Archive for November, 2006

L’Esprit De l’Escalier*

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Wonkette is reporting that The Hill’s Congress Blog is reporting and the Washington Post is reporting that during a private post-election reception at the White House for the new batch of freshmen members of Congress a couple weeks ago things got a bit chilly quick between Presididn’t Duhbya and narrowly victorious Senator-Elect James Webb of Virginia.

According to the Post the exchange went like this:

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, refering to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

The Hill states that an unidentified source said that for as coldly as it ended, Webb got pretty hot under the collar:

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

I’m certainly glad and relieved that it didn’t come to blows, and frankly as pleased as I am about the election of Webb and every other Republican’t-replacing Dem and how it’s made BushCo. squirm, is it too much to ask for Webb just to know when to hold ’em for a cotton-pickin’ second? Going into a reception and spouting “bring-’em-home” at the first inopportunity strikes me as a weeee bit amateurish.

Webb would’ve been better served telling Duhbya that his son is making the best of a tough situation and leaving it at that. But in the presence of such a lack of decorum, after Georgie snapped back at his response what Webb should have said was, “Mr. Bush, you don’t care about my son or getting out of Iraq. So spare me.”

* The French phrase “L’esprit de l’escalier” literally translates to “the spirit of the staircase,” and can refer to the perfect spirited response you think up after a conversation or argument has ended.
This explanation was adapted from the excellent blog The Wit Of The Staircase.

M(atch.com)y Boys

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Came home from my regular evening bike loop-ride up the L.A. River and through Griffith Park with friends Steve and Alice and found a pot of my baby’s  scrumptious pasta and shrimp on the stove my baby comfortably ensconced on the sofa midway through an episode of “My Boys,” a new TBS sitcom on the tube.

After dishing up the delectables, I sat down next to her and watched the show. It didn’t take me long to grow to like the show’s lead, Jordana Spiro, who I was previously unaware of in part because she’s performed in stuff I don’t watch, like the roma-com (more like coma-com) “Must Love Dogs” and something called “The Huntress” on something called the USA Network.

But she really and immediately shines in this. She’s got great impulses and fine comic timing and a wonderful presence and thankfully she’s not drop-dead gorgeous… more like unorthodoxically cute. In other words: real and accessible. I wouldn’t be surprised if the role wasn’t written specifically for her.

As far as I could tell about said role from what I gleaned through the tail end of the episode, she’s a sports reporter and single and looking for Mr. Right and a tomboy with a cadre of guy friends who treat her like just one of them and play poker seemingly every night of the week in her spaciously bitchin’ and well-appointed apartment that there’s just no way she can afford on a sports writer’s salary. Oh yeah, and there’s the attractive girlfriend who dispenses romance advice.

The remainder of the episode pretty much centered around the attraction she had for the hunky new addtion to the sports-section stable and how it got off on the right foot before veering hard into Awkwardland. It ended and I figured Spiro and the snappy writing was something I might tune-in again, but nothing at this point worth a season pass on the TiVo.

Now, in the middle of pretty much each commercial break was an ad for Match.com featuring Dr. Phil telling a hapless single waitress gal that while her IQ was fine her “Guy-Q” wasn’t. This is important primarily because at one point the attractive girlfriend who is suddenly in post-breakup mode makes reference to surfing the single and specific seas of match.com. I involuntarily twinged at the blatant and shamelss example of character-endorsed product placement, and I hoped it was nothing more than a one-timer.

Nope.

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What’s With All This “Fall Finale” Stuff?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I don’t watch Fox’s “Prison Break,” but I do count myself as a fan of the NBC series “Heroes” and when Susan and I watched Monday’s episode last night it finished with a hard sell about their upcoming “Fall Finale” and reminded me of a recent promo for “Prison Break” that did the same thing with the same phrase.
Fall finale? Apparently that’s some sort of network euphamism for “We don’t have the next several episodes in the can… or maybe the several ones after that too.” But of course they can’t just say that. Instead they have to song and dance it as if it’s all just business as usual.

Well it’s bad business as usual.

At least when “Lost” went missing a couple weeks ago ABC didn’t try to lipstick the pig. They just enthusiastically pitched its audience with “When ‘Lost’ returns in 2009…” (actually it comes back in three months but it might as well be three years) and hoped any harumphing would die down. I’m sure they’re crossing their fingers and toes hard hoping said harumphers will come back — and frankly I’m not sure if I will. Harumph!

And so now “Heroes” is going bye-bye in a couple weeks for I don’t even know how many more weeks or some such nonsense, and again I’m not all that keen on sitting around like a good and loyal TV viewer during its sabbatical waiting for it to come back to me.

It’s one thing when a semi- and low-rated turkey like “Nine” gets yanked while the honchos figure out whether to kill it or reposition it in hopes the numbers will rise, but it’s another thing entirely when popular crap just up and vanishes.

It’s enough to make me yearn all the more for “24,” whose new season will bow in January and promises six straight beginning-to-end months of new episodes of Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer kicking ass. When you’re saving the world there’s just no time for any kind of seasonal interruption.

Coyote Convergence

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

It was only a couple days ago that my blog and biking bud Andrew over at his blog Liquid Premium posted a couple of amazing shots he got of a pair of city-based coyotes padding around West Hollywood in the wee hours like they owned it.

This morning in my inbox comes an email sent to a neghborhood grouplist relating a way-too-close-for-comfort encounter this past Saturday morning with a pair of coyotes. The sender wrote of feeling stalked by the duo, which reportedly followed her onto her property behaving very boldly (as coyotes are known to do).

If they’re the same duo that I flushed from our property and chased down the street well more than a year ago I wouldn’t be surprised. I chased them off again a few weeks later when they were in the backyard of a neighbors house, and as recently as a few weeks ago on an early morning walk with the dogs Susan and I saw one trot casually south along the sidewalk.

Anyway, the threatened neighbor did some research and found that urban coyotes are pretty much left to their own devices by the various city and state agencies and posted a few tips on how to minimize the opportunities for contact:

1. Remove unused pet food and water bowls at night.
2. Do not discard edible garbage where coyotes can get to it.
3. Keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans or store garbage inside a secure area. Do not store trash in trash bags.
4. Gardens should be harvested frequently and windfall fruit picked up.

And then asked for any other ideas, of which I took the opportunity to throw in mine (after the jump):

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It Was Pumpkin In The Library With The Club Chair

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

At 6:37 a.m.

pum.jpg

[click image to enlarge]

Illegal Forward Ass

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

My 2-8 Raiders fulfilled my wishes a few weeks ago in not going through this season without a win — something that despite my never-say-die love for them I was regretably certain had been a distinct possibility. Today they were matched up against the 8-2 AFC West Division-leading San Diego and I had hardly any hope that it would be anything but a lopsided win for the Chargers.

Much to my pleasant surprise, the Raiders, behind a stingy and tight defense, and a strangely fluid and rejuvenated offense made it a great game and led 14-7 going into the fourth quarter. Then, as always seems to happen: they was robbed!!

On a fourth down pass play deep in Raider territority the San Diego receiver caught the ball for a first down before falling to the ground. Then rising to his feet he purposefully spun the ball out of his hands in celebration at the reception. But incredibly, he had not been touched by and of the Raider defenders, which meant the play was still live and he had just unintentionally and idiotically fumbled the ball away. An alert Raider nearby fell on the pigskin and initially the officials ruled it an Oakland recovery.

Then the robbery commenced. The officials gathered and after some discussion ruled that the receiver hadn’t fumbled, but instead had committed an “illegal forward pass,” which is but a five-yard penalty. After some more conferring there was something figured out about whether the point of the infraction minus the five-yards would still give San Diego enough for a first down (if it didn’t the Raiders would recieve the ball over on downs), but even minus the fiver the Chargers still had enough for the first and then went on to score a touchdown and tie it up 14-14.

I recorded the replay off the TV with my digital cam in Quicktime and uploaded it here on YouTube if you want to share my pain or relive the indignity or both. I also tried to embed it here on this page of my site but I’m not sure if I was successful or not.

I walked away from the TV and was spared the frustration of seeing the Chargers capitalize on another bad call that awarded them a turnover and allowed them to score another touchdown. Of course they went on to win. Dammit.

UPDATE (12/01): I am just now in receipt of a notice from the fine folks at YouTube sent via email alerting me that the video clip has been removed because I infringed upon the NFL’s copyright, which is a terrorist act and thus I am to be deported to Guantanamo immediately.

Photo Synthesissy

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

I’ve had it up to my aperture with the Photo Synthesis feature by Colin Westerbeck that appears each week in the West magazine that’s inserted into my Sunday L.A. Times. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a full-page column anchored by a piece of shutterbuggery that’s representative of some current gallery exhibit in town.

My main beef? There’s two actually. First the photography is almost always decidedly unengaging — as if the selections are actually selected based on an ability to disinterest the reader. Second, said “art” is almost always decidedly dolled up with a hearty dollop of intellectual esoteric artus-fartus coolwhip dressing, which only serves to further disconnect me.

If there’s anything intriguing about this staple it’s the ironic translation loss from print to internet: the online version of a magazine feature on photo exhibitry doesn’t include the photo it features. You can find an incomplete stable of Westerbeck’s previous Photo Synthesis pieces online on the L.A. Times website… but they’re missing the photos he prattles on about. Such as this one from September. I remember that picture because of its lack of reference. In one side of the image some branches of an evergreen crawl into the frame; in the middle is this blank space of blue sky and across it was a hint of a mountainous ridgeline. Westerbeck somehow lauds it as an iconic image of the “big sky” west, but it could’ve been taken somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains and frankly comes across as little more than a disposable snapshot, something that could have been a result of the camera slipping from the photographer’s grasp at the moment he tried to make a different image altogether.

This week Westerbeck is up to his usual stuff, making something out of a nothing image (at right) by John Baldessari rather inefficiently and obviously titled “Face (with Red Nose): Plus Four Alternate Noses” that’s in the “Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images” exhibition designed by Baldessari and currently on display at the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Late preface time: Until this Magritte show got some press last week with a feature in the Times on Baldessari and how he’d envisioned the thing, I’d never heard of the dude and perhaps that speaks volumes to my ignorance of the art world, which I’m only too proud to admit. Indeed, I do not know much in the realm of art be it classic or contemporary, conceptual or expressionistic or abstract or any of the other of its myriad schools, disciplines or whatever the hell you want to call them. I just know what I like and what I don’t. And I rarely like anything Westerbeck gives me, and certainly I have a healthy disdain for the puffery he blows about it.

From Westerbeck this week:

Baldessari in the 1980s painted circles over faces in the news photographs or old movie stills in his work. The noses here are a variation on that idea, with different colors so the viewer can imagine the subject in different moods (red for dangerous, blue for hopeful, etc.).

He’s kidding, right? And I love the “etc.” As if it’s a given that his readers know what the remaining three colored noses represent. I guess green is for envious and yellow is for cowardice and orange is for… uh, scurvy? Got it. How’s this for a pallette: color it all bullshit. But it gets better. Westerbeck admits the thing’s a piece of crap, but that just makes it all the more relevant:

It’s all pretty crude, and intentionally so. The photo reproduction is grainy, the painting amateurish; even the moods are color-coded clichés.

Crude + Grainy + Amateurish + Cliché = BRILLIANT!

And just in case after all that I still had left even the slightest sliver of interest in going to see the LACMA exhibit, Westerbeck has to go and give me Baldessari’s own words about what art should be:

He likes pictures that are “dumb,” [Baldessari] says. Art should be “mute and stupid and not about parading… virtuosity.”

You go Baldy… and take Westerbeck’s praise of your dumb art with you.