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Saturday, March 29, 2014

So Yeah

I haven't posted in a while. More than a month, I think. The truth is that my dad passed away unexpectedly last month and there really isn't anything very funny about that. Nor does it really feel right to prattle on about random Lifetime movies when something so serious and terrible has happened. So I'll be back, maybe even soon, but I'm not really sure when yet. Fortunately, the internet is unlikely to run out of snark from other sources in my absence.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

And Now My Weekend is Complete

What did you do today? If the answer is not "watched the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding documentary on NBC," then I'm afraid you've wasted your day, if not your entire life, my friends. As someone who watched pretty much every minute of the Lillehammer games despite my very busy math team schedule at the time, I had very high expectations for this program, and they were entirely exceeded. The '90s hairstyles! The plastic track suits! The Gilooly 'stache! These are some amazing production values, and the quality of the reportage also stunned. Both Mary Carillo and Bob Costas did everything short of taking a cattle prod to Nancy to try to get her to trash Tonya, and she resolutely refused. Tonya, meanwhile, really brought the fun, announcing that she had "proven" "so many times" that she wasn't involved in the attack before babbling incoherently (and incredulously) when asked to explain how, explaining how she was really a victim in all of this herself, and complaining that Nancy "wasn't even worth it" at this point, without really clarifying what "it" was. I was a little disappointed that no one dug up well-known Oksana Baiul for an interview (preferably in her '94 swan costume and, dare I dream, with a round of shots), but it's a minor quibble. Maybe the Winter Olympics ended today for the rest of you, but for me they ended back in the glory days of 1994.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Joyful, Joyful

So Joyful Noise is on right now. I'm not sure I can say that it's the worst movie of all time -- Katherine Heigl has made a lot of movies -- but it's certainly not great. And yet every time it is on I find myself drawn to it, and not solely because it has a climactic musical number of the type that makes me want to get out my show choir gloves. (Just kidding; I wasn't allowed to keep the gloves.) Here are just a few highlights:

-- Dolly Parton's face.
-- The crazy rivalry between Dolly's and Latifah's characters that results in a food fight at the restaurant where Latifah character works.
-- The fact that Latifah's character is surprised to be fired from said restaurant after engaging in said food fight.
-- Dolly Parton's character's duet with her dead husband, who is played by Kris Kristofferson.
-- The many references to how beautiful Keke Palmer's character is.
-- The screaming match Latifah's and Keke's characters have in the elevator lobby of some sort of Best Western, including a dramatic slap and the phrase "I am a board certified supermodel."
-- The many excruciatingly colorful characters in the choir, including a woman who kills a man by having sex with him and a man who apparently does not know his family hardware store is closing until he drives up to work one day and sees the signs.
-- The fact that the movie casually features a child speaking in tongues.
-- Courtney B. Vance being in this movie.
-- The fact that no one has bothered to submit a plot synopsis for this movie to IMDB yet, even though it came out in 2012.

Also, every time I see this movie there is at least one scene that I don't remember having ever seen before. Is it possible that they are still writing and directing new material? It's such a rich vein to mine.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

News & Notes

It turns out it's pretty difficult to put together coherent sentences with figure skating on in the background. I keep looking over to see if someone has fallen on her rear. But so far it's really just been a lot of underweight girls spinning. And hugging. And smiling. God, where is the drama of the Nancy/Tonya years? I've got a long list of candidates for the tire iron, if anyone is interested.

It's been kind of a fantastic couple of days here for the sad and pathetic reason that it is finally above freezing and all of Chicago is melting. I can finally see my driveway again. And I wore regular shoes instead of giant boots. On the minus side, I was about three inches from a concussion when a giant sheath of ice fell off of a building downtown while I was walking to Walgreen's at lunch. Near death somehow seems a high price to pay for that bag of fun size Crunch bars I had my eye on.

I did have court this morning, though. And again I'll remind you that's as an attorney, not a defendant. It was an 8:30 AM call, which is one of the crueler inventions of man. And then my opponents didn't show up, so it got rescheduled for next week, also at 8:30 AM. Next week I'll pick them up if I have to; we're getting this thing done.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Spending Three Days Straight Doing Very Little But Writing a Book Chapter About Civil Appeals

I agree to do a lot of strange things. And I'm not talking sexually. I coach an international arbitration moot court team, for God's sake. For free. On occasion, I teach constitutional law to small children who hate me. Early on Saturday mornings. And in the past I have volunteered as both a public radio deejay and a historically costumed guide at an architecture museum. Where I wore a solid wool suit in July. So yeah, one could question my decisionmaking skills.

And I am certainly doing that right now about my agreement to write the appeals chapter for a litigation guide that will be sold commercially but without any portion of any profits going to me. I guess I thought it would be easier than it is? But it turns out that writing a properly-sourced chapter on civil appeals is a little different than, say, writing a poem for your junior high newspaper. And even though I may handle civil appeals every day of my life, it's not like I've memorized supporting citations for everything I do. Perhaps if I were a cyborg? Why can't I be a cyborg?

Anyway, I've been working on this for about a month already, but since the deadline is now looming, I'm having to make serious tracks, which has meant the aforementioned three days straight of work. I mean, I did go to Burger King and the gym (a winning combination) and I had the Olympics on in the background at points, but mainly I've been here at the computer. I had to put a pillow on my desk chair so my butt would stop cramping. Sadly, my resulting application for disability benefits has been denied.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympic Proportions

I'm becoming somewhat confused and alarmed by this year's Olympics. You see, with all the networks that are playing Olympic coverage and all the different times of day they're doing it, I keep seeing the same events twice and thinking that I'm just losing my mind. First it was the pairs portion of the team figure skating on Sunday, and then today it was the regular pairs competition. So yeah, mainly skating, which always kind of makes me lose my mind, but seriously. And also, how has Johnny Weir not been a Project Runway challenge? Or maybe he has; I stopped watching that show like six seasons ago when it moved to Lifetime and got all weird. Sort of like when your friend in third grade moved away and then suddenly he didn't like Bon Jovi any more and kind of smelled like cheese?

Anyway, it's not that the Olympics don't have their charms. I rather enjoy that US figure skater who looks like she's trying to start a fire with her mind, and watching Bob Costas' face expand as his pinkeye progressed was sort of a medical marvel. Snowboarding is kind of nifty to watch and even more so for the fact that they had the nerve to call an event "slopestyle," which is clearly not a word. The parts of the opening ceremony I saw had the appropriate drug induced look to them, and the mere fact of Tara Lipinski continuing to exist is a plot twist on par with The Sixth Sense, even putting aside the fact that she looks like she's been in the witness protection program. But still, I miss Michelle Kwan. There will never be another choker quite like her.

Monday, February 10, 2014

So There's A Lot Going On

I realize I've been a bit, um, absent lately. I'm having a few family issues that are not sufficiently hilarious to bear discussion here. Also work has been kind of crazy (for my current work, which means staying to 5:15 on occasion) and I'm getting started on a new show, which takes a lot more time than frankly any thirtysomething person who is not, say, Ryan Gosling should probably be spending on anything performance related. And for some reason I agreed to write a chapter of a book on a legal topic that it turns out I don't really know that much about, at least not off the top of my head. So that's taking up a surprising portion of my life.

Anyway, I have great excuses for my absence, which was always good enough to get me out of study hall in junior high, so I assume it will work just as nicely here. Fret not; I'll be back in time to sign your yearbooks and tell you to KIT keep in touch and stay cool this summer.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Maybe This is Why Michael Jackson Only Wore One

So this winter has finally killed my gloves. I was sort of in denial about the whole thing, since I love the pair I have (had), but I couldn't really dispute it any more when I giant hole opened up in the thumb of my left one. Since I'm not in Les Mis, that's not really a look I can pull off. But I figured it would be easy to find new ones because it's, you know, been like a thousand degrees below zero every day for the past month with no end in sight. And yet that is where I was wrong. Over the past week, I have been to about ten different stores on this mission; everywhere from Walgreen's to Macy's to Nordstrom Rack. And while I have found a lot of women's gloves, children's gloves decked out with Dora the Explorer or one of her ilk, weight lifting gloves, and gloves commemorated the Olympics that have not even started yet, it has been very difficult to find just plain old men's gloves. I finally landed a pair today (actually, two pair, because that's how everyone likes to be forced to by gloves) at H&M, your home for men's fashions that people describe using "European" as a code word for something else. They're far from ideal -- they've allegedly "one size fits all," which means that my hands stretch them until they're as sheer as a tragic Gwyneth Paltrow top -- but they seem like they'll at least do the trick through the end of this Winter, which at this rate will be in 2032. And then I guess I start looking again in June? I have always wanted a pair to match my swimsuit.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Super Bowl of Not Caring About the Super Bowl

Most years I go to a friend's house for the Super Bowl, since I know it's part of our shared American experience or whatever, even though I personally could not care less about football. And I do like to eat dips and wings and pizza, which one does not generally associate with, say, the opera or a poetry reading. So I go and pretend to know players' names and have opinions about the teams and quietly hope the halftime show is somehow actually interesting this year.

But this year we decided to skip the pretense. And I'm not going to lie, it was pretty amazing! We went to the gym and pretty much had all the best treadmills all to ourselves, plus I got a swim in during what would normally be family swim time because all the families were apparently off enjoying the bone crunching violence known to be so wonderful for children. Then I went to the late mass and didn't have to worry about some stranger with a horrible cough coming to sit right next to me. And we went to see Frozen with an audience of about five people!

I can easily see myself doing this every year. Although the lure of fatty foods is admittedly pretty strong. Maybe I can hook a tray with some potato skins up to my treadmill.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

New York, New York

For some reason we are now getting two copies of The New Yorker every week. This is fine, I suppose, except I really don't want to be PAYING for two copies of The New Yorker every week. Also, I barely read the one copy as it is. I've developed a system whereby I 1) check out the cartoon caption contest at the back and verify that all the submissions are terrible, then 2) read whatever criticism back there that happens to be of interest (for instance, NOT three-page thinkpieces on Icelandic artists I've never heard of), at which point I flip back to the front and 3) check out the table of contents for anything that doesn't sound super depressing and/or super boring, then 4) read whatever Talk of the Town pieces don't make me throw up in my mouth in the first paragraph, and 5) start on any of the aforementioned non-depressing/boring long form pieces, unless I feel like maybe I'd rather play with my phone instead. Of course, the system doesn't generally apply if I'm on the train or the elliptical, in which case I'll pretty much read anything, although I'll have The Young & The Restless with closed captioning on in the background. But regardless, what to do about the two copies? I should probably call their subscription department, but I'm afraid they'll be all urbane and witty and hoist me by my own petard or something.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Grammys Wrap Up

I have to say, the Grammys are greatly improved by fast forwarding through the majority of them. Also by store bought mozz sticks and potato skins. I still really wish there had been some Miley involved, but you can't have everything.

What you can have, apparently, is Taylor Swift swaying arhythmically to everything. Also Katy Perry reenacting the Stonehenge sequence of Spinal Tap. I did think the Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk (and yes, I place them in that order) sequence was pretty nifty, although at first I thought Stevie had a court reporter's keyboard with him, and it's fairly impressive to see Paul McCartney do anything at this age. BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z somewhat underwhelmed for me, as much as I do love the new "visual album" (not a thing). I would have loved to have seen an all out production number to Blow, but frankly, I would have loved to have seen an all out production number to Anything Goes, for that matter. I'm an all out production number guy, I guess.

Lorde kind of creeps me out. I worry that she's casting a spell on me. Also, the eyebrows.

I should probably address the biggest stunt of the night, by which I mean the reanimation of Madonna's corpse to celebrate Queen Latifah's marrying a bunch of couples and still not coming out of the closet. It was all right. I mean, I totally support its social messages and all, but that's still not going to make me like Macklemore.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Grammys Countdown!

Who is so excited for the Grammys tonight? And who, like me, is uncertain as to whether he has ever even watched the Grammys all the way through before? Last year is probably the closest I have ever come, when my sister randomly decided that we "always got together to watch the Grammys" (we had never gotten together to watch the Grammys) and decided to have a little party. But I was also trying to extract files from my dead computer using her space aged electronics equipment while they were on, so I don't think even that really counts. And I'm pretty sure I left before ten. Did Taylor Swift win everything? I feel like I remember something about Taylor Swift.

Anyway, tonight is the allegedly big night! I will of course be going to my sister's again, so in that way at least she is sort of retroactively correct. I don't really know who's up for what, but I do know that I enjoy saying "Macklemore." Also that there are likely to be dips, which is more than enough for me. Viva la Grammys!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Do the Hustle

Did I mention that I finally saw American Hustle? I actually know that I didn't mention it, because I looked back over my posts since I did, but the rhetorical question just seems like a truly snappy way to start a post. I'm an artist, people. And so, by way of transition, is David O. Russell, who has put together a pretty intriguing little picture here. I've always been interested in the Abscam sting, although not interested enough to do much more than google it, and this was a pretty entertaining fictionalization. And the acting was good. I'm not sure about Academy Award good, but it was good. I've always found Amy Adams to be perfectly pleasant but not particularly exciting; here I felt like she really carried the movie in a lot of ways. And Bradley Cooper usually kind of bugs me, but here I thought his innate annoyingness really worked for the character he was playing. Christian Bale I've never really had any problems with, aside from the occasional episodes of him screaming at people, and this was no exception. Jennifer Lawrence I of course love, but I didn't really even feel like she was in the movie that much. Couldn't they have added some scenes where she, like, goes to the zoo or something? Now that would be compelling filmmaking.

I did think it was a bit long. I tend to think everything is a bit long, though. Except for life. That's still way too short and it still has a ridiculous ending.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Holiday Club

So it is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or as I call it, the day where I make a huge list of things I need to do and then end up watching L.A. Confidential for the hundredth time instead of doing any of them. It's an important day for many reasons, none of which fortunately have anything to do with cleaning my kitchen or shredding my old bank statements. Not that they have much to do with the early works of Russell Crowe, either. But I guess that not feeling the need to engage in any sort of meaningful activity is freedom of a sort, so I'm going to go ahead and say that it's exactly what Dr. King would have wanted.

The downside of having the day off is, of course, the exponentially increased sense of dread I feel about returning to work tomorrow. It's not that I don't like my job; it's just that I sort of resent being asked to do anything. It would make so much more sense for them to just give me money. Why can't it be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Week, for heaven's sake? I hate to feel time constraints on my solemn memorializing.

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