Tuesday, January 31, 2006


That's the part that's tough to saw through. When you feel a twinge up in your shoulder banging away at that cocksucker, that's when you've hit the trochanter. Fucking meatus -- that shit is practically spongiform bone matter, just canules in a calciform matrix. The meatus is for pussies. I can buzz my way through that bitch in five minutes. It's when you hit the goddamn trochanter that you get your shit fucked up. I can barely see where the guide-groove in the bone I already started is in the piss-poor light thrown off by these fucking Hyundai headlights. This time, I gotta throw my whole shoulder into the motion, get about an inch or two into that cocksucker until I hit that platelet marrow -- like a soft piece of steak tartare at the core of the taupe shaft-head. Got you, you bastard -- I feel the cold splatter of gamma globulin-rich fluid up on my wrist. Yeah, that sawblade dips through that sumbitch now like a boiled-hot garrotte wire through a frozen windpipe. All I have to do is work on the metaphysis next with that cobalt-bit drill, and then I'm halfway home to countersinking these deadbolts into the diaphysis.

The Salad's Oscar nom wrap-up

Best picture
Brokeback Mountain; Crash; Goodnight, and Good Luck; Munich; Capote

Best director
Steven Spielberg - Munich; Ang Lee - Brokeback Mountain; Paul Haggis - Crash; Bennett Miller - Capote; George Clooney - Good Night, and Good Luck

Best actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote; David Strathairn - Good Night, and Good Luck; Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain; Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line; Terrence Howard - Hustle and Flow

Best actress
Dame Judi Dench - Mrs Henderson Presents; Felicity Huffman - Transamerica; Charlize Theron - North Country; Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line; Keira Knightley - Pride and Prejudice

Best supporting actress
Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener; Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain; Frances McDormand - North Country; Amy Adams - Junebug; Catherine Keener - Capote

Best supporting actor
George Clooney - Syriana; Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain; Paul Giamatti - Cinderella Man; Matt Dillon - Crash; William Hurt - A History of Violence

* * *

A bunch of surprises here, from the fact that "Capote" scored Picture, Actor, and Director noms, to Matt Dillon's hammy-ham-hamfisted cop being nommed in "Crash." My take is that it is only really a two-flick race for Best Picture: "Crash" and "Brokeback," but I think they'll give Haggis Best Director so that "Brokeback" can prevail as Picture. I think actress is a two-horse race: Huffman and Witherspoon, and since they're going to give SOMETHING to "Walk the Line," this is all Reese's. That said, pen in Heath Ledger as a lock, defeating Joaquin Phoenix. Supporting: Weisz and Clooney, because she's already won everything, and Clooney has to get something for his three noms (he's showbiz royalty now, too -- new, with added artistic credibility).

My last surprise pick -- "Squid and the Whale" scores best original screenplay, because this is the category that has historically recognized young turk filmmakers whom the Academy doesn't feel comfortable giving the big money to (see "Usual Suspects," "Pulp Fiction," "Sideways," etc).

Saw Sting in concert once...

...in Raleigh, N.C., and the only witticism Mr. Sumner had to offer spontaneously was that "this city is named after one of my countrymen."

Monday, January 30, 2006

"Christmas" Eve

Well, kind of like Christmas Eve -- at the cracque of dawn tomorrow, celebrities crawl out of their little grassy warrens and shake off the sleepiness of a peaceful L.A. night and announce our OSCAR NOMS!

Whee! I'll be there pasted to my screen!

Come back, McShane!

HBO decides it's better to walk out "Big Love" after "The Sopranos" this March, rather than "Deadwood" as was planned earlier -- presumedly because of the good buzz their Bill Paxton-starrer is getting. Plus, its gives a leg up to their fledgling family member, all but ensuring its success.

Hell, HBO could rerun old eps of "Tic Tac Dough" at 10 p.m. on Sundays and have it smash.

But what about us? The "Deadwood"-deprived? Cocksuckin' hooples take away our fucking diurnal viewing ritual, and then walk away into the thoroughfare without so much as a "fare-thee-fuckin'-well." I'd be of a mind to twelve-point them cocksuckers in front of all their fuckin' commiserates, to instill the fuckin' lesson and keep none from the delusion that my fuckin' caprices can be lightly fucked with.

Bottom line is, I have to wait until Dirt-Worshipping-Heathen Summer for new episodes, while I'm jonesing now. American Idol -- you better taste good for the rest of this season.

I also love that Al Swearengen used to be the man they called "Lovejoy" (above).

"Forget it, Jake..."

"It's Chinatown."

What a perfect, disheartening ending to as flawless a flick as the 1970s were able to produce. I am compelled to re-watch "Chinatown" once every three to five years (as I did last night), just to sit back and marvel at the craft that went into making it. To think, Bob Evans, Polanski, and Bob Towne all have to be on the same page -- and then they had to cast it with two of the most electrifying actors of the era, Nicholson and Dunaway. Everything works, every last bit of it.

Towne remarked that a lot of noirish detective stories revolve around a dame or a gold bird, but none of them centered on water -- or power, more appropriately. Towne crosses the streams of detective fiction and urban L.A. lore, and that is precisely why this movie works so well -- you're watching a fait accompli of how modern L.A. came to be, with only Jake Gittes standing in the way of bad men -- in total futility (this was the '70s after all).

I get tranced-down watching Polanski shoot Dick Sylbert's sunlight-tinged production values; L.A. has rarely ever looked sexier or more dangerous. Jack is handsome; Faye is glamorous; John Huston menacing.

I love this movie so much I want to relocate to Canada and wed it in a "Same-Movie Marriage" ceremony that their permissive, leftist, Mapleist culture allows.

Can't be all that bad

So, my guy who hands out cards on the corner of Exchange and Wall Street was back this morning after what seemed like a month-and-a half absence. Good, at least that piece of the space-time continuum is reliably working.

But -- "Big Momma's House II" had the second biggest January opening weekend ever, perhaps as great a sign as any that this spaceship Earth is being readied for terraforming by a CO2-breathing, UV-eating alien race tired of our bungled stewardship of the planet.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Dangerously Gifted

Ever want to read butterscotch pudding? Well, I've found a way to get as close to that synathesiatic (sp?) experience without ever reaching for a spoon -- just go out and read all twelve issues of "Astonishing X-Men" that Joss Whedon has written, two discreet story arcs called "Gifted" and "Dangerous." Like a breath of fresh 1978 air, Whedon and art collaborator John Cassaday manage to distill what made the X-Men so great during the initial heady days of Christopher Claremont (don't act like you don't know who he is) and put their own distinct spit-polish on the X-Men for 2005 (er... 2006).

Whedon's well-known for his gift of gab, and a hugely-cast book like X-Men has always thrived when being plied with a talking-head style. Each character has an authoritative voice, so even if the panel was blurred and all you saw was the balloons, there'd be no mystery who had the conch shell. Paired with the voice, of course, is a "studied easiness" in dealing with each character -- they read more like "them" then they've ever have in years. Maybe even decades.

It's not nostaglia -- it's solid craftsmanship, respectful of the best years of Marvel's life (Claremont-Cockrum/Byrne) while doing something all-new, all-different.

Man got me by my blue collar

Damn factory I work in, squeezing us-guys down our deepest tissues to get the last drop of blood to fill their larders with.

How much mixed imagery is that?

Cranking this bitch up back in November, I made a solemn vow on the crystalline grave of Jor-El that I would pitch at least three distinct posts a day, some of them mediocre, others of them mediocre, but at least I would keep kicking my legs so that the "Open Water" sharks of graphological inertia wouldn't get me.

Instead, what do I get? Three solid days of toil for a nameless, faceless, corporate entity whos managerial prowess makes Mr. Spacely look like Jack Welch. The upshot is that I've had little latitude to have thoughts or bodily functions of my own, and that's pretty much precluded any creative writing of my own.

Got to find someway to grab back my blue collar from the capitalist barony for whom I fief full-time. I think I'll bring an Uzi to the next Christmas party.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bad fish

The op-ed page of the New York Times had sort of a backhanded recognition of Long Island today, seeing as to how Joey, Amy, and Mary-Jo have dredged themselves up out of the peaty mire and sold a reunion meeting to TV -- and the execrable Billy Joel is playing a record-breaking string of sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden this week.

With such luminous examples, how could you not be coruscating with pride about your Long Island origins? I can't distance myself far enough from that sandy spit of land, what with its (mostly) provincial populace who bear an overwhelming urge to destroy every tract of open space to sate their primal lust for expensive condos and Genovese drug stores.

Scorn, scorn...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chris Penn, RIP

Motherfucker! Chris Penn?! No fucking way! "Reservoir Dogs" Chris Penn? "True Romance" Chris Penn? Sean Penn's bro Chris Penn? Say it ain't fucking so!

The look of entitlement

If I have to suffer through cataloging reams of photos of entitled, fat, bald, white men in Beverly Hills, then everyone does too. I present to the world the 2006 Eclipse Awards, a room full of Caucasoid capitalists congratuating each other over dinners of transfat-rich food on how well their fucking horses ran around an oval.

The GDP of Haiti went into planning and catering this thing, I'll bet -- but the worst thing is the smug look on these fat bastards' faces.

Get a grip, Scurry... stifle, Edith.

UPN and WB to merge

Excuse me as I wipe the generous slather of spittle off my chin from unrestrained, fanatic excitement. I guess that makes it easier for me to NOT watch "Gilmore Girls" and "South Beach" if they'll both be in the same place.

Scene from a livery cab

Getting a ride from a garrulous EMT who moonlights as a livery driver, on Sunday night:

"This one night this guy is getting angry at me on the way back from Newark airport because his plane is late, so he's calling me 'nigger,' and blaming me for the flight being late, and yelling at me and giving me abuse, which isn't right, so I just drop him off on the side of the road and tell him to wait for another car to pick him up, because I don't have to have to take that abuse and listen to the 'n' word about the color of my skin."

A few beats pass by...

"But I got into an accident recently, and I was told to get a lawyer, so I got the best lawyer, you want to know why my lawyer is? I got a Jewish lawyer, and they're the BEST lawyers because they suck 'em dry for all their money, so I got a lot of money from the settlement. You ever need a lawyer, make sure you get a Jewish lawyer."

The only time a major sport will be mentioned here

Unless the New York Rangers win a Stanley Cup again in my lifetime...

Pittsburgh Penguins superstar center Mario Lemieux is hanging it up for the second time, after coming out of retirement in 2000. Maybe I'm a little bitter as a Ranger fan who has seen his team depantsed for decades by the man, but I can't get weepie-rific about this. It can be said (by me) of Lemieux that he had the best hands -- the best skill -- of any man to ever play in this league. He had the most accurate pass and shot of the puck, ever. Ever -- Gretzky may have had brain-power, Clarke may have had muscle, Messier may have had heart, Hull may have had velocity, but no one had the sheer skill of Lemieux.

He could have been the greatest of all time -- but he isn't. Far from it. He was great, but never the best -- even though it was in his power to be. He never looked like he had the hunger for the game like Gretz, and Mess, and Trots, and Clarkie. Lemieux never applied 100% of his faculties to the game, be it because of injury, disease, hardship (and he's had plenty of each) or simply because it's not in his character. Lemieux was a taciturn leader, not given to speeches and big bursts of personality. His English is quietly accented with his native French, and his speeches and answers never contained fire or enthusiasm -- just soft, lilting tones from a withdrawing, shy man from Montreal.

Of course, there's what seems apparent from the viewer's vantage-point and what is apparent from a colleague's vantage-point. I'm not sure you'll ever hear too many past teammates of Lemieux's acclaiming his leadership brand, and for the record, they won't ever have to. Lemieux singlehandedly carried two good Pittsburgh teams to Stanley Cup wins, legendary exploits unto themselves. But a likely third Cup, the 1993 championship, eluded him and his team as they were stymied by the inferior upstart Islanders. The next few years, his Pens were good -- good enough to get to the third round a few times -- but were never a serious threat for the Cup.

Lemieux will be remembered for his prodigious skill -- but also, for his lack of full commitment to the game.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Reinforcing what we already know

I love this whole Heather Graham canceled-sitcom dealie going on over there at the Alphabet. The AP story says it all: Why throw (literally) millions into an ad campaign to plaster this show all over town, only to yank it after one showing? Is the gulf between creative and marketing over at ABC so wide that no one actually WATCHED the show they had so much "faith" in?

What's most satisfying about this imbroglio are the twin sounds from the initial *thud* of this thing slapping the marble tile after critics caught sight of it, and then the *plunge* as an entire season of the show was tossed over into the murky drink by clueless programming execs.

Of course, there is also the obviousnesshood that Heather Graham has the thespianic ability of a bale of flax, and that aside from her relentlessly yoga-ed rack, Hollywood can't find a place to put her where viewers will actually want to see her. I mean, if The Eye can find a way to sell JLH to the "Diagnosis Murder" crowd, surely there must be some conceptual genius who can work a miracle with the equally limpid and flavorless Graham.

Not that she even deserves it -- I mean, how can a flick like "Killing Me Softly," directed by the estimable Chen Kaige and LOADED with full frontal from Heather, go straight to DVD? I'm guessing it wasn't the Joe Fiennes snakebite at work.

Say yes to drugs

The news is the same -- in Iowa, the police drove away the meth kitchens, but people still find ways to score the stuff, namely purer shit from Mexico. We "get" very little in this country when it comes to dope. It's awesome that our authorities kill off the supply in one place, thinking that's the thing that'll stop drug abuse. Anyone stop to think about the causes of self-medication? Is it lack of ingenuity, or chronically underfunded/unimaginitive law enforcement?

What Susan Orleans' huge house teaches me

Why do I get upset reading about Susan Orlean's huge house in the New York Times? Am I upset about the conspicuous consumption -- or is it the lack of awareness in Orlean of the precious surroundings she's ensconced within?

No, I think it's deeper. Psychologically (stay with me, boogelly!) I must still think that I'm some poor, lower-middle class Marxist fist-shaker lobbing jagged pieces of schist at the frosted glass and delicate wainscotting of the better heeled, trying to make Jack Welch feel guilty about the kind of wealth he's stockpiled. Turn the rangefinder of my bolt-action sniper rifle around 180º, though, and I find that I can no longer claim to be dispossessed and downtrodden (as I might have fancied my upbringing to be, which is pretty much buttressed by fact).

I have done the calculus: I'm bourgeois now, too much so to get aimlessly angry at people who are, now I find out, much like me. Or, I'm like them; whate'er. Point is, my income and my station and intimates are all rarified now, and the things I enjoy in life are, in fact, the Susan Orleans home, the five-year-old sheep gouda, and the Thomas Pink shirt.

Shake a fist at me, me! You tell him!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Caught a few minutes of "Alexander"

That thing FUCKING SUCKED. Oliver Stone should have his DGA card torched in front of him by Roger Corman. It was so bad it was bad, not good again. It makes Uwe Boll look like Billy Fucking Wilder in comparison. The makeup was terrible, the stunts were boring, and Colin Farrell has all the gravitas of Fred Travalena addressing a joint session of Congress.

It fucking sucked, really.


Based on the last two posts, I should just categorize everything in this webspace in one of two ways: "Cinema" and "Scorn."

What a jerk

This guy wants to freeze his body and be thawed when they find a cure for whatever kills him -- not novel anymore, but the trick of putting his vast millions into a trust to himself so that he wouldn't be a pauper in the future? That takes a little something extra in the dickishness column, to say "fuh-you" to his progentors and leave his fortune to... himself.

Good thing, too, because there won't be any fat white entitled capitalists in the future, so far as we know. What's the word we have for vain douschebags like him? Oh yeah -- jerk.

(Headcut used without permission of the Wall Street Journal.)

Tom Jane is Stander

Just put 2002's "Stander" in the Netflix queue... I wish I had gotten a chance to see it back when it was in theatrical release. I'm fascinated by Thomas Jane -- I don't think I've ever caught a bad performance by him. His big break was as Dirk Diggler's foil Todd Parker in "Boogie Nights," and he was terribly charismatic in that one. He even leant credibility to execrable dreck like Renny Harlin's "Deep Blue Sea," a movie that's more remembered for biting Samuel L. Jackson in half.

In fact, Jane is so cool he was able to convincingly play The Mick in "*61," teaming up beautifully with Barry Pepper, who played Maris. People jabber about heirs to Steve McQueen, but I think that any conversation on the subject that doesn't include Jane is off the mark. (I also have to add to that convo the wonderful Damian Lewis, who is both cool and a dead ringer for McQueen -- but he's a note for another day.) I even went so far as to drop "The Punisher" into my queue, not only because of my unerring faith in Jane but because he seems to be a good fit for the comic book character.

Speaking of comics, who knew Jane was a comic buff? He's hard at work writing a miniseries called "Bad Planet" for Image Comics. Is there anything he can't do?

Regrettably, this means that similarly-blonde-but-nonetheless-talented Aaron Eckhart loses his job. Sorry, Aar, but the last thing I remember you in was "Paycheck," and its namesake seemed to be the only reason you read that script.

Peter Sarsgaard was tentative

Peter Sarsgaard didn't seem to be the ideal host coming into Saturday Night Live, and the suspicion was to be borne out pretty quickly. He had a sporting opening monologue where he sent up his rep for portraying creepy, edgy loners, but afterwards, it went downhill. I would usually be prone to blaming some of the loss leaders on staff (Finesse, Horatio) for blowing the odd skit or two, but Sarsgaard looked tentative and uncomfortable out there -- it's like asking Gabriel Byrne to introduce the new Busta video on MTV's Direct Effect.

Worse yet, there were a few scenes that were blown by bad camerawork, like the "Cat Fancy" sketch where the boom-mike came into frame (a scene that already seen Sarsgaard blow a few lines) and the hotel TV sketch, where you actually saw a GRIP'S HEAD come into view as he was dropping a prop into the scene.

Also, wondering why they resurrected Horatio's blowsy blonde, Carol, from the Colin Farrell orgy sketch last year. It was passable the first time, but DOA this time. Have to call shenanigans on the Target clerk character -- it didn't do anything last time, and it was equally inert tonight. And "Gays in Space?" Mortifying and embarrassing, and this was at least the third time we've seen it.

Bright spot -- the Lonely Island guys' Chuck Norris digi short, with MVP Andy Samberg as Chuck hisself. UPDATE: Here is the video... funny as all shite.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I deem it... OVER.

As fast as it came in, it leaves - I declare the use of the Brokeback Mountain quote, namely, "I wish I could quit you [insert name into the blankety-blank]," null and void. It's turned into 2006's "I'm Rick James, bitch!" and we're only at January 21.

I wish we could keep it, but you've abused it, people. Next time there's a catchy pop-cult phrase on the horizon, please use responsibly and with moderation. Hey-yah!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I love movies!

But I HATE this quiz site, because I fucking suck at this game.

Tony Franciosa dies

Which, in and of itself, is not terribly noteworthy, but it reminds me of the "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" episode 401, "Space Travelers" wherein Joel and Crow T. Robot keep confusing castmember Franciosa for his contemporary James Franciscus, as a withering Tom Servo constantly corrects them. Good times...

Boy, I find myself missing MST3K more and more as the years tick by.


Between two people, just seconds ago...

"You see... you see the fag-lovers outside?"


"The fag-lovers. Gay and Lesbian Rights Organization, in front of the building getting signatures."


"Yeah, I told them to go fuck themselves."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What about Emmett?

Emmett McCarthy seems very competent and talented, if not a little nonplussed by some of the stitching he was having to do to compete in a little thing we like to call "Project Runway." Nonetheless, he struck me as something of a maverick, even in a program all fulls-up with mavericks. I don't think that either of these two seasons has ever featured a menswear designer (which, it seems, was the aspect that might have figured towards his downfall in this week's ice-skating leotard ep).

His head-tipped-down stride, the pitched cap, the lanky build (homeboy even made the electric magenta ice-skater smock work)... all very interesting - it makes me wonder what his designs look like. More to the point, I want samples. If you've Googled yourself, Emmett, and are reading this folderol, know that I've signed up for your e-mail newsletter and will pay a visit to your shingle in NoLIta as soon as you get it up and running. This may look like naked greed/begging, but I prefer to think of it as synergy, in the best Abramoffian sense of the word.

Industry insider

I may take meetings. I may go to Urth Café on Melrose. I may see my old pals Jack and Warren up in the Hills. I should bop onto the Paramount lot to check up on a few projects I have buzzing - after I score an In-N-Out burger or three. I'll look up Eisner to make sure the old boy is doing OK after the acrimony. When it gets dark, I'll call my pal Rande and see if my corner table at Sky Bar is available. Then we'll drop into the Belushi suite at the Chateau to see if the furniture is as I remember.

L.A. - one of my new favorite places, a thrill I only discovered last year. The good-man Rich is kind enough to allow use of his three-seater for The Salad to rest his jet-lagged husk, and his Culver apartment as home base. I've been to many cities that vibrate with energy (and some that haven't - I'm looking at you, Greensboro, N.C.) and there is an immediate kinship that Los Angeles shares with my adopted homeworld of Nueva Jork. They are not at all similar to one another, but they are also exactly the same.

The one thing that Los Angeles has that New York doesn't is the constant din of show business - on every corner, in every parched fountain, in every palm tree. The deceitful lure of fortune/fame seeps into my fair skin and burns with the intensity of the U.V. heat that blankets the desert metropolis. After 24 hours in downtown L.A. last year, I was ready to trade in my Polo and loafers for rainbow suspenders and an accordion on Venice Beach - that's how powerful the feeling of all-I-need-to-do-is-make-my-art-and-I'll-score-fame-and-that-Armenian-chick's-phone-number actually is.

My hard-core relations love to defame the City of Angels, and perhaps their associated derision of The Salad is correct... but for five days in March, I'll be right, and they'll be wrong.

Super-Fun-Pak Comics

A detail from this week's edition of Ruben Bolling's weekly brilliant strip...

Welcome Back ’sama

Hey, Osama bin Laden is back! With the whole issuing of the new audiotapes and all that! Just in time to head off the odd critic here and there in America's more conservative papers who suggested he might dead because of the lapse in communiques from New Caveford (a tonier suburb of Dankrockington where bin Laden resides). But, I guess that flattening a few Pakistani houses with a Sidewinder missile will irritate the big guy.

What's telling about bin Laden's new dealie is that his exact words are that heightened security measures aren't the reason for no attacks there since 9/11 - instead, the reason is "because there are operations that need preparations, and you will see them."

Is there a New Yorker who doesn't believe his rationale for the lack of attacks?

Not there

My guy, the guy who's handing out cards for some mail order gift company, hasn't been at his post on the corner of Wall and Exchange for at least two months. Has something gone wrong? He says, "You're gonna like this one," and I was all ready to like this one into the New Year... and now, not.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The salty aroma of chicken soup wafts by

Yet, its origin is unknown - there is no soup being consumed anywhere on the floor here.



I see Nixzmary's family members and family friends in front of every TV camera and tabloid reporter who came to the girl's funeral, weeping about how she was an angel and how she was taken from them by a monster.

How is it that nobody inside stopped the torture before she died?

Can't blame a municipal agency for a child's death - by default, it's too complex a thing to legislate/moderate bureaucratically. Besides, an agency will do just about anything other than remove a child from a biological parent, no matter how bad the abuse gets (sadly). Or, they will do nearly nothing at all, which is what happened here.

On Nixaliz Santiago: Twenty years after Lisa Steinberg and Hedda Nussbaum, the battered woman rationale doesn't seem enough to spare you from legal punishment, even though I'm positive you've lived a punishing life thus far. Nameless and indescribable things happened in that house, things that switched off a mother's child-preservation instinct - another great tragedy among tragedies.

No amount of punishment to either Santiago or Cesar Rodriguez will undo the damage to that dead girl.

"Unshrink you?"

"Well that would require some sort of a 'Re-Bigulator,' which is a concept so ridiculous it makes me want to laugh out loud and chortle... but, ahhh, but not at you, O Holiest of Gods with the wrathfulness and the vengeance and the blood-rain and the 'hey-hey-hey-it hurts me.' "

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Grisly man

If you haven't seen "Grizzly Man" yet, make sure to do just that soon. I hadn't realized that Werner Herzog wasn't just making a movie about the bizarre death of a bizarre man in Alaska - rather this is an excellent chronicle of self-invention and re-invention that makes its case with the footage TIm Treadwell himself created. Part confessional... no, ALL confessional, Herzog has gathered and cut enough of Treadwell's tapes to show that the self-styled Grizzly Man was a classic American work-in-progress, someone who had little direction in life (and not much of an Ego, either) and fell into drugs and booze after washing out as a mediocre actor.

The intimation by Herzog is that the guy "miraculously" transferred his addiction (vis a vis a borderline personality) from chemicals to "protecting" the bears of Alaska - much the same way Born-Again Christians claim to be able to kick addiction by finding Christ, with little explanation of where the chemical longing goes, or for that matter, any analysis of why they were hooked to begin with. Treadwell is an electrifying figure, if only for his constant reengineering of his personae on-screen, staging multiple "takes" of seemingly natural footage of him in the woods. Like Neal Gabler's Life - The Movie, Treadwell's sentimental idea of what life and nature are supercede actual factual reality, and that tragic miscalculation costs him his life... and his head, to the jaws of a massive Kodiak bear.

As an amateur ecologist, I have to say that for a guy who claimed to be saving bears, he sure did them a ton of harm (13 years worth) by constantly habituating them to humans, a grand error that removes their fear of Man.

Another chilling episode of... THE OMINOUS FOREBODING!

"Oh my GOD!"

'What IS that?"

"I can't bear to watch!"

"The waiting is killing me!"

"Excuse me, but what are you waiting for?"

"That thing, over there!"

"Yikes! What the hell is that?!"

"There's no way of knowing for sure - but it draws e'er closer!"


Tune in next week for the next chilling installment of... THE OMINOUS FOREBODING!

The King of Broken Lives

I think about how Budweiser, the country's best selling form of alcohol, must be at heart of countless beatings, cheatings, and emotionally hurtful whatnots. Since a great many folks use the juice to self-medicate, and seeing as to how ’Weiser is practically a cousin to many families, I can't see how getting sauced off the longneck bottle in the USA and hitting your wife wouldn't be intertwined. It's a fraud that liquor is somehow exempt from being thought of as a so-called "bad drug" in our Puritanically-obsessed "bad drug" culture. Moreso, Bud consumption seems encouraged... thus the calculus of what happens to people after the buzz is get-on (more to the abused than the abuser) seems eerily simple.

So thanks, Budweiser, for creating future abusive drunks tomorrow in the crucible of Bud-drunk-terrorized homes today.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Misdirected attention

Don't know if I can entirely support the 2006 raft of Golden Globies, if only because they point the way for Oscar. As much as I liked "Brokeback Mountain," I didn't see it as having a huge "Best Picture" pedigree, save Ang Lee's direction. It was good, but it also felt like a "small" movie... but I suppose after "Million Dollar Scabees" last year, the Academy electorate will quizzically give Oscars to any old bag of shit that they seem to fancy when the ballots drop in. (I refer you to Inside the Hollywood Star Chamber at Fametracker for more insight into the complex voting process.)

What we're really trying to say is, "Yeah, we at the Salad Bowl are still mightily bitterly angrily over the nigh-complete Oscar blackballing of 'Sideways,' far and away the best flick made over the past two years. Or, as my editor calls it, 'The wine movie.' "

All That Memoir

At the terminus of a week all fill-up with memoir turmoil, my NetFlix queue tossed me, appropriately enough, 1979's "All That Jazz," Bob Fosse's big-screen memoir. I suppose the book has been written on Fosse, and there is little of his life that hasn't already been given over to public consumption. Suffice it to say, he isn't flattering to himself at all, and Roy Scheider's bravura performance as the director's alter-ego (Oscar-nommed) is the ingenious device Fosse had going for him in making this movie "sound" true. The pills, the women, the work, the vaccuum in his soul - it's all there on the widescreen, plus a few jazz-hands and bare tits for good measure.

I guess Fosse wasn't playing with a net (a leitmotif in the film itself) in that any falsifications would've had people coming out of the woodwork to call shenangans on him, not least of all Ann Reinking (playing herself). Where James Frey failed, Fosse excels: No self-aggrandizement, yet still a hard piece of self-criticism.

While I'm on the subject of Fosse, I'm still irritated by the popular reception the mediocre adaptation of "Chicago." That movie sucked, and Catherine Zellweger-Jones were middling. Richard Gere was a joke. Rob Marshall is WAAAAY overrated. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say "the musical" is a bastard artform - if the story was strong enough, you don't need people clicking their heels and waving their arms like jackasses to get the audience's attention; if the music was so good, you wouldn't need overwrought drama to augment it. My peeve applies to most every musical produced, with the notable exception of "Forbidden Zone." Wiki it.

Cold opening

Saturday Night Live led off this past weekend's show with an unprecedented "TV Funhouse" cartoon - and a funny one at that, featuring a Pat Robertson children's Bible group where he explains how God struck down not only Ariel Sharon, but also Lou Rawls, Dick Clark, and others suffering calamity in the last few weeks. I can only guess that this decision was in predicated by the response to the claymation TV Funhouse they ran in the Jack Black ep "Christmastime For the Jews". Also noted was the early/often appearances of Andy Samberg, SNL's new pop-culture hero. Don't be surprised to see him boink in often throughout the remainder of the season.

As for the host, ScarJo was game and giving, a real sport. She and her rack gave their all, and she showed off comedic chops in the "Sweet 16" and "Chandelier World" sketches.

Also, it's time to spike the "Taco Town" commercial. Its third rerun was staler than stale, bitches.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Life mirrors "The Simpsons"

After reading this excellent Slate.com reduction of Frey-Gate by Meghan O'Rourke, I'm reminded of an episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer is being pilloried for supposedly making a move on the underage babysitter. At one point, the accuser (who knows she's bullshitting everyone) musters some crocodile tears for the audience of a Sally Jessy-type show as the host remarks, "Your tears mean more than real evidence ever could."

The acceptance of James Frey's confabulations = "If a book moves you, it's true."


I need to know Chinese. Haven't decided on whether to learn Mandarin, Gan, Huainan, Jin, Kejia, Min, Pinghua, Wu, Xiang or Cantonese in particular. What do they speak downtown? Where do the majority of New York Chinese come from? What about Flushing? Anyway, print publishing sucks, and the New York Times will never let me anywhere near the building in my present shape of career dishevelment. I figure that fluency in Chinese will make me an asset to any workplace looking to compete on a global marketplace, and other "Apprentice"-type meaningless aphorisms.

More the the point, it will make me more likeable as a person, in social situations. Break it down:

Person A: "Hello, party-goer."

Me: "Greetings, fellow mirth-enjoyer."

Person A: "I couldn't help but notice how much your stand apart from the rest of the revelers at this function."

Me: "Why is that?"

Person A: "Your burnished personal charm, owing to being fluent in a so-called 'exotic' Sinitic dialect."

Me: "Thank you."

Person A: "You're welcome."

My horizons will now be enormous, along with the potential for total, spiritual consciousness. Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga.

Pun Headline!

Topical reference... name of obscure celebrity mixed with unlikely scenario. Humorous activity that results in embarrassment - snarky observation based on same. (Editorial aside and attempt to be clever.)

Abrupt subject change that will eventually lead back to original idea. Non-sequitur reference to a television show viewed as a youth, an overt gesture to establish generational kinship with like-minded reader. Blending of nostalgic reference with additional unlikely idea, towards a subtle comedic intent.

Call-back reference to original idea combined with intimated violence by garden implement!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Justice, served?

Looks like the posturing of Leahy, Kennedy, and Biden was little more than a pump-fake in the quick process of letting Alito slide into a Supreme Court Justice appointment. Big talk, guys - so glad you put the screws to this cypher and managed to not get a single credible admission out of him on how he's going to mangle our country's law.

Look for Alito in Larry King next, where the REAL hard stuff is coming...

The Oscar and Robert Altman

Bob Altman is scoring an honorary Oscar this year. This is a big deal, because Altman is Hollywood royalty who has as much to do with the shape of Hollywood filmmaking post-1967 as anyone still working. When I read the dispatch, I wondered how his amazing ouevre managed to NOT win an Oscar, what with "M*A*S*H," "California Split," "Nashville," "Brewster McCloud," etc. to his credit.

Not only that, but two of the bonafide best movies of the last fifteen years - "The Player" and "Gosford Park" - came from Altman, proof that his skill has not waned like many of his contemporaries.

I suppose one should closely consider the way he re-shaped Hollywood alongside his class of young turks, the so-called "New Generation" (rivetingly chronicled in Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls). Out went Sirk, Berkeley, DeMille, Ford and other standard-bearers of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and in came Scorcese, Nicholson, Rafelson, Beatty, and a piles and piles of coke, the new rulers of showbiz. (Interestingly, among their ilk Altman was something of an old man working with the kids, a full 10-15 years older than most of his contemporaries.)

Is it possible that Academy voters would have a career-long grudge with most of the guys who pissed on their legacy - men (almost exclusively male, at least) who flew into town on wings of unsentimentality and "realness," eager to toss aside the fusty business of their forebears and jack it up with equal parts speed and post-Summer of Love cynicism? Maybe it's the fact that Altman was a mean drunk who fucked anything that moved, and poisoned countless working relationships for decades with his liquor-fueled midsbehavior. Point is, there seems to be any number of personal reasons to have sat on Altman Oscars through the years (I don't have time to research what actually won against his better efforts), and in doing so, the Academy of Motion Picture voters prove again that they are short-sided pricks who base little of their vote on the art of film, but rather on what the culture of filmmaking looks like.

Why an honorary Oscar, and not an actual reward for any one of a number of eminently worthy films?

On This Day In History!

On Jan. 12, 1750 B.C., King Hammurabi of Babylon decides to add a line to his judicial code that forbids "paying a lot for this muffler." It is later stricken after his death, because the muffler was not yet invented.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The emotional truth

I just watched a very painful performance by one prevaricator/fabricator James Frey on Larry King earlier this evening, and the nearest I can relate the experience to is watching a Bush press conference. Sure, you might confuse King with Jennie Finch by their uncanny ability to toss slow, underhand softballs - but even by that criterion, Frey slipped up any number of times by my estimation. SWING AND A MISS!

King opened up the hour by addressing the controversy head-on: Namely, that large swaths of A Million Little Pieces are fabricated and embellished. They showed the Smoking Gun guys on a CNN morning dealie reiterating their research, and they showed Ohio law enforcement backing up the Smoking Gun dudes, refuting Frey. Frey's defense - fall back on poorly-coached talking points, in particular, that the "emotional truth of the book" transcends fact. He never denies it was embellished, erroneous, or infactual... whatever was in that book adhered to society's definition of "memoir," which apparently holds room for both "fiction" and "crazy make-em-ups."

Bottom-line: He has no answers; he has no regrets; the book has "emotional truth" that has saved countless lives; the two airhead callers were saps from the heartland strained for maximum pathos; the book saved countless lives; Oprah still loves him even though she can't vouch for the technical accuracy of the book; and the book can be used as a food source for poor, starving, inaccurate Africans.

Where did that pie come from?

Hey. That pie looks tasty.

Is it apple? Hmm... looks like apple. Grid top.

Could be cherry.. I wonder who put it here. Is it for everyone in Accounts Payable? Because, I think they have one in Quality Assurance, too.

Looks good. I'll just cut a slice, then.

Funny how food just mysteriously materializes in the kitchen at work... if aliens wanted to come to Earth and implant Donald Sutherland pods into everyone, they should just take the form of fruit-plates and quiches left out at work. No one ever seems to question where the mystery comestibles come from - they just eat it, without question.



This? This is what we get? James Frey talking to Larry King (left) of all people to clear the air with him and the bookbuying public? I know that we'll be watching at 9 p.m. tonight, and will accordingly expect NO satisfaction from neither the interrogator nor the interrogatee.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I smell cucumber...

...But there aren't any around me.

Out-of-gamut error

OK, I guess the whole Neil Strauss/Jenna Jameson partnership thing sticks in the Times' heads - they sent some guy named Matt Richtel to toss a little salad at the AVN Awards in Las Vegas. Really, the only reason to skim this shorticle is for the lines:

-"The category was best multiperson sex-scene,"

-"Best feature... went to 'Pirates,' a... story of a group of ragtag sailors who go searching for a crew of evil pirates who have a plan for world domination. Also, many of the characters in the movie have sex with one another."

Hearing the Old Grey Lady shuck and jive for a synonym for "gangbang" is like, well, hearing an old grey lady do the same.

The comic that'll make you read more comics

Gender reassignments and bloated sequels aside, the dudes at Burlyman Entertainment are very good at their core strength - blowing shit up. After the "Matrix" franchise fizzled, the Wachowski bros turned their energies towards a pair of comic books that involved collaboration with their Matrix storyboarders, the inimitable Steve Skroce and Geof Darrow. For Darrow, they write "Shaolin Cowboy" (tongue-in-cheek ultraviolence, stunningly rendered), and for Skroce, "Doc Frankenstein."

"Doc" is the reason we live and breathe in a beautiful world - compressed, cinematic action drawn with an eye to the celluloid frame as guidance. Everything that happens is so BIG, so HYPERBOLIC, so CRAZY. The concept presupposes that Frankenstein's monster survives in the arctic and spends the convening centuries on vision-quest, eventually emerging as a humanist non-pareil. His superpowered brain (and body) are responsible for stunning leaps in technology, from the steam engine to atomic power - all offered for the betterment of mankind (Doc's laying down for mankind is one of the Christ metaphors the Wachowskis weave up in this).

Conflict is driven in the form of "organized" religion - organized into a heavily armed legion intent on destroying Doc, the "satanic abomination of nature." Faith versus science, man versus machine, humanist versus deist - there's plenty of sinewy themes for the Wachowskis chew on. The only drawback to this book is the 10 months it's taken them to publish four lousy issues. Since they come so sparingly each ish must be savored, like truffles.

Ish four will hit the shelves of comic shops on either this Wednesday, the next, or one of any successive Wednesdays to come - there's no schedule s'far as I know. Bummer. This deserves to sell tens of thousands monthly.


All this J.T. Leroy and James Frey stuff is making my head spin. Maybe it's because I live with an author who has a lot riding on bookbuyers' consumer confidence. Maybe it's because there is a (presumed) faking of AIDS, which has been a hot-button topic at the homestead these days. Also, I started thinking about Stephen Glass and his attempt at capitalizing on his fabulism in The Fabulist, which if I recall correctly, was not fabulously received.

I guess this is also a way to recommend Billy Ray's 2003 flick Shattered Glass, a suspenseful yarn of deceit and lies. Deceit and lies, I say!

There is also the meanie-gene inside me that wants to squash Frey and the Leroy fabricators beneath a falling piano... I don't think we have a satisfactory organ in society to shame people like this. What's worse, they've already made trillions of dollars off of us - so it seems the jackasses win.

Monday, January 09, 2006


INT: A sun-dappled office, mid-day Sunday. BILL sits tapping away at iMac, and in walks MINKY.

MINKY: Meow.

BILL: Hey Mink, what's going on?

MINKY: I was just out here playing with that plastic binding strip from the package you guys got a month ago...

BILL: Right - you and Velvet really look into that.

MINKY: Yeah, it's bunches of fun. Actually, Poppy, I actually came into here to ask you something.

BILL: Well, what's on your mind, Mink?

MINKY: It's not like I can read or anything, but from what I hear you and Mommy talking about, there's a lot of blogging between the two of you.

BILL: Sure, something your mother and I are both enjoying at the moment.

MINKY: OK, but from what I can tell, there's very little about me up there that doesn't involve some sort of shame.


MINKY: Yeah. (grooms himself)

BILL: And you feel that's unfair.

MINKY: Wouldn't you?

BILL: What would you prefer?

MINKY: Again, I can't really read, but I bet you're punching up some hagiography of Leonard Nimoy into that computer-thingie up there with my noseprints on it.

BILL: That's... uh... no. Um... it's about DeForest Kelly - how did you know that?

MINKY: Please. I may have a pointy grey head and a brain the size of a walnut, but you're not that sly as bipeds go. We took prop bets against future Pounce treat allowances last week over which ’80s cartoon whose instant nostalgia you would rail against first. Leo guessed "Silverhawks," and won.

BILL: I thought you said you couldn't read?

MINKY: I can't, but Velvet's time on Mommy's lap in front of her iBook is paying off... when she's able to stop chasing the cursor. (rolls on back and stretches)

BILL: What's your point?

MINKY: I have two. First, I'd like to see more Mink-positive posts.

BILL: And?

MINKY: And I'd like - we'd ALL like - if you'd play with us with that red laser pointer Mommy keeps hidden.

BILL: You get all baseheaded up when I take that thing out.

MINKY: Do you want to sleep past 5:30 any morning this week?

BILL: (beat) Go to your room.


Down with the sickness

I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. While I love the irony that it's Turkey who gets bird flu first in the west, I'm scared something awful of H5N1... I plan to cease all dermis-exposing activities and resort of a hermetic life of long fingernails and urine-bottling.

No more subway-pole licking for me, my friends. Count me out of this shit.

The Up-to-the-Plate Stepping

I am prepared to give 63% today, people! I am prepared to go almost some of the way for the big win! I'm going to talk a big game, and not really deliver! I'm feeling like $76,572! I'm going to give it my some!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Double Feature: The 24-hours-later review/Personal embarrassment

Joe's Pub hosted January's "Heeb Storytelling" thingie on Thursday night, as presented by Heeb magazine, natch. They gots a lot of talent up on that stage: the razorly-funny Susie Essman; the laconic, ironic Michael Showalter; some other Jewish people; and my domestic part-wife-ner. She wrote her own recaplet of the night's proceedings, but suffice it to say, it was a fucking awesome time. Janice ginned up this great distillation of Christmas eve at the girls' homeless shelter she volunteers at, and where everyone else had pretty much resorted to stand-up, she delivered poignancy. Yes, in fact, poignancy. On hand to watch were the Bruceandmickeys and the Dukeandleslies, two wonderful couples we're lucky to call friends.

But I acted against my most primal instinct after the show. I'll explain - I looked for Susie Essman (big fan, for years) to tell her how much I admire her work. Found her, told her - even unearthed a piece of her standup from the early-’90s to show her I'm not some fawning douschebag. I'm a well-referenced fawning douschebag. She arched her eyebrow in recognition of the sweet, sweet science I dropped, but then I fucked up and did the undidable - I asked her to call me a "fat fuck," a la Susie Greene.

Why? Why did I go there? It's SO insulting to ask an artist quip their trademarks on demand... for a herring, like a fucking seal. She entertained it, because she's a sport. Sorry, Suz.

I played it so cool on Mercer Street with Peter Dinklage last week, I swear.

Fake Oscars

Jon Stewart seems like an inspired choice to host the Oscars... seems, I emphasize. But, as opined first by Dana Stevens on Slate.com (in an observation I wish I had made myself), Stewart is unsentimental, whereas the Oscars are WHOLLY built upon sentiment. Chris Rock was funny last year, but out of place - you knew within five minnits that he wouldn't be back in 2006.

Gil Cates is obviously clueless about how to update the show and contemporize that shit, so I would either say JUMP OFF, GIL!, or, go with your gut and get some kind of Hollywood royalty to host up that bitch, like a Glenn Close or a Donald Sutherland. Note, they were the twin V.O. announcers, like, two years ago, and they were perfectly timbre-ed for the jarb. Or Clint! He's steeping in Hollywood sentiment as we speak - that's what keeps his dessicated tissues moist and humidly aromatic. It's a trick he learned from Sergio Leone on set during Fistful of Dollars.

We took a ride out to the country and we hit one of those deers...

"Ma, I need this knife... I just need it for a little while... We hit the deer and his paw - what do you call it? The hoof - got caught in that grill. I got to, I got to hack it off."

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stop the presses!

There's a new "Prick of the Week!" Pat Robertson is the subject of the Salad Bowl's ire once more!

Quote of the month

Courtesy of Rebecca Traister on Salon.com's excellent "Broadsheet" blog:

The Vanity Fair story also quotes Lohan's stage mother from hell, Dina, as saying, "She took it a little too far, maybe ... but it wasn't as bad as it looked." She took it a little too far? Your daughter just told a national magazine that she was on the brink of death, described her siblings calling her in tears, referred to her own body as "disgusting," and admitted that when confronted about her trouble she "just started bawling." Buy a fucking vowel, lady.

Best degraded artform

The Writers' Guild of America script nominations came out today, and my attention buzzed right to the first category:

CINDERELLA MAN, Screenplay by Cliff Hollingsworth and Akiva Goldsman; CRASH, Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco; THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell; GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, Written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov; THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, Written by Noah Baumbach

OK, it's irregular to see Forty-Year-Old Virgin up there next to Good Night and Good Luck, but we'll grant that... "Virgin" was a big ol' football of fun tossed with a tight spiral right at your groin. No, what is even more irregular was the inclusion of another Akiva Goldsman script (Cinderella Man), much like there was in 2001 with A Beautiful Mind - which actually won the best adapted screenplay Oscar that year.

Look closer here - you'll notice that a FUCKING OSCAR was awarded to the screenplay sausage-maker who was responsible for Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, A Time To Kill, Lost In Space, and Practical Magic. Oh, and I, Robot too.

Stunned... by the stunning incongruity... of stunning proportions. How can the man who is (as we speak) singlehandedly destroying the spoken word as it appears on film – like some kind of incurable celluloid dialogue hepatitis - not have had his WGA card torn up, doused with kerosene, and tossed into a blast furnace? Like, back in 1994?

We now return to Law & Order: Ariel Sharon's Massive Hemorrhage, already in progress.