Tyrus Wong 1910-2016




Tyrus Wong was a Disney Legend, one of the influential artists who inspired much of the look and feel of the film Bambi. He was also an immigrant who came to these shores and was treated to racism and discrimination. In spite of all of that, he became a highly respected artist and illustrator.

Simon and Schuster is Making Hate Safe For the Mainstream




I think a boycott of CBS as a whole would be more appropriate, but what do I know?

Yiannopoulos’s payday was met with calls for a boycott of Simon and Schuster’s entire catalogue, which spans 35 imprints, including a call by a literary journal to not review any of the company’s books in 2017.

A representative for the company did not confirm the reported financial advance amount and said they do not comment on those figures. The literary agent working with Yiannopoulos has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast either.

In response to the announcement, The Chicago Review of Books vowed not to review a single Simon & Schuster book in 2017 due to the new book deal. The company typically publishes about 2,000 books per year.

“In response to this disgusting validation of hate, we will not cover a single @simonschuster book in 2017,” the journal announced on its Twitter account.

Some Simon & Schuster authors struggled with the boycott of their own publisher, noting that they don’t agree with Yiannopoulos’ views, but still need to sell books.

“(That face when your) publisher signs a hate troll & people call for a boycott & you’re like well yeah but um,” Simon & Schuster author Michael Robbins wrote on Twitter. “(It’s the) same imprint (that) published Trump’s ‘Crippled America.”

If you're going to take a racist hate monger, and give him a publishing deal, then you have to accept the fact that people are not going to stand for it. If that hurts Les Moonves and the CBS media empire, so be it. Making hate a mainstream product you can buy in stores is not a marketing plan I would want to be a part of. I have no idea what the management at that particular imprint of Simon and Schuster was thinking when they gave this Milo character a quarter of a million dollars. Perhaps they weren't thinking at all.

Everyone and everything surrounding the "Alt Right" is so toxic right now that for a major American media company to lavish money on someone with those ties is absolutely reprehensible. Clearly, this is never going to be acceptable.

There already is a vast "wingnut welfare" infrastructure that publishes this material and puts it into the marketplace. Anti-liberal books were all the rage for years until they stopped selling in adequate numbers. No one is censoring these ideas, but they should be subjected to the marketplace. Whatever a boycott of Simon and Schuster accomplishes is fine by me. You cannot and should not mainstream hate in America and not pay a significant price for it at the cash register.

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016




The Carrie Fisher that I will remember is the one who wrote great, great books and had a small but vital part in The Blues Brothers. That whole Star Wars thing has gotten blown out of proportion. Her work in the theater pretty much ensures that we won't remember her for all of the things she could do, and could do well.

Sing is a Better Movie Than Some Would Have You Believe




Really, what are the standards for an animated film to be considered "good?"

Despite some bad reviews here and here, I actually saw Sing and I thought it was a good movie. I liked it about as much as I liked Zootopia, so if you didn't like that, well, I don't know what to say. This film does not avoid sadness and it does not insult the intelligence of children. Yes, it is fun and upbeat and has some slapstick to it, but it does not avoid telling you that show business sucks most of the time. If I had to point to one thing that allows the film to succeed it is that it arrives without assuming you haven't already seen what goes on behind the scenes at talent shows. It assumes you know that there's going to be conflict and drama.

Sing owes a lot to the animation esthetic at Illumination (the Minion movie, whatever else) and you can easily be dazzled by what you see. It's a rich, diverse tapestry and, a few stereotypes aside, it works very well on the screen. So, relax. You're not going to be ripped off.

Now, having said that, the plot is a mile wide and an inch deep. You know that down on his luck Buster Moon is going to take a fall and climb right back up. You know how the movie will end when the whole thing kicks off, but it's the journey that works. You will not mind the episodic format and you will want to see more of certain characters. There's so much happening in this film that the plot will not bother you at all because you're already seeing all the different ways these characters are looking for some sort of validation.

Somehow, they made Matthew McConaughey lose every bit of Texas from his voice. Somehow, they managed to make Scarlett Johansson not sound exactly like herself but like a teenaged girl instead. Reese Witherspoon and Seth McFarlane are part of a broadly drawn cast of weirdos and misfits and it all somehow works. McFarlane in particular fits into the whole thing like a completely square peg being dropped through the other side of a round hole. He's not even really part of the team, he just kind of floats through this thing like comic relief. And, as always, you're going to wonder why Jennifer Hudson doesn't already have her own damned franchise already.

There's an especially weird diversion towards the end of the second act that involves washing cars and acting loopy and it's absolutely worth the price of admission. The rest I'm not giving away.

 

Oscar Wilde




Oscar Wilde returns to England:

A portrait of the writer Oscar Wilde, which had to be sold off after he was accused of gross indecency, is to return from America for the first time in nearly a century. It will be displayed at Tate Britain, in an exhibition called Queer British Art 1861-1967, which opens in April.

Robert Harper Pennington, an American artist who painted the full-length portrait (1881), gave it to Wilde and his wife Constance as a wedding present in 1884. It was the couple’s most prized possession, hung above the fireplace in their London home. But in 1895 Wilde was arrested and later sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for his homosexual relationship with Alfred Douglas. 

Wilde’s legal expenses led to him being declared bankrupt, and the Pennington portrait had to be sold. Later, in the 1920s, it was bought by a US collector and the portrait was subsequently acquired by the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Are we any more enlightened now than we were in Wilde's time? You can be broken by the law and rendered destitute for less than loving someone nowadays. I think what has changed is that it can happen before Piers Morgan has a chance to open up his puke funnel and comment.

Bootleg Donald Duck




Very well done, and found on the streets of Stuttgart, Germany many years ago.

The Throng Below the Eiffel Tower




This is still one of my favorite photos.

In my opinion, the Eiffel Tower is plenty high enough. This was taken looking down from the first platform. At this time of the year, which was roughly November of 2011, there was a skating rink and some food vendors on that level. We then went up to the second platform. You would think, oh, that's not very high and of course, you have to go to the top.

Nope.

If you go up to the second platform, that's plenty high enough. You do not need to go to the top. I did not go to the top. Oh, hell no.

Abstract Number 109




This is the first set of abstract paintings that I have done in months and I wanted to kick things off with number 109. I'm going to reorganize the abstract painting series into a numerical sequence and really see what I can do to enhance the ones that are out there. It makes sense to offer these for download and for purchase on Society6 and Fine Art America, but don't worry--they're still here and they'll all be available.

Abstract Painting




This is an older painting, and I've renamed and renumbered it. What stands out to me is that this is one of the few that I've done on watercolor paper that really turned out nice in that you can see the three dimensional aspects of the painting.

Birds on Frozen Water




This was shot from the driver's seat of my car one morning when I was stuck in traffic. The impossibly busy pond and the blue effect of the shore in the distance made this work when it really shouldn't have worked at all. I left much of the foreground in the photo because that also seemed to make sense. This particular pond is in Central Maryland, somewhere near Route 1, between Highways 100 and 175 or so.

Cloudy Day




This was discovered in the archives, cleaned up slightly for publication, and re-purposed for modern blogging.

Shot taken on June 22, 2009.

Fiberglass Cow




Turkey Hill Experience, Columbia, Pennsylvania, circa summer, 2015.

Annapolis




"Annapolis" was taken June 30, 2009. This particular shot happened entirely by accident in the marina and was not staged. The two people in the background were not aware of this shot even though they are perfectly positioned to make the photo work. This was just a lucky shot with my old Canon digital camera and has gone completely undiscovered for over seven years.

This photo is "busy" in the sense that the composition seems to be confused. The angles and lines of the boat in the foreground and the positioning of the people in the background makes it look cinematic for a moment, but it really isn't. I think the blue hull of the boat in the upper right hand corner really makes it all come together.

I had gone to Annapolis to see The Church play at Ram's Head Tavern and it was a tough tour for the band. They were supporting Untitled #23 and were going around in two small vans. The show opener, Adam Franklin, was powerful and it was a momentous thing to see him and his band play.

But The Church, still with Marty Willson-Piper at that time, levitated the building. Decades of experience has given them a confident live presence that defies explanation. They filled that room and they played an enormously important set, curated down to the moment and designed to allow them to walk off leaving no one untouched. To hear selections from The Blurred Crusade era was a marvelous experience. The show was heavy on selections from the beginning and end of their catalog.

This photo reminded me of that night, and I didn't even know it existed until a little while ago.

Abstract Bird

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1800.0"] Abstract Bird 0001 Abstract Bird 0001 [/caption]


This is the original, almost completely untouched version of the abstract bird painting that I did earlier this month. It has sat on the desktop, neglected and waiting for the right moment to appear. Why not on the first day of August?

Here are two more versions of the same painting.



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1800.0"] Abstract Bird 0002 Abstract Bird 0002 [/caption]




Comedy Central Fired the Wrong Guy




Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show was never supposed to be as huge as The Colbert Report. To expect that would be unfair since much of the staff went with Stephen Colbert to the Late Show. Wilmore was an important voice for people who we don't hear from enough in the culture. He did everything the right way and there is nothing to criticize him for. No matter how underwhelming his numbers, he did not deserve to be fired before Trevor Noah:

Comedy Central announced Monday it is canceling Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show, and the last episode will air on Thursday. Comedy Central President Kent Alterman said the show has not been resonating with the network’s audience. “Even though we’ve given it a year and a half, we’ve been hoping against hope that it would start to click with our audience, but it hasn’t happened and we haven’t seen evidence of it happening,” Alterman said. Wilmore recently headlined the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he was roundly criticized for using the n-word. Rory Albanese, a comedian who works on the show, tweeted Monday morning: “I’m very proud to have been a part of a show that has been funny, diverse & extremely necessary.”

Noah is the one who doesn't "resonate" with viewers. Why is he being given a pass?

When was the last time anything on the Daily Show was worth blogging about? For me, there has been a glaring omission from the political discussion ever since Jon Stewart stepped down. At least Wilmore understood American politics.

The Tonight Show is Unwatchable




I promise you one glittering, unfettered hot take and only one. The Tonight Show under Jimmy Fallon is infantile and unwatchable.

I realize that this is not a popular opinion, nor will it win me any special acclaim. I also realize that it is based on a very subjective understanding of the medium of television. The Tonight Show was pretty unwatchable under Jay Leno because he played it as the alternative to all of that "mean comedy" that was out there; it was temporarily smart and funny under Conan O'Brien. It went back to being "YouTube" friendly for about a minute under Jay when he took the show away from Conan. Since having it taken away and given to Jimmy Fallon, the show is a childish, ridiculous piece of flaming shit. The show does better in the ratings than Stephen Colbert because nobody wants to watch smart TV anymore.

That's my hot take. And I can remember when Johnny Carson was never there during his last three years because he didn't give a shit. So don't think this is a post like that. The good old days for the Tonight Show ran briefly from the late 1960s until about 1985 or so, and then it went into receivership until Carson was tired of making all that money.

Wonder Woman




Something tells me that DC made a massive mistake by not making the stand-alone Wonder Woman movie before that horrible mess of a Batman against Superman movie:

She’s finally here. After years of false starts, a live-action Wonder Woman movie is coming next summer. Warner Bros. just revealed the first trailer at San Diego Comic-Con to the uproarious excitement of the Hall H crowd, and it. is. perfect.

I would add that movie trailers are really nothing to get excited about, but still. Patty Jenkins has created something that is probably going to blow the genre away. This film has a visual style that will make people wonder why Zack Snyder still gets work. It takes enormous courage for a film to use World War I as a setting, especially since we're more conditioned to other periods in history.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 at San Diego Comic-Con




Well, I won't be in San Diego this weekend, but I will be Earth-bound and dreaming of what's to come from the reboot of MST3K.

This Saturday! Join @JoelGHodgson & the new cast of @MST3K in San Diego for panels, signings & more @Comic_Con! http://mst3k.com/sdcc2016

The wait is driving me a little crazy, but I'm super psyched to have the show back.

Wyatt at the Coyote Palace




Kristin Hersh continues to move the world in her direction. Not content with a mere album, she's releasing a book to coincide with the music she's written and she's going to tour the British Isles in November:

Kristin Hersh returns again to Ireland and the UK for a rare solo tour in support of her highly anticipated new double CD and book, “Wyatt At The Coyote Palace” (Omnibus Press) due out October 4th, a 24 track collection of brand new songs. Pre-orders for “Wyatt” will be available very soon on this site. “Wyatt” is the third release in the groundbreaking book/CD format that Kristin began with her most recent solo album “Crooked” and the Throwing Muses 2013 release “Purgatory/Paradise”. “An Evening with Kristin Hersh” includes readings and songs from her works spanning her entire career.

1 November 2016 – Dundalk, Ireland – Spirit Store – tickets
2 November 2016 – Dublin, Ireland – Pavillion Theatre – tickets
3 November 2016 – Cork, Ireland – Triskel Christchurch – tickets
4 November 2016 – Galway, Ireland – Roisin Dubh – tickets
5 November 2016 – Limerick, Ireland – Dolans Warehouse
7 November 2016 – Portsmouth, UK – Wedgewood Room – tickets
8 November 2016 – Bristol, UK – Lantern Theatre – tickets
9 November 2016 – Exeter, UK – Phoenix – tickets
10 November 2016 – Cardiff, UK – Clwb Ifor Bach – tickets
11 November 2016 – Aldershot, UK – West End Centre
13 November 2016 – Manchester, UK – Gorilla – tickets
16 November 2016 – York, UK – Crescent – tickets
17 November 2016 – Edinburgh, UK – Summerhall
18 November 2016 – Glasgow, UK – Mono – tickets
19 November 2016 – Liverpool, UK – Philharmonic Music Room – tickets
20 November 2016 – Hebden Bridge, UK – Trades Club
21 November 2016 – Norwich, UK – Norwich Arts Center
22 November 2016 – Brighton, UK – Komedia – tickets
24 November 2016 – London, UK – St John in Bethnal Green – tickets
25 November 2016 – Folkestone – Literary Festival – info






Who else has the range and the ability to do something like this? 

Disney's Cinderella Castle in Legos




This is pretty neat:

After news leaked yesterday, Lego Group today confirmed a huge 4,000 piece Lego replica of its iconic Disney Resort Cinderella Castle: set 71040 Disney Castle.

Having been impressed by the Lego Nexo KnightsLego Ninjago and Lego Minecraft at New York Toy Fair I had thought I was all up to date with what Lego had in store for us this year. Then today they reveal this huge replica set of the Walt Disney DIS +0.34% World Resort Cinderella Castle. Standing at over 29” high and 17” wide this is a monster build, but the size means it can do much more than reproduce the original’s architecture and silhouette. 

I prefer the original, photographed in 2011 at Legoland Ulm:






The image above does not do the display justice. It is the Neuschwanstein Castle rendered in Legos, and it looks amazing in person. This was the standard Lego village display (everything glued down, don't touch, etc.). 

Now, if they were to release a version of THAT thing, it would likely top 10,000 pieces and cost quite a bit of money.

You Cannot Call it Alien 5




Sigourney Weaver made a weird cameo in the film Finding Dory and she confirms that one of her next projects will essentially ignore the third and fourth sequels to Alien:

The 30th anniversary celebrations of James Cameron’s Aliens are getting underway, and as part of that, Sigourney Weaver has been speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the film. And, somewhat inevitably, the conversation shifted to Neill Blomkamp’s delayed Alien 5 movie, which is set to be a direct follow-on from Aliens. 

Blomkamp’s project has had to get in line as Ridley Scott makes Alien: Covenant and perhaps further Alien prequels (at least two more are planned, but it’s unclear if they have to be made before Alien 5 can get going), and per the original plan, it would have been shooting by now. Instead, it's in a little bit of limbo right now.

Blomkamp’s film is still an active project, though, and Weaver has revealed a few more details about the film. “It’s just as if, you know, the path forks and one direction goes off to three and four and another direction goes off to Neill’s movie,” she said, seemingly confirming that the idea is to overlook the third and fourth Alien films.

If you're going to ignore the 3rd and 4th movies, why the hell are you calling it Alien 5? I am hoping that's the working title. Shouldn't you just called it Aliens 2.5 or Alien Three: Huge Mistakes Have Been Rectified in This Series? Or am I being simplistic?

I do recall the Alien3 movie as being unnecessarily dark and dreary. It was innovative in that it used a camera angle seen from the aliens point-of-view as it scurried through corridors, but, beyond that, it was a huge, unimaginative let down. I have no working memory of a fourth Alien movie, as I'm sure many people do as well. It sort of reminds me of the Julianne Moore version of Jurassic Park that no one saw.

Abstract 141




Abstract 141 is 9x12" on canvas board.













Abstract 140




I have a fairly large number of abstracts to publish in the weeks ahead. I have a number of them on canvas board but most of them are on watercolor paper that I'm trying to use up because it has been sitting here for years.

Abstract 140 is 9x12" on canvas board.













Protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area




Here's to the people trying to stop the wholesale poisoning of an American treasure:

MINNESOTA’S Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of America’s most popular wild destinations. Water is its lifeblood. Over 1,200 miles of streams wend their way through 1.1 million acres thick with fir, pine and spruce and stippled by lakes left behind by glaciers. Moose, bears, wolves, loons, ospreys, eagles and northern pike make their home there and in the surrounding Superior National Forest.

All of this is now threatened by a proposal for a huge mine to extract copper, nickel and other metals from sulfide ores. The mine would lie within the national forest along the South Kawishiwi River, which flows directly into the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

The prospect of any major industrial activity in the watershed of such a place would be deeply troubling. But this kind of heavy-metal mining is in a destructive class all its own. Enormous amounts of unusable waste rock containing sulfides are left behind on the surface. A byproduct of this kind of mining is sulfuric acid, which often finds its way into nearby waterways. Similar mines around the country have already poisoned lakes and thousands of miles of streams.

To me, the area is synonymous with the life's work of Sigurd Olson, one of the great unsung characters of the 20th Century. He nagged and lobbied and wrote endlessly about the area we now know as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Can you imagine what that place would look like if the mines and the businessmen had been able to get there first?

Olson has been dead for 34 years, but there are still people who carry on in his memory. If you were going to make a movie or write a book, you could do a lot worse than choosing to tell the story of the man who saved over a million acres of pristine wilderness from the kind of people who would poison a river and walk away rich.












Abstract 124




Abstract 124 is a continuation on the themes of the previous series, only blurrier and more purple.













How Much Did They Spend on Marketing?




This is the kind of film that ends up on HBO or Starz, and they end up airing it 52,000,000 times:

Misconduct, a star-studded legal thriller starring Oscar-winners Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, made less than £100 in its opening weekend at the UK box office.

The $11m-budget film was showing on just five screens, but its total take was only £97, making its per-site average £19.40. It received negative reviews on release, with the Observer’s Wendy Ide giving it one star and writing that it “could be shown in film schools as a textbook example of how not to make a movie”.

The cinemas were all regional Reel cinemas, in locations including Kidderminster and Burnley, and the opening coincided with a digital release, making the film simultaneously available to stream at home.

With an adult ticket at a Reel cinema costing £6.20, it means that less than four people caught the film at each site.

I think that there's a desire to make fun of the fact that Hopkins, Pacino, and Duhamel "aren't movie stars" anymore after a story like this comes out. Hell yeah, they are. Everyone in this film is good. Is this film itself any good? Well, that's more about story and presentation than it is the actors in it.

The problem is, if you don't market the film correctly, no one goes to see it. Is this something you'd release at the start of the summer movie season? Is this something you'd put out against animated films and comedies and blockbusters? Well, if you're looking for a niche, maybe, but this is a Christmas movie that should have been marketed in a better way.

Or, it's just a boring film. So what? 













Flooding at the Louvre




It would be the height of stupidity for the curators at the Louvre to "forget" to move the Mona Lisa:

The "Mona Lisa" will stay dry on her upper floor in the Louvre as museums in Paris scramble to protect their world-famous artworks and artifacts from deadly floods.

Flooding in France and Germany has killed 11 people as of Friday -- 10 of them in southern Germany and one on the outskirts of Paris -- and has caused chaos in the French capital, which shut down several busy train lines and part of its metro, adding to the congestion on its roads.

"Due to the level of the river Seine, the Musée du Louvre will be exceptionally closed to the public on June 3, 2016 to ensure the protection of the works located in flood zones. We apologize for any inconvenience caused," the museum said on its website.

I know that we live in an era where our elites are peopled with incompetent boobs, but this is just too much. The priceless artworks will be protected (barring some unimaginable wall of water that overwhelms the facility) but it's the lesser known stuff that could end up getting short shrift. Museums are, typically, in possession of vast amounts of artwork that never gets displayed. Much of this work is damaged when it is warehoused improperly. I hope they're not forgetting to check the basement.












Abstract 123




I can't even figure out why this one came out like it did. Easily one of the more vivid abstracts of the whole batch.












Abstract 122




It looks like a riot of colors, and much of this got away from me before I could bring it under control. Then I let the thing go and it got even crazier before I had to run away.













Reductress




Reductress is an amazing site.

It's so great, I can't even find the courage to say something funny. This is extremely good satire done very, very well.

Johnny Depp




Today's the day you finally had a better day than poor Johnny Depp.

Good Lord, the world has come crashing down upon him. Godspeed, man.

Abstract 121




Abstract 121 is the start of a new series of abstract paintings for the month of May, 2016.












Bill O'Reilly is Destroying His Literary Brand




Noted historical author Bill O'Reilly--easily the most important historian in American history and far, far better than you could ever be*--has decided to air his dirty laundry in public and chase after money that his ex-wife probably doesn't have:

Bill O’Reilly’s legal battle against his ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy appeared to be over earlier this year when a panel of three appellate justices unanimously granted McPhilmy residential custody of the ex-couple’s two children. According to court documents filed last last month, however, O’Reilly intends to sue McPhilmy for $10 million on charges of misleading him about the terms of their separation agreement. In the same papers, the Fox News host accuses McPhilmy of using the proceeds of their separation to underwrite an affair with another man. And he wants the entire lawsuit to proceed in secret.

O’Reilly has built a formidable media empire around his unique brand of moral authoritarianism, with which he has indulged his audience’s obsession with the moral failings of black families. When it comes to the perceived sins of his own family, O’Reilly is only slightly more circumspect. The Fox host’s lawyers have filed a series of documents alleging that McPhilmy “knowingly made false misrepresentations and material omissions of existing fact to [O’Reilly] ... for the sole purpose of inducing [him] to agree to a consensual divorce and to obtain money and real property to finance an existing extra-marital relationship.”

Can you feel the rage behind this? Can you imagine what it was like for the ambulance chasing lawyer who took this lawsuit? He or she probably had O'Reilly breathing down their neck for months. I wonder if they advised him not to sue. This would make the whole thing go away and it wouldn't give his entire family a chance to reveal massive amounts of evidence that would prove that Bill O'Reilly is a huge Fighting Irish leprechaun come to life with actual fists and ill-fitting pants.

"Hey! Lawyer person! Shut up. Listen to me. Hey! I'm suing my ex-wife and we're going to court now! Is it written up yet? What's wrong with suing her for all the money I had to give her to get away from me? Let's get cracking on this!" And then Bill screams and throws a lamp at the wall and bellows like he just got stabbed with one of those Game of Thrones swords. Only an Irishman knows what I'm talking about.

You can well imagine the scene of old Bill, screaming and pounding things and throwing salt shakers and coffee mugs at scurrying law clerks as the details of the suit were being decided. The guy must be a peach to work for. If this delays the release of his next book, "Killing James Garfield the President Not the Cat You Shithead," it will cause tremors in the celebrity book business.

I think O'Reilly needs a lawyer with guts. I think he needs a friend who maybe served as a merchant marine or a pile driver machine operator who can wrap a big, meaty hand around his neck and explain to him how things work.

O’Reilly continued to meddle with McPhilmy and her new family as their divorce made its way through the court system. A court-appointed therapist testified last year that, when O’Reilly was alone with his and McPhilmy’s teenage daughter, O’Reilly would call his ex-wife an “adulterer,” said his daughter’s step-father was “not a good person,” and claimed that spending any time with McPhilmy and her new husband would “ruin her life.” The same therapist told the justice overseeing the ex-couple’s custody battle that O’Reilly and McPhilmy’s daughter witnessed her father drag her mother down a staircase by the neck.

See, the only thing O'Reilly understands is when someone's getting their neck worked on in a fit of rage. An inescapable truth has evaded this poor man, genius that he is. When your wife is done with you, she's done with you. Suing her for finding happiness with someone else is, well, a huge dick move. No amount of throwing a tantrum in public can change the fact that everyone in his life seems happier and more well-adjusted when they hide behind the furniture and turn off the lights when he shows up for visitation. Family values in action, hellz to the yeah.

The damage being done to O'Reilly's literary ambitions is staggering, though. Once people figure out that he's a perpetual rage machine, he may well end up being merely the Norman Mailer of his generation. That's a tough break for a guy who, for all intents and purposes, is probably the most bestest and greatest of all writers forever and ever, Amen.

*Good God, satire is dead, isn't it? If I had access to an audio track that would play as people read this, it would be a recording of a shot glass full of cheap whiskey being thrown through a plate-glass window, over and over again.

Comedians Have to Apologize For Everything Now




Maria Bamford's new show Lady Dynamite is getting a lot of write-ups on the websites that contain information that I sometimes use while blogging:

Conventional wisdom would have it that crippling mental illness isn't a good subject for a sitcom. But there's nothing conventional about Maria Bamford's brand of comedy. Fans of her stand-up and such through-the-rabbit hole projects like 2012's Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special—  in which the 45-year-old comedian performs a taped set for just her parents in their living room — know that she isn't afraid to tap into very dark, very personal places in her work. So when Bamford announced she was developing a sitcom for Netflix that would touch on her career struggles in Hollywood and stints in psychiatric hospitals to treat a bipolar disorder, you expected something different. And Lady Dynamite, which toggles between our heroine trying to land acting gigs in Hollywood and her time in a mental hospital in her real-life hometown of Duluth, Minnesota (and premieres in full tomorrow night on the streaming service), could not be a better introduction to her ability to slide between sunny absurdity and depressive reality in a blink.

It sounds like a great show in the making, and I'll definitely watch it. But I hate Rolling Stone and I am sorry I linked to them. At the end of the article, poor Maria has to get her apologies in early:

"I had wanted to go very dark for the dark moments. Just, you know, minutes of silence passing. That's how it truly is — these unbearable moments. But who knows if that makes for good television," she says with a laugh. "I mean, people die from illnesses like these. I was a little worried about that, so I hope it turned out to be respectful as well [as funny]. And if it isn't, I apologize, I apologize, I apologize. I apologize right up front for everything I've done and will do."

The truly daunting thing that comedians do nowadays is tell jokes and try to get shows on the air. No one has a sense of humor about anything anymore. The Internet amplifies the voices of people who are outraged. I'm fine with all of that--I run my own website so I can't ban myself and I can't stop showing up for work, so there's that. The real problem is when someone organizes a boycott of everything you say or do--that's not fun. It's almost better to be ignored and have no one read what you're writing, but I have no opinions about that.












The Machine Stops




As a relatively young man in 1909, E. M. Forster imagined pretty much how humans would live in the 21st Century.

The futuristic world portrayed in The Machine Stops is an eerily familiar one - people mostly communicate with each other via screens, the rarity of face-to-face interaction has rendered it awkward, and knowledge and ideas are only shared by a system that links every home.

Yet that world was imagined not by a contemporary writer but by the Edwardian author Edward Morgan Forster.

Best known for his novels about class and hypocrisy - Howards End, A Room With A View and A Passage To India - The Machine Stops was Forster's only foray into science fiction.

Published in 1909, it tells the story of a mother and son - Vashti and Kuno - who live in a post-apocalyptic world where people live individually in underground pods, described as being "like the cell of a bee", and have their needs provided for by the all-encompassing Machine.

It is a world where travel is rare, inhabitants communicate via video screens, and people have become so reliant on the Machine that they have begun to worship it as a living entity.

Now, aside from the fact that we haven't had an apocalypse and that we don't live in underground pods, Forster got a lot of things right. We are replacing our various Gods on a regular basis. We are emerging from centuries of class warfare and strife. And we are talking to one another through screens instead of face to face. Sounds pretty accurate to me.












Kevin Smith Might Reboot Buckaroo Banzai




Oh, my:

The cinema of the 1980s produced a lot of ambitiously strange genre fiction, but only one movie of that era (or any era) starred a particle physicist who's also a race car driver, rock star, and neurosurgeon: W.D. Richter's 1984 B-movie masterwork The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. It's a beloved-but-obscure cult hit, but it might be getting a high-profile reboot if Kevin Smith has his way. The writer, director, and podcaster told listeners of his Hollywood Babble-On podcast that he and MGM are developing a TV version of the story.

It apparently stemmed from Smith's recent turn directing an episode of the CW's The Flash. "Doin' that has opened up weird doors," Smith said in the podcast. "MGM said, 'Hey, we hear that you like Buckaroo Banzai.' ... So they called my agent and they were like, 'We think we'd like to talk to him about — y'know, we did — with Fargo, we took Fargo and turned it into a TV show and it's won awards and shit.' They were like, 'We have another property that we wanna do that with, and we were wondering if he's interested and has ever heard of Buckaroo Banzai.'"

He said he was interested, it having been a childhood favorite of his, and now he and MGM are apparently about to "take it out and try to find a home for it." Smith wants it to include the original cast — which featured Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and a young Jeff Goldblum — as villains, and wants the first season to reinterpret the plot of the movie before a second season that would go in a new direction. For those who disdain the idea of Smith helming this project, just remember the words of Buckaroo: "Don't be mean. We don't have to be mean. 'Cause remember: No matter where you go, there you are."

There's only one way to go with this--no self-referential bullshit. This is material that cannot be aware of itself. It has to be done straight and it has to take itself way too seriously. Anything else--anything coy, sly, satirical or winking at the audience through a busted-down fourth wall--and you've ruined it.












MTV Never Had a Clue About Anything Important




The idea that MTV had an understanding of American musical culture or the arts in general is laughable. You only had to live through the 1980s to know this:

With the benefit of hindsight, 1991 was a watershed year for rock music. That was the year of Pearl Jam’s Ten and Nirvana’s Nevermind. A documentary released in 1992 even referred to it as The Year Punk Broke. The alternative revolution was just entering its golden age, as evidenced by the popularity of the inaugural Lollapalooza. But MTV’s Kurt Loder and Tabitha Soren did not have the benefit of hindsight when they made a recap special called The Year In Rock: 1991, a long-forgotten program that has resurfaced, thanks to Reddit. What did Loder and Soren see when they looked back over the previous 12 months? “A pretty bad year” of slumping album sales and half-empty concert tours. Pearl Jam is not mentioned in the special, and Nirvana is relegated to a spotlight on new artists, alongside Color Me Badd and Marky Mark. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is briefly used to accompany a segment about the Persian Gulf War.

Because MTV was situated in the Northeast of the United States, everything that it did was based on pressure from record companies. American music has always had a regional flavor, and that was ignored by the cultural elites based in New York City. If a certain label wanted an artist to break, they would put heavy pressure on MTV to play their video and on New York based publications to provide positive coverage. This could also mean gaining favorable coverage through what was loosely termed "MTV News" by making the artist available for exclusive material. If you deliver content, you can demand that it gets airtime. And if you were in the business of keeping these people happy, why wouldn't you look up the sales information and run with that? There was no alternative back then--you took what the labels handed you and you dealt with it. Now, you can tell them to fuck off. 

Remember when Pidlar made a video with Nick Offerman? That's a video you would never have seen on MTV in the 1990s. Good God, they were so prudish it was a wonder anything made it onto the air.

I am so glad I ignored MTV for all of those years. It's always a shock for me to go and find the "official" video for songs from the 1980s and 1990s that I liked; I never had a chance to see any of that stuff because I couldn't be bothered to engage "music television" at all. And, yes, MTV's 120 Minutes was a joke then and it's a joke now.












Run It By Patti Davis First




Here's a little something else about that movie about Ronald Reagan that is not going to get made:

 McKay found himself in the middle of a truly bizarre nontroversy recently when the Gary Sanchez-produced Reagan, a film project rumored to star Will Ferrell as the late Republican commander-in-chief as he struggles with the effects of Alzheimer’s during his second term, came under heavy fire from conservatives—including members of Reagan’s own family—for allegedly mocking the oft-heralded politician. 

The problem? Nobody really knew if the film was going to mock Reagan for his illness. Outlets simply saw Ferrell as a rumored candidate for the role and their imaginations ran amok. 

“I’ve never been that close to a story like that where so little information became such a tidal wave. It was really crazy to behold,” says McKay. “People hadn’t even read the script, it was just three words: ‘Reagan, Ferrell, Alzheimer’s,’ and it became this huge thing. Finally, The Hollywood Reporter wrote a piece where they actually read the script and thought it was a really thoughtful script and tender towards Reagan, but yeah, it’s this culture we live in. It’s all about clicks, clicks, clicks, and hits, hits, hits.” 

“I kept saying when that story snowballed, ‘Is there anyone who really thinks Will Ferrell would make a comedy about a horrible disease like Alzheimer’s?’ In a million years no one would do that!” he continues. “You’d have people on the left and right coming after you. I think it’s more about the deification of Ronald Reagan, where you can’t go near the subject of Ronald Reagan. Remember all the brouhaha over that Reagan miniseries? That miniseries was so soft, but nobody wants to hear anything near the reality of Reagan’s eight years as president.” 

Now, no one should try to advise Adam McKay or Will Ferrell about which movies they should make when, clearly, this should have been a Russell Brand and Sacha Baron Cohen buddy flick all along. Whoever owns the rights to this story  should have submitted the idea and the script to Patti Davis first. That way, she could have taken some points on the back end and given you the green light. 

Patti Davis made a very astute and public relations-savvy condemnation appear to be wholly sympathetic when she denounced the project, which, as others have pointed out, is sympathetic and sensitive to the topic of Alzheimer's while telling a very compelling story. The fact that it involved Reagan and a period of time when he was carrying a gun around in a briefcase and had access to the nation's nuclear codes is something no one polite should ever bring up, okay?

From now on, anyone who references the fact that Reagan spent several years as president while suffering from Alzheimer's needs to go see Patti beforehand. Historians, you have been warned.








Minnie Driver and Basic Problem Solving

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="670.0"] 2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills... 2.465 million gets you a three bedroom rancher next to a crazy dude in the Hollywood Hills... [/caption]


Does any of this sound like rational behavior?

Actress Minnie Driver is not happy with her neighbor's construction and she's trying to stop it from happening with an arsenal of baby food jars filled with black paint.

A new lawsuit obtained by TMZ claims that Driver, 46, is throwing the paint-filled jars at her neighbor Daniel Perelmutter's walls.






Perelmutter — who recently had a heart transplant — is asking the court to remove an electronic gate the two share as Driver has cut off his access.

He also states in the suit that the "Good Will Hunting" actress will block construction workers for up to 8 hours at a time.

This isn't the first time the two have sparred in the Hollywood Hills.

Just last week, Driver and Perelmutter, 74, were screaming so loudly at each other that cops had to intervene.

In 2015, the English-born actress claimed that her neighbor told her to "f--k off and die" on several occasions in her driveway. She even got a restraining order against Perelmutter at the time.

However, Perelmutter claimed that Driver was trying to run him down with her car as the two have been involved in an ongoing land dispute.

Anybody can snap and anybody can get involved in a desperately destructive confrontation with their neighbor. What I don't understand is, how can something like this get so far out of control without involving mediation or negotiations of some kind? Construction projects in a residential area are two things--inconvenient at times but temporary if handled properly. Do you know what you can do to solve this problem? Develop the ability to visualize your property when it looks normal again and ignore what's happening. That's basic problem solving 101. And if you can't do that, lose your mind, I guess.

Ever lived in a house where vinyl siding is being installed in the dead of winter? Check. Ever lived in a house while a brand new home is being built next door and it takes nine months instead of three? Yep. And have you ever lived in a place where the little neighbor kids don't speak any English but decide to throw rocks at your house because you're an American? We have a winner. I've been through all three in the last five years and, yeah, I wanted to snap and start throwing baby jars full of black paint. That was my go-to option right from the start. But, somehow, I got through it. And by that I mean, I resorted to whipping hot pennies and spraying bleach out of a power washer.

I don't know what Miss Driver is going through, but it sounds cray-cray and she should have temporary high fences or golf course safety screens installed until her neighbor is done screwing everything up.








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