and I honestly don't think it reflects negatively me or my generation or society as a whole.
I feel as though we reached a tipping point, anyway, the first time I called my parents and discovered that they were in bed, watching their new TV, with their laptops, on their wireless network.
May 04, 2010
Song of the Day: "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"
(To head off any concern: this is in no way a commentary on anything actually going on in my life right now. I was just looking for Ella doing Cole Porter and here we are!)
Do Not Want
This started out as an Endnotes I forgot to post last night, and then I noticed a theme...
A Wrinkle in Time ? I am skeptical.
Why on earth would you want to eat ice cream on a roller coaster? That sounds extraordinarily unpleasant.
I like the idea of an Avalon High movie, but this casting news isn't encouraging. Since it says Britt Robertson is starring, I assume that means she's Ellie, which would make Molly Quinn, the other girl mentioned, Jennifer. And it seems really obvious to me that those roles should be switched. Bah.
Rick Perry: Oil Spill May Be an "Act of God". Um, no. I'm about ready for Perry to go away, but alas, it doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon.
Vote for Jamelle!
Jamelle Bouie, of PostBourgie and United States of Jamerica (you read those, right? Right?), is trying to get a Democracy for America scholarship to attend Netroots Nation. You should head over here and vote for him. It's really easy. I promise. And he deserves it. As I'm sure you know, because obviously you're reading his blog. Aren't you?
The scene you might have missed last week on Glee...
Freaking American Idol keeps running over, so for me, at least, this cut off in the middle of the song. (I had two things to record at 10, so I couldn't pad my Glee recording. Tonight I'm padding. I have learned.) Here's that last scene, with "Home:"
May 03, 2010
May 01, 2010
Hey, look, it's the exact news everyone expected! Now that they own Palm, HP is forgetting about that Windows 7 tablet nonsense.
Google may be developing an OS for your television. Hm. Okay. Once again, I welcome my Google overlords.
Oh, yay! Finn on Glee WILL be singing "Jesse's Girl"! I'd been hoping.