December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2007!

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December 30, 2006

(The Final) Diane Lane Photo Of The Week: Lane-apalooza!

Yes, sadly this is the last in a re-booted Saturday series.

...with a little something extra!

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One of my personal favorites.

And this week's Diane Lane Netflix Pick of the Week:

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A Little Romance (1979)

Synopsis: Diane Lane stars as Lauren, a young American girl whose love of books finds a soul mate in Daniel (Thelonious Bernard) -- and romance blossoms. When Daniel slugs the egomaniacal director boyfriend of Lauren's self-absorbed actress mother (Sally Kellerman), the two are forbidden to date. But with the help of an aging pickpocket (engagingly played by Laurence Olivier), the two young lovers run off to Venice and spark an international chase.

Gary's take: The one that started it all. At the time, her co-star, Sir Laurence Olivier, dubbed her "the next Grace Kelly". A simple story of young love and chasing a crazy dream to create a memory to last a lifetime.

A female commenter recently asked "what is it about Diane Lane?". Well here's the answer. Back in late 1979 or early 1980 when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, I saw this movie for the first time on cable (I was fortunate enough to have it back then) and I completely fell for this adorable precocious girl. Yes, my own memory to last a lifetime. Since then I've watched her grow up on film from a teenage heartbreaker to middle-aged sweetheart. It's that regular girl-next-door killer smile that gets me everytime.

I think my experience is similar to a lot of guys my age. I don't think there's another actress out there who's captured the affection of the males of my generation the way she has. She's never "sold out" in the Hollywood sense (though her current mother-in-law is noneother than Babs Streisand - ick). She's a terrific (and highly underrated) actress and just a lovely woman. And much to my wonderful wife's chagrin, Diane Lane will always have a special little place in my heart - even when she's in her seventies.

There. Now the surprise - a nine-minute video montage of the lovely Diane Lane. Simply Beautiful.

Happy New Year!

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December 29, 2006

Together, At Last

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I love when you get all biblical, Satan! You know exactly how to turn my crank.

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Peggy's Pearls Of Wisdom

On Ford's pardoning of Nixon:

"[H]e threw himself on a grenade to protect the country from shame, from going too far. It was an act of deep political courage, and it was shocking. Almost everyone in the country hated it, including me. But Ford was right. Richard Nixon had been ruined, forced to resign, run out of town on a rail. There was nothing to be gained--nothing--by his being broken on the dock. What was then the new left would never forgive Ford. They should thank him on their knees that he deprived history of proof that what they called their idealism was not untinged by sadism."
Amazing how thirty years of history can help you see the bigger picture.

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December 28, 2006

Saddam Hussein May Will Not See The New Year Sunday (Updated!)

So says NBC.

The families of his victims have waited over three years since his capture for justice. I'll still only believe it when I see him actually hanging from a noose.

The sooner, the better.

UPDATE (12/29/06):
Let's see.

Death warrant signed by Iraqi Prime Minister...check.

Saddam transferred to Iraqi custody...check.

Hinges on the gallows trap-door oiled...check...

UPDATE II:
Rumor has it, midnight Iraqi time (4pm EST) 6am Iraqi time (10pm EST).

You can read through this monster's rap sheet while you wait.

UPDATE III:
It's done.

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"Shut Up And Sing"? How About Just Go Away?

Can these twits take a hint?

Sixty-one days in release and the Dixie Chicks' documentary has only managed to rake in just a bit over $1 million bones.

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I love that poster with the photo of George W. Bush with that look of annoyance on his face. Yeah, right. Bush probably doesn't even know who they are.

Here's a group who was able to do something few musicians are able to do. They found a unique sound and gained an audience. But they never understood their audience. Then, after alienating said audience, they shrug it off with the attitude that the people who made them rich are just a bunch of ignorant hicks. And they're victims now.

Please.

So now they make a movie that reinforces that fact that not only do they really have nothing to say, but it appears that no one is interested in hearing it. My guess is that it'll ultimately double it's meager gross through DVD sales, which will probably be purchased by a bunch of elitist Bush-hating moonbats who - up until the big "controversy" - wouldn't have given the Chicks the time of day because they were dubbed "country" musicians.

And maybe some Canadians.

And Laura Ingraham, who coined the phrase that the Chicks stole for their title, won't even see a dime from it.

I love how the budget is not disclosed on the gross receipts report. Must be too humiliating to admit.

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The Man With The Golden Arm

Yee-Gads! The SanFran Giants have succumbed to the will of the wily "super agent" Scott Boras and agreed to pay pitcher Barry Zito $126,000,000 over SEVEN years!

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Now, as a Mets fan, I would certainly have considered Zito a nice signing in New York but laying out a contract for a pitcher that goes beyond five years is insanity - a guaranteed $18 Million a year from now through 2013? No thanks. Boras strikes again. Wow. And he doesn't even have to move (he's currently on Oakland's roster).

Sure, maybe he'll pitch at "ace" levels until he's 35. Maybe he'll avoid throwing out his arm. And maybe if his production starts to fall over the years, there'll actually be a team out there willing to trade for him and take on his gi-normous salary.

But if I were a betting man...nah.

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Who We Lost In 2006

Dirty Harry at Libertas runs down the list of actors and actresses who passed in this year. They will be missed.

I have a feeling that about thirty years from now we'll be looking at a similar list. And the proportion of those on that list who will truly be missed will be very, very small.

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December 27, 2006

Chevy Chase On Ford

I almost hasten to categorize this post under "celebrities" because I think in Chase's case it's a bit of a stretch.

In a Reuters story with the headline "30 Years Later, Chevy Chase Calls Ford 'Terrific Guy', they saw fit to include a quote that really has no place in the story:

"He had never been elected period, so I never felt that he deserved to be there to begin with," the actor said about Ford, who died on Tuesday at age 93. "That was just the way I felt then as a young man and as a writer and a liberal."
Now let's look at the utter absurdity of this statement.

Under the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that's the main document outlining our Federal government, Chevy), the Vice-President is next in line to succeed a President who dies, becomes incapacitated or resigns from office. Richard Nixon resigned from office. Gerald Ford was Vice-President at the time. You do the math.

The fact that Ford hadn't been elected Vice-President is not the point. His appointment was approved by a majority of the members of Congress (both chambers then controlled by Democrats). What would Chevy have preferred? President Spiro Agnew? He was elected Vice-President, after all. Or maybe Chevy thinks that Ford should have also resigned (not having been elected and all) and allowed the Speaker of the House to assume the Presidency. That would have been Democrat Carl Albert. Of course, Albert had merely been elected Speaker by a majority of the members of the House, as opposed to both chambers. But he was a Democrat, right?

No, Chevy Chase understands the rules of succession just fine. Despite the fact that Ford - a gracious man - was always kind to Chase despite the fun (and the early career boost) he got at the former President's expense, I think there's a little something else behind that particular comment.

What probably steamed Chevy Chase about Ford at the time - and probably still does - is the fact that he pardoned Nixon. I'm sure that "as a young man and as a writer and a liberal", Chase was kicking himself that Nixon wasn't publicly drawn and quartered over Watergate. The irony is that while Nixon was a Republican, he was by no means a Conservative. But what's a silly label when you're part of an evil political party?

Plus, it's hard to pass up an opportunity to undermine the legitimacy of a Republican President. Ain't it, Chevy?

I'm reminded of a scene from "Caddyshack" when Chase's Ty Webb pulls aside Judge Smails (brilliantly played by Ted Knight, a real comic talent) to tell him "You know, Judge. My dad...never liked you."

Somehow I can't help but think that when Chevy Chase muses "We kept in touch and he was just a terrific guy" that he is in fact just kidding himself and that Ford...never really like him. Though Ford was too much of a gentleman to let him know that.

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Set Your VCRs/DVRs Alert

This might be hard for some to find on their local cable systems because I have no idea how widespread the "Sundance Channel" is. But John Hinderaker from Powerline gives us a heads up that there will be a documentary called "Blog Wars" airing on that channel tomorrow (Thursday, the 28th). My cable system has it listed for 10pm but yours may be different so check tvguide.com.

It's basically an account of the role that blogs played in the CT Senate race between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman. The focus is the primary race and John says that it's presented in a fairly neutral way. This is the quote, however, that piqued my interest:

Others, no doubt, will draw different lessons from Blog Wars, but for me, the film was an expose of the liberal bloggers, who come across as vapid and remarkably vulgar. I repeatedly found myself wondering why on earth they had permitted Rogan to film a particular scene, or why, knowing that his camera was filming, they behaved as they did. I think part of the explanation is that James is such a nice, unthreatening guy that his subjects are somewhat disarmed.
I plan on DVRing it and after I watch it I'll post a review.

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Gerald R. Ford (1913 - 2006)

The 38th President of the United States died yesterday at the ripe old age of 93.

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I was too young to have any real memories of Ford. Unfortunately, my earliest recollections are of either Chevy Chase falling all over himself on SNL or the goofy caricature from the movie "The Pink Panther Strikes Again".

He had a thankless job, succeeding Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate. And he had been previously chosen for Vice-President in the wake of Spiro Agnew's humiliating resignation. Nixon's choice was driven by the fact that, as a legislator, Ford was a popular and non-controversial guy who would have no problem being confirmed by Congress. He goes down in history as the only President to serve who never received a single vote as either President or Vice-President.

He may or may not have been the ideal person for the job considering the state of the nation at the time. But he did his best. He served his country in WWII and many years in the Congress. And by all accounts he was a really nice guy. He will probably never be ranked in the top ten (or even top thirty) list of past Presidents. But to the people who knew him, he'd rank way up there as a husband, a father, a friend and an American. R.I.P.

That leaves Jimmy Cower Carter as the oldest surviving President. How old is he anyway? Isn't it about time for that miserable failure to take the old dirt nap?

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December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas To All

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Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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December 22, 2006

Diane Lane Photo Of The Week

...a day early!

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And this week's Diane Lane Netflix Pick of the Week:

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Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)

Synopsis: In this movie loosely based on Frances Mayes's best-selling memoir of the same title, Diane Lane stars as Frances, a newly divorced American writer who heads for the Italian region of Tuscany to make limonita out of life's lemons. Having just quit her high-pressure job and ended her heartbreaking marriage, she buys a decrepit-but-charming house in Cortona on impulse, rebuilding it piece by piece -- and herself along with it.

Gary's take: Diane is darling in this one. Supported by a terrific ensemble of character actors, this is a really charming and funny story set in the beautiful Italian countryside. At this stage in her career, Diane Lane seems to be playing a lot of woman who's husbands have left them - which is a very tough concept to get my head around.

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Happy "Life Day" To All

Some of you folks will remember this: The Star Wars Holiday Special. The rest of you will ask "WTF?".

Broadcast only one time at Christmas in 1978, this feature was once thought to have been destroyed by George Lucas. But many Bothan spies lost their lives to smuggle VHS copies out of Skywalker Ranch so that capitalist insurgents could sell them on eBay.

For those too young to have seen it, I recommend it for the sheer awfulness of this production.

Check out the intro here:

Who knew Chewbacca had a wife, a son who looked like a hairy Gary Coleman and a father who liked to watch holographic space porn?

And check out the guest star list: Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, Harvey Korman and...the Jefferson Starship? Oh yeah. It's that bad.

It's the kind of thing that almost makes you appreciate the crap they have on TV around the holidays these days. If you can get your hands on a copy, the vintage commercial breaks alone are worth the cost of shipping.

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December 21, 2006

"Rocky Balboa" Is A Winner: My Review

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When I first heard about this project, I (like most of you out there) was very skeptical – and even a little cynical – about it. My first thought was “why?”.

The last Rocky movie was very disappointing on so many levels that I couldn’t imagine another installment of this franchise being worth seeing. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who feel the same way.

Well, I saw “Rocky Balboa” last night in a packed theater full of enthusiastic people who wanted – and fully expected – a satisfying experience. They got what they paid for. more...

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December 20, 2006

In The Spirit Of The Holidays

One of my all-time favorite "South Park" moments. A big thank you to Steve the Llamabutcher for finding it.

Merry F@$#ING Christmas, y'all!

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I've Got Nothing

But Melissa's got it going on...

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Enjoy.

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December 19, 2006

"There's No Need To Fight Evil When Appeasement Will Do Just Fine."

David Zucker comes up with another classic - comparing James Baker to Neville Chamberlain. The whole negotiation bit with Ahmadinejad would be hilarious if it weren't so damn serious.

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December 16, 2006

Diane Lane Photo Of The Week

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And this week's Diane Lane Netflix Pick of the Week:

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Indian Summer (1993)

Synopsis:
Settle in for a heartwarming, slice-of-life comedy, as eight friends reunite at their beloved summer camp after 20 years. Overshadowing the reunion, however, is the knowledge that the camp's owner is ready to close it down forever. A talented cast -- including Alan Arkin, Sam Raimi, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Perkins and more -- help to make this summer unforgettable.

Gary's take: Think "The Big Chill" for Generation X only with a lot less self-absorbed navel-gazing. A gang of thirty-somethings share their fond memories of summer camp and come to grips with the fact that, yes, you have to grow up sometime. Getting old is a bitch, isn't it? Look for "Spider-man" director, Sam Raimi, in a bit role as the clumsy camp caretaker.

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December 15, 2006

BSG Mid-Season Finale Tonight

"Mid-season finale" sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But it looks like the show will take its holiday break after tonight and pick up with the second half of the season in January.

They did this last year with "Pegasus", only that was a much longer break. It would be another FIFTEEN weeks before we would get to "Resurrection Ship: Part One". Sheesh.

Being as tonight's episode is number 11 of Season Three, I'm hoping this means we're in for another 11 episodes starting January 21st (which is the new night, Sunday).

To tide you over a fairly well-done Lee & Kara Viper battle montage set to Yello's "Oh Yeah". (you know, the "ow, ow...ch..chiketa..chik...ahhh...ow...ow" song from the closing credits of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"):

So get ready: Cylons and Humans rumble over what may be a newly-discovered secret about how to find Earth.

"The Eye of Jupiter"
9pm on Sci-Fi

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