Recent DVDs and brief reviews:
Six Degrees of Separation: I had seen it before, and it didn't really offer any great revelations on a second viewing, except that Will Smith wasn't always annoying.
The Aviator: Excellent movie. I never lost interest. Leonardo still looks a little young to take seriously, but he pulled it off. Too bad Howard Hughes couldn't get himself some Zoloft.
The Black Stallion: When Cosmo put this on our list, I wasn't eager to watch. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, and didn't really have any desire to watch it again. But seeing it now, as an adult, I realize that it's really one of the best movies I've ever seen. Even Mickey Rooney was good. I looked up the star, Kelly Reno, on IMDB, and it turns out he's a truck driver now.
I went to the USC Dental School today for a checkup on my new nightguard, which I wear at night to protect my teeth from clenching. All over the waiting room were signs that said "Saliva Study." A few dental students in scrubs were sitting around and one of their classmates came by.
Students: Hey, how's it goin'?
Classmate: Good, you hear for the spit?
Classmate: So, is it, like, drool, or are you hockin' a loogie?
There was a TV showing a continuous loop of educational dental information. One clip was of a lady sitting in a dental chair. Some porcelain veneers on the tray beside her began to dance and then flew through the air into her mouth, giving her a gleaming new smile full of chiclet teeth. One was of a chimp getting his teeth cleaned. Another showed a daddy dog demonstrating all the dental appliances and tools to his son (not a cartoon, real life trained dogs and chimps). It all seemed rather unsanitary if you ask me.
I finally went in and saw my doctor, who is a lovely man who for some reason insists on calling me George. "So, George, how are you today? How are you doing with the appliance?" "Please open your mouth George." "George, I want you to come back in three months."
Not sure why they needed to measure it, but my blood pressure was 117/79. Not half bad considering I haven't exercised strenuously in months. It's all in the genes, people. Don't let anyone tell you different.
I think what Howard Stern is doing is very interesting. On Sirius he has an entire news staff covering him, his show, and all the hangers on that surround him. They take a hard news approach and even report things he doesn't want reported, like secrets from staff meetings. Then he also has a "Super-Fan Roundtable" show, where his fans sit around and talk about what they like and dislike about the show, what they think is going to happen, and how much money the show regulars make. Yesterday, the "Howard 100 News" was covering the "Super-Fan Roundtable" and talking to participants who didn't get to be on the show this week. It's about as meta as you can get. (Is it meta to use the term meta?)
I think it's interesting because the behind-the-scenes stuff was always the most interesting part of the show to me. I love the psychodrama going on between the staff and "whack pack", and the way they harass each other. It's like a psychotic soap opera. The more of that they do, and as little of the strippers and porn stars as possible, the better.
I also love the cliffhanger idea. Everyone on the show is going to tell an extremely embarassing secret about themselves to their producer. He's going to announce all the stories on the last terrestrial radio show, but not say whose story is whose. You'll have to tune in to their first Sirius show to find out.
I saw the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15, Haydn: Cello Concerto in C, and Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet. The Shostakovich was weird, the Haydn was beautiful, and the Tchaikovsky is so well-known it's practically a cliché, but still gave me chills.
My kind of mom:
Mom: Now don't you get hit by a car crossing the street 'cause I will laugh at you both.
Mom: I'm sorry but it's true.
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I forgot the best part of our trip to Vegas: The moving statues at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace! From what I gather, Atlantis fell because an animatronic blond Xena bickered with a vaguely ethnic animatronic Eskimo type in front of their animatronic father. There was a lot of dry ice, fire, flashing lights, and plexiglass ice crystals. Then a big dragon popped up behind dad, Atlantis fell, and all the “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” puppets descended back into the mall floor, leaving us with only the Cheesecake Factory.
If only I had bothered to take a picture…
This weekend we went to Reason's Dynamic Cities conference in Las Vegas, where we saw all our old pals and a few interesting speakers. I also got to see one of Sigfried and Roy's tigers use a giant tiger-sized litterbox. Vegas truly has it all.
The weekend began with Christopher Hitchens, who's always a joy. He smoked and drank his way through a talk on "The War on Pleasure", and admitted to a little schadenfreude at the riots in France.
Next up was Drew Carey, who seemed a little off his game, or maybe I wasn't drunk enough. I saw him once at Reason Weekend and he killed with an absolutely filthy set that had the audience (again, drunk) crying. He passed out stickers that say "I (heart) being treated like a criminal by the TSA" for everyone to put on their luggage for the flight home.
Drew brought out Paul Gilmartin, another comedian, who played a dumb rightwing politician taking questions from Drew and the audience. He made me laugh a couple of times: "I don't hate homosexuals, just their faggoty ways." (Or maybe I just like the word faggoty. I'm a woman of simple tastes.)
I missed the two opening speakers on Saturday and arrived just in time for pollster Frank Luntz. His aggressive, condescending style immediately put me in a sour mood, and his steady stream of platitudes, bad jokes, and copious nonsense inspired feelings of violence of which I'm not terribly proud. The consensus among the people I talked to was that he is indeed full of shit.
Next up was a panel on gaming in Las Vegas, the highlight of which was a Vegas economist named William Eadington, who was sharp and witty. They were followed by a panel on transportation, where I learned that Bob Poole seems to have finally triumphed in his plan to smash the state. Once governors saw Illinois get a check for $1.83 billion for the Chicago Skyway, little dollar signs appeared in their eyes and they began rooting around the attic for stuff to sell.
Joel Kotkin was the luncheon speaker, and I thought he rambled a bit. Then there was a panel on Kelo, which really didn't offer anything new, though it featured Chip Mellor, who is a hero. After that was a panel on "Who's winning the war on pleasure?" moderated by Jacob Sullum, who told me afterward that he thought their presentation needed more sex.
Rounding out the afternoon was a funny panel on Las Vegas including LV Review Journal columnist Vin Suprynowicz, some reminiscences from Matt Welch on his time in Prague during the early nineties, and John "Buttman" Stagliano on "extreme art."
We got up early on Sunday to see Burt Rutan, who was suitably crotchety. He's pissed because he's in his sixties now and feels that he wasted his younger years by not taking enough risks. He says he could have built and launched Spaceship One twenty years ago, and it kills him that he waited so long. We're geeks, so we got Mr. Rutan to stand still while his wife took our picture with him.
The highlight of the panel on "Rescuing Failed Urban Schools" was my friend Lisa Snell's chilling warning about Rob "Meathead" Reiner's evil plan to nationalize preschool. She truly rocks. Go look at her blog.
Sunday also had a talk by Tim Lynch, who runs some kind of neurobiology company. I think he misjudged his audience, because literally I could have given his talk -- it was that lightweight. Cosmo made me laugh when he passed me a snarky note: "I know of neurobiology..."
We had to skip out during the final panel, which was a shame because it was very interesting, and inspired me to keep writing this silly blog. Mike Snell actually reads it once and a while, so I have to keep it going, just for him.
Why can't you shit IN your litterbox, rather than just outside it, in the bathtub? Is your ass so big that you can't fit in the tray? And while we're at it, try covering up the shit with litter. That's what it's for. I'm sick of the noxious smells wafting through the apartment if I don't pick up your turds within nanoseconds of your morning BM.
I don't mean to compare you to your sister, but Bootyquake has no problem with neatly burying her crap piles with litter. Sure, she lacks modesty (she'll squeeze out a good one while I'm doing my makeup), but at least she knows the rules.
If the three of us are going to have to share a bathroom, I’m going to have to ask you to be a bit more courteous. Rule #1: The shit goes in the litter box. Rule #2: All waste products should be immediately buried with litter. Rule #3: Shake the litter off your feet before tracking it all over the bathroom. I can't tell you how many times I day I have to pick a piece of crystal cat litter off my foot or out of my shoe. It's gross! If CSI came to our house and looked for fecal matter, I'm sure Grissom would find it smeared over every surface.
We can do better than that.
For my part, I promise to clean the box out as often as possible, because I know you enjoy a clean slate to work with. I'll vacuum up the litter whenever I can. I'll also comb you more often, but only if you promise to sit still. I can't chase you all over the apartment with a comb while you purr and rub yourself on the bookshelves.
Dear Old Navy.com:
Are you insane?
How can you shut your whole fucking site down for a remodel? I was ready to drop a hundred bucks on some new pants, but I can't. Oldnavy.com is closed because you're "updating the site."
Have you ever used the Internet before? Here's a tip: you can update your site offline, while keeping your old one online! That way you can actually sell your clothes during the weeks it's taking you to upgrade! I hope some dipshit Web designer didn't tell you otherwise...
I just want you to know that I'm very very angry at you right now, and I'm going to need a little time to "get my head together" before I come back. Sure, those piles of cheap clothes I bought from you were great. We had some good times. But I don't know if I'll be able to forgive you for the disappointment I felt this morning when you weren't there for me. I'm so tired of only having two pairs of pants in my closet that fit me, and I was counting on you to make it all better. But you're closed. How can I ever trust you again?
Don't call or email me. If I decide to forgive you, you'll see my order, probably during a PMS-induced shopping spree. So, see you in about 28 days.