Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Crash is "like Triumph of the Will for Unitarians."

Oscar thoughts tomorrow. But this first: Brokeback will a bunch of Oscars, obviously. It may go on to do Million-Dollar Baby or American Beauty numbers afterwards.

But this will be the lowest-rated Oscar telecast in 10, maybe 15, years.

Hating Kirsten

Blog Crush, on the Enquirer story about Kirsten Dunst being mistaken for a stripper:
Let's be clear, this story never ever ever happened. No one ever confused this anemic sabertooth zombie for a stripper at one of the biggest strip clubs in LA. Chernobyl, maybe, not LA. Maybe if you did a bunch of X in the desert and didn't sleep for a week, you might think she was a dragon, but sure as hell not a stripper. This is the kind of thing publicists make up and plant in the tabloids, because, in the end, it's really kind of a compliment. Kind of like how being burned in effigy is a compliment. It may seem insulting in first, but it's still nice that people were thinking about you.

The Price of Civil Disobedience

A nice fellow by the name of Charles Merrill is sending around a press release touting his gay rights civil disobedience action. Here's the text of the email:
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C., Jan. 30, 2006 -- Charles Merrill, a 71-year-old artist, and his partner Kevin Boyle, have announced they will not pay Federal or North Carolina Income Tax on over two million dollars worth of stock sales and income for 2004, because of unfair discrimination in the Federal and State Income Tax Codes.

Merrill said, "I have no intention of paying Federal and State Income taxes because my same sex partner and I cannot be legally married and receive the same tax benefits as other married couples.

"By not paying taxes, this is a deliberate act of civil disobedience towards a President that wants to make an amendment to the Constitution to only allow marriage between a man and woman, rather than two people who love each other, and that discriminate against us as full citizens of the United States."

Charles Merrill and Kevin Boyle are founders of a group called Citizens Against Discrimination. In 1996 the organized and protested an anti-gay resolution in Rutherford County, NC, which caught the attention of national media.

I've never been much of a protestor, so I really don't know from civil disobedience. But from my Quaker social studies classes, I had kind of gotten the impression that when you're protesting by civil disobedience, you're supposed to do something which costs you something; not something which makes you richer. And failing to pay taxes on $2 million of stock sales has got to add up to an extra--oh, I don't know, let's say $400,000, maybe more?--for Mssrs. Merrill and Boyle.

Maybe Ken Lay and Martha Stewart were just misunderstood protestors, too.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Latest Bullpen Report—the scatalogically inclined quarterly parody of a financial business newsletter—has been issued. I especially recommend the new year predictions article. here

"Don't believe everything you see on VH1."

The amusing, disarming, and multitalented Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police, the English band also known as the only time Sting didn't suck. WashPo WashPO He's doing publicity for his Police documentary, Everyone Stares.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Besides the Hamas victory, the other two major stories of the week are NBC's cancelling The West Wing and ABC's killing Emily's Reasons Why Not after just one episode. What gives? Only Lisa de Moraes can explain. First, as for The West Wing, it seems the producers thought the transition from one presidency to the next provided a "really wonderful way to end the series." And apparently we are in for a surprise, after producers had "quite a brawl" over who should win the next election. Do we really think they would allow a Republican to win?

With regard to Emily's Reasons Why Not, ABC's Steve McPherson explained the show didn't get to "where it needed to be." (Has he even seen Boogie Nights?) Even better is de Moraes's vicious analysis of ABC News's anchor team of Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff:

Even on the promo clip shown to critics of various scenes of each out in the field, Woodruff looked like he'd just stepped off the cover of GQ, while Vargas looked like she'd gone out to walk her dog and found herself in Iraq.

Up on the stage, Vargas prattled on merrily about how having anchors out in the field changes the way they cover a story. "I mean, when I was in Iraq for that week, I did sometimes three reports for each broadcast, and those reports were two, three, four minutes long. We covered the story of the elections in Iraq that week far differently having an anchor on the ground than we would have having a correspondent there," she said, oblivious to how bad that sounded.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not Amusing

While I seem to be the only one surprised by Mayor Williams's gruff behavior, count me among the unsurprised when it comes to today's item from Page Six:

PAPARAZZI, beware: Don't take Joe Pesci's picture without his permission--it might get you a fat lip. That's what college student Juan Carlos Montenegro, 24, claims happened to him when he snapped the 62-year-old star of "Goodfellas" and "Casino" in a shopping center parking lot in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sunday. Montenegro told local cops Pesci popped him in the upper lip and said, "You shouldn't have been interrupting my business." Montenegro said in a police report that he repeatedly told Pesci he was a big fan and asked if he could take his picture. But the Oscar winner growled, "Not now," and kept walking to his car. After he took the shots anyway, a "furious" Pesci let him have it, according to the report. A spokesman for Pesci declined to comment yesterday

I know this behavior is inexcusable but just a few thoughts: One, Pesci did tell him not to take the picture and he did. Two, Montenegro should count himself lucky. He could have found himself stomped on, pistol-whipped, smashed with a car door, stabbed with a pen, shot in the foot, stabbed with a butcher knife, his eye popped out by means of a vice, or with an ice pick jabbed into his brain.
I was recently disturbed to hear our city's beloved mayor is personally a real jerk. I spoke to a friend last night who told me of her encounter with him last week at the Foggy Bottom 7-Eleven. No one else was around except for her, Hizzoner, and the cashier. She said, "Good evening, Mr. Mayor," to which he said nothing back. She then tried a little small talk at the counter while he was getting rung up. At which point Mayor Anthony Williams turned to her and said, "I'm not here for the conversation" and left. There are some things politicians can lack, such as sincerity and honesty, but friendliness toward constituents isn't usually one of them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let My Love Open the Door...

For some reason, various Galley friends and readers have been sending me a link to Tyler Durden's recent post about Jennifer Love Hewitt contemplating a spread in Playboy. Why on earth would this interest me, a married man? (This post is fraught with peril.)

I have always thought Jennifer Love Hewitt was enormously talented. She's been endowed with qualities other actresses can only envy. But it seems she wants to be taken more seriously--as if we don't take her seriously on CBS--and thinks posing for Playboy will do the trick.

Honestly, I don't know if it would lead her to better roles and more respect, which she certainly deserves. But it might work. And so I support her in this noble quest in the hopes it will boost her career.

In fact, I'm praying for it. Her success, I mean.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Now that I have your attention...

What is it with invertebrates these days? (Yes, I know you've been wondering.) First there was the footage of the giant squid. And now there's this from the Seattle Aquarium. It seems an octopus is responsible for the deaths of the aquarium's resident sharks. Who would've guessed? (The octopus's pure white eyes should have been an indication.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Prior to yesterday's Georgetown-Duke game, the Post's Camille Powell laid out some ominous statistics: "But for all the excitement surrounding the program, the Hoyas haven't been ranked since early January 2002. They haven't played in the NCAA tournament since 2001. They haven't defeated a No. 1 team since Feb. 27, 1985.... Georgetown is still looking for that defining on-court moment of its second Thompson era."

After yesterday, they need not look any further as the unranked Hoyas defeated the Duke Blue Devils 87-84. Aside from the free throws, there really wasn't much more Georgetown could have improved upon. "It wasn't their offense as much as the unity of their offense," thought Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who also said his team ended up watching J.J. Redick more than playing alongside him. "We might as well get tickets and sit behind the bench. No one is doing anything out there."

Redick scored 41 points while the rest of his teammates combined for 43. Ride-Me-Big-Shelden Williams managed just four.

The Hoyas are still a long way from the Big Dance. They still have a schedule that includes Pitt, West Virginia, and Villanova. But in terms of that "defining on-court moment" and the quest to build confidence, Georgetown may have reached a turning point--defeating a number one team (my guess is UConn takes the top spot come Monday), ending Duke's 17-0 start, and outplaying six McDonald's All-Americans.

I wonder where's Craig Esherick?

A few other notes: A number of commentators loved pointing out the deep "Princeton-style" backdoor cuts used by Georgetown coach John Thompson III. It is true he employed them in yesterday's game but his offense is far from being a purely Princeton offense.

At the end of the game as students and fans rushed the court, Big John Thompson came over to give his son a hug. Big John later told Tony Kornheiser, "That's my child. Forget the coaching stuff; that's my child." Sure, as if he isn't still pulling the strings like Emperor Palpatine.

Dikembe Mutombo, upon learning of Georgetown's win, told Post columnist Mike Wise "This is good, exciting news for me. I can't wait to call Big John." But first, who will be sexing Mutombo tonight?

Friday, January 20, 2006

John Podhoretz originally linked to this on the Corner. I'm betting this was a number one video on MTV Europe. Or at the very least Germany.

WARNING: Due to the concern of some readers, it should be noted that the above link is not for the faint of heart. Children under 17 not permitted. If you are pregnant or psychologically frail, suffer from motion sickness, or use a pacemaker, this link is not for you. Trust me. You're better off watching Hostel.

For Future Use

From Dean Barnett:
File under the “whoops” department. Just Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court authorized the state’s Department of Social Services to “pull the plug” on an 11 year old girl. The girl was in DSS’s care (and some care it was!) because her foster parents had beaten her into a vegetative state. Shortly after the SJC issued its ruling, the girl’s condition dramatically improved as if on some level she was warding off the ghouls from DSS and the SJC who were anxious to end her life. Now, according to DSS, she may even be a “miracle child.” Please, draw your own Terri Schiavo parallels – I’m not getting that conversation started again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Small Screen Big Picture

Get Edward Jay Epstein on line one. Here's Lisa de Moraes reporting on Garth Ancier's evaluation of his network's economic model:
Even though the WB in its best year makes a couple million dollars and in its worst year loses a couple million, that's not how the network is judged, Ancier insisted. The bigger moneymaker for parent Time Warner is Warner Bros. Television -- the most prolific producer of small-screen programming in the business, selling to all the TV networks. The value of the WB network is that it puts half of that production on the air, thereby opening up the possibility that all those shows may become eligible for syndication, overseas sales and other back-end deals, where the big bucks can be found. "Frankly, what would be the point of owning this network," which is a break-even proposition, Ancier said, "if you weren't going to have 'Smallville,' which is worth hundreds of millions in back-end value?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hostel Reactions

Maybe it was the trailer, or Ain't It Cool News calling it "the scariest American movie in a decade," or the Post's "Family Filmgoer" column warning that the movie contains "Grossly violent scenes that show or imply the hacking off or slashing of body parts; evisceration of corpses; arms, legs shoved into furnace; gun violence; explicit sexual situations; nudity; profanity; drugs; drinking, smoking" (yes, smoking!). Either way, I knew I just had to see Hostel. How bad could it be?

Now I've seen my share of horror flicks and read through a couple issues of Fangoria. I remember as a kid being horrified by the "accidents" occurring in The Omen II (the boy trapped beneath the ice, the woman who got her eye gouged out by a crow and then ran smack into a truck). Thanks to cable, I am now totally desensitized. But still, I wondered, could this new movie, which has now grossed more than $36 million in two weeks, get the better of me?

The answer is, alas, sort of. Here is what I learned: Beware of Eastern Europe. And be especially careful when traveling to Slovakia, a terrible and evil kingdom of darkness. For in the countryside there is a hostel where beautiful women lure you with sex, drugs, and drinks (and smoking!), and suddenly you wake up not in the loving arms of Natasha but hooded and handcuffed to a bolted-down chair in a dank cellar. And some man has paid good money to torture you in the worst possible ways.

You're led to believe one of the backpackers is the main character and so, when he finds himself strapped down, you keep telling yourself it'll be okay, he'll live. He doesn't.

Are there scenes I would consider unnerving? Yes. (Squeamish readers, please skip to the next paragraph.) One poor guy has his shoulders and knees bored into with a power drill. His Achilles' tendons are then sliced by a scalpel. That, for my matinee money, was the most disturbing scene. And then there is the woman whose eyeball dangles out and gets it snipped, resulting in a seepage of vitreous fluid. After a while, however, it just looked like she had a Personal Pan Pizza on half her face. Now that, I told Galley friend Mike Woody, was crossing the line! (For some reason, both our wives think we're deranged for seeing this film.)

"There's not much of a plot, is there?" asked Mike. I told him I disagreed. The plot is How to Escape Hostel and Never Return to Eastern Europe.

My wife has lovely memories of Slovakia and is upset the movie takes place there. She spent a year in a sleepy town just north of Bratislava. In fact, it very much resembles the one featured in Hostel. She taught English at the local university.

Or at least that's what she tells me...
On Saturday my sports world was shattered. First I sat through the Georgetown/UConn game hoping we'd finally get noticed. Instead we lose to the number 3 Huskies, 74-67 at the Hartford Civic Center. Yes, UConn is that good. No, I doubt anyone ever makes fun of Rudy Gay's last name. To his face. It's a tough sched for the Hoyas, meanwhile, who got "Pittsnoggled" by West Virginia last week and face number 1 Duke this Saturday. Let's hope that RPI improves.

Later that Saturday afternoon, the Washington Redskins finally ended their remarkable season, losing to the unremarkable Seattle Seahawks. It was a great run for the Hogs and it would have been even better had the team not been plagued by late-season injuries, including to a rather sluggish Mark Brunell. (But will Gibbs go with a 37-year-old QB next year?) And will we have Patrick Ramsey to fall back on (unlikely)? Perhaps Jason Campbell will be ready to step up? And what of the ongoing drama series known as LaVar? A great many questions to be answered in the offseason.

Having slumped into this sports depression, I thought of no better time to see a horror flick called Hostel. How bad could it be?

Because it is nearing dinner, I'll save my review until later.

The Last Word

If you've been wondering Where In The World Is Jonathan V. Last, I recommend you read the Philadelphia Inquirer once a week, where, in the Currents section, you will find his excellent columns (this first one is on the sham of "urban renewal" in Camden, his beloved birthplace). Editorial page editor Chris Satullo even gives him a warm welcome. Mr. Last remains the online editor of The Weekly Standard and so, thankfully--and invoking the spirit of Gene Shalit--we won't be seeing the Last of him.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Is it just me or does Bush have the hots for die Kanzlerin? Not that he's to blame. I, too, saw Angela Merkel this afternoon at the rededication of the German Marshall Fund's offices in DC. She stood some eight feet away from me and, in all honesty, seemed downright charming. And picture to my left notwithstanding, Frau Merkel has a winning smile and eyes that almost twinkle. And her English, spoken with that accent, reminded me of something out of Cabaret. Yes, I am in love.

But one issue that seemed to be shunted aside was a recent story in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which reported that in April 2003, German intelligence agents were actually on the ground in Iraq despite former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's protestations against the war. These agents apparently called in coordinates for the U.S. bombardment of sites believed to shelter Saddam Hussein. Remember all those times we thought we knocked him out but didn't? It seems these agents of the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) were involved.

This, of course, has some Germans up in arms and demanding an investigation. Part of their outrage stems from having been an unwitting part of the war effort, the other part comes from the fact that these tip-offs led to civilian deaths. But as one former member of the U.S. intel community tells me, the BND agents were worthless and may even have "doubled." (I'm doubtful that last part will ever be proven.)

Nevertheless I asked a German newspaper correspondent if he was proud to be part of this Coalition of the Secretly Willing. He replied, "I would've but we missed."
In January 2007, the European Union will roll out its first two integrated battlegroups in Brussels. One of the groups will supposedly be comprised of Germans, Dutch, and Finns. The other will be French and Belgian. E.U. officials still aren't quite sure how to use these forces (humanitarian efforts in Africa are likely) but no doubt both sides will participate in wargames.

Is there really any argument over which side would win? (Don't forget how well the Finns fought against the Red Army.)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Last night, apparently, the People's Choice Awards were aired on CBS. I used to think the PCA was a reliable gauge of American popular tastes--I have a photo on my bulletin board of presenter Drew Barrymore hugging PCA winner Mr. T in 1984. (There was no man more deserving than he!) But frankly, I'm not sure what to make of some of yesterday's winners:

Favorite Female Movie Star: Sandra Bullock (Was she even in a movie last year?)

Favorite Movie: Star Wars: Episode III, which beat out Hitch and Batman Begins.

Favorite Movie Drama: Star Wars: Episode III, which beat out Coach Carter and Batman Begins.

Favorite Male Action Star: Matthew McConaughey, who was also recently named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

Favorite Song From a Movie: "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson from The Dukes of Hazzard (I'm sure the video was great.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

With Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel set to arrive in Washington tomorrow, the city is already teeming with Germans. I met with a few this evening and, joking aside, a situation has developed that is looking ever more grim. The one thing on everyone's minds is Iran. Now that the country has gone ahead with its nuclear program despite the warnings of the so-called EU-3, what happens next? And not only what happens next, but what do they make of a story in the London Guardian detailing Iran's attempts to assemble a medium-range ballistic missile?

As one high-ranking German minister said, the missile would have a range of some 2,000 kilometers, capable of striking Munich. Another member of the new government said what would happen next is the EU-3 declaring their talks to have failed. Then a referral to the IAEA and on to the U.N. Security Council. And then?

This official said he is fully aware that "tough talk" would only go so far. So the next step would be sanctions, which Russia and China would probably be against. But on the off-chance they are persuaded and sanctions are applied, the oil market would be turned on its head and countries (especially in Europe) would be hit hard.
As for a military option, said the official, airstrikes are possible but we do not know where all the facilities are located. Iran would move its operations underground. An American noted that tens of thousands of Shiites would cross the border into Iraq and create further unrest. (Many were said to have crossed over to vote in the recent elections.)

As one American analyst said, "We're running out of time."

“Nobody wants to fuck the legend.”

We're only a couple weeks into 2006, but I'll be surprised if I read a better essay this year than this beautiful, funny, sad, Mark Steyn entry on Sid Luft.

This is a perfect piece of writing. Don't miss it.

This committee owes an apology!

With all the complaints about the Alito hearings lacking in excitement, it's easy to see how so many people missed this outrageous exchange in the middle of yesterday's session:

Senator Specter: How would you weigh that consideration on the woman's right to choose?

Judge Alito: Well, I think the doctrine of stare decisis is a very important doctrine. It's a fundamental part of our legal system. And it's the principle that courts in general should follow their past precedents. And it's important for a variety of reasons. It's important because it limits the power of the judiciary. It's important because it protects reliance interests. And it's important because it reflects the view that courts should respect the judgments and the wisdom that are embodied in prior judicial decisions.

Senator Kennedy: A witness has testified that you are personally responsible for the murder of a New York City police captain in 1947 and with him a man named Virgil Sollozzo. You deny this?

Judge Alito: Yes, I do.

Senator Leahy: Is it true that in the year 1950, you devised the murder of the heads of the so-called "five families" in New York to assume and consolidate your nefarious power?

Judge Alito: That's a complete falsehood.

Senator Kennedy: Is it true that you have a controlling interest in three of the major hotels in Las Vegas?

Judge Alito: No, it is not true. I own some stock in some of the hotels there, but very little. I also have stock in IBM and IT&T.

Senator Biden: Mr. Corleone, do you have any interests or control over gambling and narcotics in the state of New York?

Judge Alito: No I do not. And my name is Samuel Alito.

Senator Grassley: Mr. Chairman, I would like to verify the witness's statement. For years now a growing number of my constituents have been of Italian decent, and I've come to know them well. They have honored me with their support and with their friendship. Indeed, I can proudly say that some of my very best friends are Italian-Americans. However, Mr. Chairman, at this time, very unfortunately, I have to leave these proceedings in order to preside over a very important committee, my own committee. But before I leave I do want to say this: that these hearings are in no way whatsoever a slur upon the great Italian people. Because I can state from my own knowledge and experience that Italian-Americans are among the most loyal, most law-abiding, patriotic, hard-working American citizens in this land. And it would be a shame, Mr. Chairman, if we allowed a few rotten apples to give a bad name to the whole barrel. Because from the time of the great Christopher Columbus up through the time of Enrico Fermi right up until the present day, Italian-Americans have been pioneers in building and defending our great nation. They are the salt of the earth, and they're one of the backbones of this country.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Greatest Terrorist in the World?

That would be President George W. Bush, according to calypso singer Harry Belafonte. On a recent trip to Venezuela where he enjoyed the company of dictator Hugo Chavez, Belafonte had this to say: "No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution." (I'd hate to be his agent right now.) I know, it's not surprising. But it's nevertheless disappointing.

Not that I ever read Parade magazine, ever, but it just happens to be a part of the Sunday insert and while I'm sifting through coupons (yes, I would rather admit to that than reading Parade), I noticed the current cover story by Gail Sheehy:

She is the experienced woman--open to love, sex, new dreams and spirituality and committed to revitalizing marriage. And there are millions more just like her. Now Is Her Time

And until now it wasn't? So what does this "experienced woman" want? Just a few highlights: Good conversation, mutual sexual pleasure with emotional connection, not to be tied down... Doesn't the latter contradict the ... oh never mind.

As for what the "Seasoned Woman" offers: A 'what-the-hell, life-is-short' joie de vivre, emotional stability, a knowledge of what she wants sexually and the appreciation of a good lover ... In the bedroom and beyond, she knows exactly who she is.

In short, The New Seasoned Woman is ... horny?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Spitting Image

What turned out to be a crucial defensive win for the Redskins on Saturday could have easily been a disaster in OT, what with the incident involving Skins safety Sean Taylor and Bucs RB Michael Pittman. Apparently, Taylor was "jawing" and accidentally allowed a particle of his saliva to touch a part of Pittman's helmet. Pittman then overreacts and strikes Taylor across the head. For this, Taylor is the one who gets ejected from the game. Ejected! Don't we know people who tend to spit a lot when they speak? Aren't we mostly polite and pretend to ignore that it happened? That you've just felt something hit your face or even possibly land in your drink? Couldn't that have been the case? (And that when Taylor accidentally spits, he hocks loogies? And that he also accidentally did the same to a Bengals wide receiver last year? And that his upcoming criminal court trial is nothing but a farce?)

Down With Fabulists

If you haven't yet seen this incomparable full-scale demolition of James Frey's credibility, go to it. Frey is the Oprah-approved author of the bestselling nonfiction memoir A Million Little Pieces, words that aptly describe the state of Frey's reputation now that this is out.

Frey's book is an apologetic memoir of his days as a raging drug addict and incarcerated criminal. His life, he claims, was deeply affected by the tragic death of a close friend in a train accident. Turns out, Frey never spent more than a few hours in jail and had no connection to the victim of a well-known train accident that he has appropriated and distorted for his own dramatic purposes. Along the way, he appears to have made up scores of little lies to fill out his tale as a bad boy who turned his life around.

The article, which must be five or six thousands words long, is actually a model of the form. The commentary is but lightly snide and never digressive. Here's to The Smoking Gun!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The "Short" Cappuccino?

What does the Cake Editrix have to say about this?

Where's He Gonna Sit?

President Bush met with current and former secretaries of state and defense yesterday for an open and often frank discussion about the situation in Iraq.

Those in attendance included former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, Burt Reynolds, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Dom DeLuise, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Dean Martin, Vice President Dick Cheney, Sammy Davis Jr., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Farrah Fawcett, former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, Jackie Chan, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Roger Moore, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Jamie Farr, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Bert Convy, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and Adrienne Barbeau. (photo by Eric Draper)

You'll Never Find...

...a singer with vocals quite as deep, raspy, and soulful (not to mention bass-laden) as Lou Rawls. The always cool R&B vocalist died this morning at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center at the not-so-old age of 72, a victim of lung cancer. I remember when I first discovered Rawls. I was still a kid in New Jersey, flipping through channels, and stumbled across his telethon (could it have been WOR-9? WPIX-11?). The highlight, of course, was when he capped things off with his trademark songs "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" and "Lady Love." (I used to occasionally confuse him with Don Cornelius, the host of Soul Train.)

In addition, there may never be as cool a rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as his.

CulturePulp Deleted Scenes

Mike Russell has digitally remastered them for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Here's some very cool and exciting news in the field of military science and technology. Two conventional submarines have just been commissioned and are considered to be virtually invisible to sonar. The subs are "driven by air-independent propulsion. The use of fuel cells markedly increases the sub's radius of action. Hydrogen and oxygen combine in the fuel-cell module and are converted into electricity. Water is the only waste product that remains. This cutting-edge propulsion system enables the ... submarines to move virtually noiselessly underwater, thus making them very difficult to detect."

Awesome. The subs are designated ... U212A ... and are made ... in ... Germany ... Uh oh.

Moon Over Maryland

How could I forget to mention Tuesday's ruling by a Maryland judge in a case of a man who mooned a woman and her 8-year-old daughter? After an argument broke out between 44-year-old Raymond McNealy and Nanette Vonfeldt last summer (regarding a homeowners' association meeting), McNealy decided to end things by mooning her while she was accompanied by her daughter. At issue before Judge John Debelius III was whether this constituted indecent exposure. Debelius called the act "disgusting" and "demeaning," but again, in the end, did not deem it indecent exposure, which, according to an appeals court in another case, "relates to a person's genitals."

On the one hand, Judge Debelius is right that "If exposure of half of the buttock constituted indecent exposure, any woman wearing a thong at the beach at Ocean City would be guilty." On the other hand, the prosecutor argued, "This was not a bathing suit scenario. This was a grown man exposing himself to an 8-year-old girl."

I'd like to add that a man in a thong should definitely be charged with indecent exposure and prosecuted to the fullest extent. I've been to the Caribbean and I still have nightmares.

Puns I spared Galley readers in this post:

"half-assed argument"

"behind the times"

"to the rear of the courtroom"

"backdoor policy"

"turn the other cheek"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Pity the Fool

The latest dust-up in the District centers around the rescheduling of the Martin Luther King Day parade. Normally taking place on King's birthday, a federal holiday in January, a committee decided that cold weather might hinder attendance. So the parade has been pushed back to April 1. Needless to say, parade planners and other activists were more than a little upset by the new date. But the committee says it didn't mean to have it coincide with April Fool's Day. In fact, they rescheduled the joyous parade to commence the weekend before April 4--the day King was shot and killed. As one activist told the Post, "If you want to commemorate an assassination, that should be something that is done with some solemnity. You don't commemorate a person's assassination with marching bands."

And just who was responsible for appointing this committee? None other than our beloved former mayor, Marion Barry.

The Chronic of Narnia Rap

It's so good that it hurts. Chris Parnell is an angrier Reihan Salam. Sample:

"You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons."


Yup, that's the largest known prime number. Written out, it's 2 to the 30,402,457th power, minus 1.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Redskins fans can breathe a sigh of relief as it's just been announced that assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams has renewed his contract for another 3 years, reportedly worth $8 million. (Yes, the one great thing about owner Daniel Snyder is his money. It's clearly no object. Case in point: his desire to purchase the ailing Six Flags amusement park franchise.) Earlier it was rumored Williams was a top candidate for the head coaching jobs at St. Louis and Kansas City.

Thanks to Galley readers who clarified the city-to-city wager and Mayor Williams's offer of chili dogs--a respectable bet considering that venerable institution, Ben's Chili Bowl. Props to "utron" for suggesting a barrel of pork.

But it was blogger Duane who took us down memory lane by linking to an age-old post, dating back to last April, by fellow Galley slave Jonathan Last, who envisioned a 16-0 season for his beloved Eagles. This was clearly before the departure of T.O. (for good) and McNabb and the ascendancy of Dettmer and McMahon. One anonymous reader had then predicted the Eagles would lose twice to the Skins. Kudos to him as well as Duane.

The other travesty of last Sunday's game in Philly I had forgotten to mention was the tossing of beer at Clinton Portis's mother (who supposedly fought back before ending up on the sideline). Fans then turned their rage against Eagles coach Andy Reid, who needed security to help him out of the stadium.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Well, well, well. Who would have guessed the Washington Redskins would be headed to the playoffs this year? Unfortunately not I, who predicted a more dismal 7-9 season. Oh me of little faith. And that's what it came down to, didn't it? Gibbs having faith in a 35-year-old QB who many (including myself) believed was all washed up. Faith in a trade of Laveranues Coles for Santana Moss. Faith in a trade of Champ Bailey for Clinton Portis. And in the end, it all worked out. Even without LaVar Arrington, right?

The Post's Mike Wise thinks it's the other way around: "Most people in the organization believe they learned to win without Arrington. They have no idea that they won in spite of how they treated him." And how they treated him is indeed a travesty.

Another travesty was the so-called bet between Washington and Philadelphia. Since Washington won, we get the free cheesesteaks. But had Philly been victorious, we were supposed to offer up that great Washington classic. The ... crabcake?