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Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

The answer is sadly: not much. I think having a cat makes me more of a homebody. Danton seems to be so excited when we come home and so upset when we leave that we seem to be staying in a lot more. On the other hand, it’s really nice to get a proper weekend break from work. Work has been very exciting and very busy. I’m really enjoying programming full time.

Some random thoughts on recent news pieces.

10 Americans Arrested in Haiti for Child Abduction

This story fascinates me probably because I used to be a member of the Southern Baptist church and my dad still is. If you’ve been following the story, a group of Christians with no experience in child adoption, and most remarkably with no agency or legal mechanism to handle adoption — a process that is known to be fraught with difficulty, well, this group went to Haiti and tried to take 33 children out of the country with no papers.

I guess what fascinates me is how stupid this was. Did they really think that they could get away with it? I guess it shows what experience they had with the world at large.

If your religion encourages you to trust in God and not to worry about worldly complications like passports and adoption papers, then all of this seems to make sense.

It makes me think back to a great This American Life episode about a Baptist Minister who raised a baby who was switched at birth. Even though his wife alerted him to the switch, he said nothing until 20 years later. When he was talking to the biological mother of the girl he raised, he told her that this was a test that God gave them and to not question it. The woman who happened to be Methodist told him no. It may have been a test that God put you in that position to make the choice to do right or wrong, but it was not part of God’s plan that you said nothing.

Well anyway if you’re going to be religious for heaven’s sake have a little common sense. I suppose if you believe that thought then there isn’t really any point in having faith.

The “Retard” Debate

When I took a cross-cultural communications class years ago, we were advised to not say things that were known to be offensive people. Whether or not your intentions are good, you shouldn’t be saying something that another person will find hurtful. Basically, even if Quentin Tarantino doesn’t mean the n-word in a bad way, and even if he is surrounded by black people who don’t seem to mind, he should still know that to a lot of people the n-word means terrible things and he therefore shouldn’t say it.

So about the word retarded. Upon reflection, whenever I use that word I’m never actually referring to people who have a disability. Does that mean I should be able to continue to say it since I’m really referring to people I think are dumb and not to people who have a problem? According to my class, no.

Furries

Saw the below picture on Fail Blog.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

I thought it was funny without even knowing what a furry was, but some co-workers tipped me off. Read about the fascinating cultural phenomenom that is furries. I noticed a Superbowl advert with furries by the way.

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Nine to Five

This is a really fabulous trailer. Piques your interest but doesn’t give too much away.

Happily, my job is nothing like this and I have been super busy of late hence the spotty posts. I’m doing a lot of web programming and learning javascript. All my web programming in the past has involved posting back to the server to get to the code, so this is new to me.

While times have definitely improved for women workers since Nine to Five came out, I’m always bemused by the fact that administrative assistants don’t work 9 to 5 anymore. They don’t get paid for their lunch hour, so they work 8 to 5. So I supposes admins can in some way look back to the fond days where they got an extra hour’s sleep.

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My review of Avatar

Don’t see it. Sorry, I hated it and I probably should have never gone. It’s extremely depressing in a colonial sort of way, and the feel-good ending doesn’t really change that. I would include details but I don’t want to depress anyone who liked the film. If you care to comment though, I will respond.

Now on to what I really liked. Michelle Rodriquez kicked ass. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a stupid part. All she does is look sexy, deliver cheesy Cameron one-liners, and do the action star thing, but she does it so well. In fact, she does it like a man. She is every bit of the action start that Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenagger, and Bruce Willis are. I’d love to see her in a James Bond style movie where she toys with men. I think with Rodriquez we actually would enjoy that very similar to Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. Or maybe a Rambo0-type movie. One thing about the eighties action stars is that they talked very little. You didn’t see too many heart-wrenching scenes. There wasn’t a lot going on upstairs and it didn’t matter. They did their thing. I think someone needs to give Michelle Rodriquez the chance to do it.

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I have only now finished season 3 of Mad Men. I don’t have cable and a friend gave me his recordings a couple of weeks ago. I was very intrigued by the episode where Pete is left alone for a week by his wife who is vacationing with her family. Spoilers after the jump.

(more…)

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Quote for the day

I’m often interrogated about being vegetarian (e.g., “What if you find out that carrots feel pain, too? Then what’ll you eat?”).

I’ve also been afraid to feel as if I know better than someone else — a historically dangerous stance (I’m often reminded that “Hitler was a vegetarian, too, you know”). But this book reminded me that some things are just wrong.

Natalie Portman’s column on the HuffingtonPost.

It’s a guilty pleasure reading the celebrity columns on HuffingtonPost. I usually don’t find fault with the ideas just the execution. Some of them are so unbelievably badly written. Not a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis or Alec Baldwin, but I like Steven Weber. Sometimes the celebrity you least think of as a good writer surprises you, as was the case with this column by Rob Thomas.

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What movie stars Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Regis Philbin and George Raft? There’s no movie that could possibly have all those people in it? Well, yes there is. I’ll be posting videos this week until they run out.

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The Implied Observer apologizes for being offline for so many days. I was moving this weekend and then unpacking. Just about the only thing I managed to do that was fun was see the new Star Trek movie. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then please do not read on. There will be spoilers a plenty.

Overall the movie was a fun two hours plus. I should add the disclaimer that I am not a huge fan of the original series, though I do like The Next Generation. So I should be in no way beholden to the original series like my friend Tom. And yet…..

Spock is not supposed to have emotions, and presumably the fact that he does not makes him a fun character. That’s why everyone loves Spock. And that’s why everyone loved Data in the TNG. So why would you take that one great part of the character and compromise it? Spock has a girlfriend? The girlfriend is Uhura? Again, not beholden to the original but this seems pretty out there and I don’t think it added anything to the film.

There was an utter lack of science fiction in this film. This is an adventure film pure and simple. All of our current technologies are replaced with newer technologies, but somehow those newer technologies don’t seem to change any aspect of human nature or cause people to reflect differently on how things are done. This is futuristic but it is not science fiction.

I think Leonard Nimoy was completely wasted and it was kind of embarrassing to watch.
One thing that was fun was that they appeared to make a conscious effort to cast actors that looked like the original actors. I especially enjoyed the guys they got to play Dr. MacCoy, Chekhov and Scottie. Sadly Sulu was the weakest link. Whether that be because they gave the actor nothing to work with or all his stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, I won’t try to guess. As for Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike? Fun, but minimal.

So have you seen the new Star Trek? Any thoughts?

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Yesterday I was talking to my friend Tom about the new Star Trek movie. Tom won’t be watching the movie because as he put it, the whole dynamic of the original series has been thrown out the window with story revision. Spock and Kirk did not know each other before working together on the Enterprise. To have them be colleagues in the academy completely changes their entire relationship. Tom went on in incredible detail about all the changes to the story and how the new film is really creating an alternate universe of the series.

Tom, this video is for you.

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And apparently it’s true that they are reuniting.

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Star Trek Fragrances

Hoping to profit from the May 8 release of J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek film, chronicling the beginnings of Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise, Maryland-based Genki Wear will release three Star Trek-themed scents on April 24.

John McGonigle, president of Genki, said the two men’s colognes and one women’s perfume will retail for about $30.

Soon, Trekkies will be able to channel their inner Starfleet commander — or inner William Shatner — with “Tiberius,” based on Kirk’s character. The scent which carries the tag line “Boldly Go,” is described by Genki Wear as having a “warm vanilla, white musk and sandalwood” base.

And then there’s this:

But some Trekkies still have doubts.

“I predict incredibly stinky Trek conventions in the near future,” one online comment said.

Others simply made fun of the idea: “No Worf scent? You know, peaty, with a hint of lilac.”

Can I just say as an aside, I’m looking forward to seeing Bruce Greenwood in the new film.

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Looks like M.I.A. did not win a grammy and she’s not even nominated for an Oscar. Pity.

Update: According to Wikipedia she did collaborate on Oh Saya which is nominated for an Academy Award.

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For whatever reason I was thinking about the making of the birthday cake in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

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Is it bad to enjoy this?

Fraudulent investor Bernie Madoff may have made his worst enemy of all when he stiffed screen legend Zsa Zsa Gabor in his $50 billion ‘Ponzi’ scam.

The National Enquirer is reporting in its new issue that the 91 year-old Gabor and her husband, 65 year-old Prince Frederic Von Anhalt, have lost a fortune.

“We’re mad as hell and we want our money back!” said Prince Frederic. “We might be forced to sell our Bel-Air home, cars, artwork and even our jewelry because of this sick man.”

He added:

“This scam artist should be dragged through the streets and flogged!”

Zsa Zsa is said to be understandably heartbroken over the loss, which amounts to roughly $4.5 million.

“I feel really bad, because Zsa Zsa shouldn’t have to worry about the financial mess I’ve gotten us into,” says Frederic. “We are taking legal action to recoup some of the money.

“I’m going to have to make back that money somehow or we’re going to face financial ruin.”

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Given this clever video, I don’t think Benjamin Button has a chance of winning the Best Picture oscar.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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I get a lot of hits for Neil Patrick Harris. Maybe it’s because he’s got excellent comic timing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Neil Patrick Harris Old Spice Commercial“, posted with vodpod

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I don’t think I’ve ever watched the movie through from start to finish, but Stephen Metcalf makes me think that I should. Is Risky Business a hidden gem? I resisted the urge to post the underwear scene.

UpdateDan Savage apparently had the same feeling. Perhaps this means it’s time for a Criterion Collection reissue?

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Previously I posted about attending the Dina Martina Christmas Show. One of the shticks of Dina Martina is mispronounce words on purpose. Gifts are “jifts” for instance. Dina admits that giving “jifts” is so much more fun than giving “gifts.”

Here also is a quote from an interview in today’s Seattle Times where she gets the expression wrong — another tendency of hers.

However, there’s a certain je ne sais pas about your moist region that is undeniable.

I was immediately intrigued by this strange phenomenon as it reminds me very much of my father’s inclination to mispronounce things. What’s more, it’s a phenomenon that I don’t think anyone has every openly discussed before despite being widespread. Why do people do this?

As children, we used  to shop at Mervyn’s but my dad would always say “Merlins” instead. We also used to eat ice cream at “Phipp’s” though to my dad it was always “Pipp’s.” I know he did this on purpose because as children we would harp on and on about how  the words were really supposed to be said. And it didn’t stop there. In the last few years, he’s gotten into the practice of pronouncing the L in salmon.

I think at some level my father knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s like he wants to irk other people in an extremely innocuous but nonetheless annoying way. My dad is from Texas and George W. Bush is from Texas. We all know that George W. Bush looooves mispronouncing nuclear as “nuculor,” and his father before him loved to mispronounce Sadaam Hussein though that was probably for other reasons.

Does anyone have some examples to share?

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I went to see the new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace this weekend. Did you know that there is now such thing as an AM matinee. I’m not sure if it’s everywhere, but we paid $6 a piece to see the show at 10:30 in the morning. The drawbacks are: who can eat popcorn at 10:30 in the morning? But I digress.

Quantum of Solace was a surprisingly fun popcorn movie (sans the popcorn.) I’ll admit I never saw any of the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies, but somehow I think I can safely say that I prefer this new franchise. I remember reading an article about the Pierce Brosnan movies where they described how difficult it was to update Bond. To make him less of an asshole when it comes to women, and to make women less bunny-like.

What is great about the Daniel Craig movies is that from the onset Bond is an asshole. He’s a thug. He doesn’t blink at using people to accomplish his goals. He doesn’t care if those he uses are innocent or if they are also women. If he does, we don’t really see it.

This James Bond is post-modern. The more cartoonish aspects of the character are suggested but never spoken. Take for instance the famous martini. Bond is drinking what appears to be a martini, the bartender describes the ingrediants of a martini, but the word martini is never uttered. How about those ridiculous vixen names? Bond asks a woman what her name is. Miss Fields, she answers. Fields, just Fields, he says. Just Fields, she answers. How’s that for post-modernism.

And of course there are the explosions and the car chases and the swanky environments on top of it. Mathieu Amalric is wonderful as the villain, though I’m still missing the great Mads Mikkelsen from Casino Royale. Mads does appear to have a credit for Quantum of Solace for the same character from Casino Royale. Somehow I missed that cameo. Too bad. I can’t get enough of Mads Mikkelsen.

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Mad Men has entered the popular consciousness.

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This weekend I was reminded how much I preferred Depeche Mode before they got all serious.

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…it will be the media’s fault.

I’m sensing something like how the media was at fault for the end of Paul McCartney’s marriage to Heather Mills, and how it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mills was bat shit crazy.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his second wife, Heather Mills McCartney, said Wednesday that they are separating after nearly four years of marriage, blaming intrusion from the media and insisting their split is amicable.

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For those of you watching Project Runway, here’s an article about last season’s winner Christian Siriano’s debut collection. I’m glad to hear he’s doing more than maternity wear. Here’s a link to view the photographs of the collection.

Interesting quote from the article:

“I just think there are so many reality shows that people become famous but they’re not really famous for anything,” Siriano said in a phone interview Monday while casting models. “At least people on ‘Project Runway’ are talented.”

Well….some of them anyway.

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This is the age we live in. Disabled people being attacked by assholes.

The audience at the Toronto Film Festival press screening of “Slumdog Millionaire” didn’t know they were also going to get live entertainment Saturday.

There’d been lots of Oscar buzz about Danny (“Trainspotting”) Boyle’s flick, about a poor Mumbai guy who wins a girl and becomes a national hero by going on a game show. So the screening room was packed.

Soon after the lights went down, a source tells us, “a man in the audience started yelling, ‘Don’t touch me!’ People looked around and shrugged. Ten minutes later, the voice yells again, ‘I said don’t touch me!'”

Again, people shrugged off the disturbance. But a few minutes later, says our source, “the guy stands up in the darkness and thwacks the guy behind him with a big festival binder. He hit him so hard everybody could hear it. Everyone freaked out and turned around.”

The thwacker? New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick.

The thwackee? Esteemed Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert.

After battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer for years, Ebert, 66, can no longer speak.

Via Slog.

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So let me first get this out of the way: I apologize for referencing Britney Spears in this post. Now that that is done…

Lynne Spears has just written a tell-book that reveals that Britney Spears lost her virginity at age 13 to some high school football player. Why do I care? Because from 1997 when Britney Spears first became popular until 2003 when Justin Timberlake revealed she was not a virgin, Spears and her handlers were perpetrating the myth that she believed in waiting to have sex before marriage. Many people ate that narrative up though Christian conservatives still had a problem with her videos, magazine covers and the like. Lynne Spears says:

She admits she allowed her then 16-year-old daughter to sleep with Timberlake, her Mickey Mouse Club co-star, and went along with the hoax that Britney was a virgin.

Timberlake had shattered the fair-maiden myth in 2003, blabbing to reporters, “She lost her virginity a while ago – and I should know.” He also told Barbara Walters that he gave Britney her first kiss.

Lynne Spears reveals Timberlake was misled and that Britney lost her virginity to a Kentwood, La., high school football player.

Again, why am talking about Britney Spears. I guess to point out how narratives created by marketing experts really don’t tell you anything about a person. Those Christian conservatives who objected to Spears actions rather than her words were actually more right than the ones who held Britney Spears up as a values conservative.

John McCain’s war service creates a powerful narrative as does Sarah Palin’s narrative as a hockey mom. And let’s be honest, Barack Obama perhaps has the most powerful and current narrative of them all. He is the symbol of the American narrative as a melting pot. Bush’s narrative of the cowboy who clears brush has now been shattered since he is now moving out of Crawford, Texas. So with all this marketing directed at us, how should we vote?

Look to actions. Look at the issues that matter to you and how the candidates voted on those issues. Look at what is true and not what you want to be true. I nearly voted for Bob Dole in 1996 because of his narrative when a friend asked me a series of questions about what I believed in. It turned out Bob and I agreed on nothing. I voted for Clinton. Perhaps for you it will mean voting for McCain in 2008. Perhaps not. I just point out that narratives are misleading.

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Here is the second part of the “Rediscovering the old series” where I highlight items and notions of that past that have received new vitality in the current day. While we appear to be modernizing as a species and value those things that are new, we inevitably find that the things of the past still have value and may in fact be better than the “latest and greatest.” Today:

Shoe Salesmen

As salesmen go, the shoe salesman provides a valuable service that customers can appreciate every day of their lives. What is more discomforting than wearing an ill-fitted pair of shoes? Here are some of the extraordinary services shoe salesmen provide.

  1. They measure your feet. Imagine wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fit, because you don’t know what size your feet are. With shoe salesmen, shoes too small are a thing of the past.
  2. They bring boxes of shoes to you. Have you ever been at a shoe store and stared at the countless stacks of boxes and wondered: where is my size? Have you searched through those boxes only to find the wrong shoe in the wrong box? Have you had to decipher styles and colors by looking at bar codes? With a shoe salesman that is all unnecessary.
  3. They have these amazing inventions called shoe horns. With this exceptional piece of technology right at their fingertips shoe salesman can ease your feet into the shoe without harming you or the shoe itself.

Without a shoe salesman to guide you along the way, you may spend agonizing days “fitting” into your shoes. Imagine the piece of mind that comes with a well thought out purchase.

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