WILL DUR$T’$ 2010 XMA$ WI$H LI$T.
For the Economists who insist the recession ended in June of 09. An opportunity to collect 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.
For Charlie Sheen. A date with Lindsay Lohan. Matching ankle bracelets at Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.
For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Asange: A slip of paper naming whoever leaked details of his sexual assault charges tucked into a dictionary in the fold of the page with the “irony” entry.
For Betty White. 30 more years.
For Ireland. Far fewer reasons to drown their troubles.
For Juan Williams. A prayer rug for his Fox News cubicle.
For the American public. A case of antacid to get through the next two years watching the heartless pummel the spineless cheered on by the clueless.
For Conan O’Brien. Half the on- air excitement he inspired off- air.
For Barack Obama. An electron telescope to focus on jobs. American jobs. Democratic jobs. Obama administration jobs. His job.
For Mrs. Clarence Thomas. A six pack of Coke.
For Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. A used set of Spanish language cassette tapes.
For the Cast of Jersey Shore. Watches that only measure increments of 15 minutes.
For the Texas Board of Education. A railroad car stuffed full of historical blinders.
For Bill Clinton. A presidential appointment to the position of Secretary of Secretaries.
For Toyota. A new corporate motto. Because after 4 recalls involving acceleration problems, “Moving Forward” might be a bit too apropos.
For Katy Perry. A bigger bra.
For the Tea Party. Kissable wallets. Because its time to put their money where their mouth is.
For Willie Nelson. A THC patch.
For the TSA. Extensive training to perfect the impromptu prostate exam.
For John Boehner. A deal with Fruit of the Loom to market a line of “Mister Speaker” monogrammed handkerchiefs. And hand towels.
For former BP CEO, Tony Hayward. Now that he has his life back, a reason to live it.
For Medical Science to Study. Dick Cheney’s heart, Joe Biden’s mouth and Rod Blagojevich’s brain.
For New Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field taking sidelong glances at 2012. Something on Sarah.
San Francisco based political comic, Will Durst, writes sometimes, this being a conventional example. Catch Durst in stand- up mode at The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVIII. Dec. 26- Jan. 1. 6 comics. 7 cities. 8 shows. 2,437 laughs. willdurst.com. Facebook. Twitter. Blah- blah.
GLEE makes me happy. I spent the past few days watching Season One and I find myself singing more, humming more and wanting to break out into song and dance. I was a big fan of Ryan Murphy’s Nip/Tuck and I see much of the same humor and phenomonal character development in Glee. I always felt N/T lost it’s mojo after a few seasons. Was that because Murphy was busy casting and writing Glee? I don’t care. N/T had a few great seasons and introduced me to some wonderful actors. Julian McMahon was the first actor I actually ever googled because I wanted to learn more about this gorgeous actor.
Finishing Season 1 of Glee brought tears to my eyes. Well, a cold wind could bring a tear to my eye but the Glee club singing To Sir With Love (with Sue watching) was emotional on many different levels.
I think Ryan Murphy’s greatest strength is his terrific casting. In N/T Season 1, the villian was played by Robert LaSardo and all these years later I still remember him and now recognize him in older roles and new roles. I also see great casting in Glee. Lovable Kristen Chenoweth and Stephen Tobolowski have recurring roles that always make me laugh and highlight their great talents.
The young people are all unknowns and their talent surpasses many famous recording artists/entertainers. They are not polished and marketed all pretty but seem like real people, real kids, real representatives of people we all know.
Ryan Murphy is a genius and I want to thank him for the hours of entertainment he’s brought into my life!
Every December 8th for the last 30 years, I have quietly paid tribute to my fallen hero. Last year, I went to John’s memorial in Central Park to remember the man who changed the world in a way few have. For so many fans of John Lennon, the relationship remains deeply personal, even after all these years.
Throughout high school, I spent much of my free time locked in my room with headphones on studying every beat, every note, every second of every Beatles song. My love of their music inspired me to play the guitar and write songs. And when my band wasn’t playing our songs in the basement, we were in my room marveling over the magic of Abbey Road’s medley or speeding up the end of Strawberry Fields to hear John’s “I buried Paul” or isolating the vocals to hear Paul’s voice crack for a split second on “If I Fell.”
We would then consume books and devour documentaries like “15 Hours With the Beatles.” We would have heated debates over albums and songs. Since I was the unabashed McCartney worshiper, I would take on the unenviable task of arguing how “London Town” matched up to “Abbey Road” or how “Girl’s School” was every bit as driving as “Get Back.”
And while our friends at school were listening to AC/DC, Kiss and Cheap Trick, we were isolated in the corner of the cafeteria talking about “Somewhere in New York City” and laughing over lines from the “Rutles.” This lonely obsession that started in 1977 made us seem more than a little quirky to our friends. It also had to be the cause of more than a few raised eyebrows from our parents.
I can understand now why they didn’t get it back then. That disconnect was laid bare the night we heard the news from Howard Cosell that John Lennon was dead. I sat watching Monday Night Football stunned and silent as my Dad walked through the room muttering that he liked Paul better. A friend on twitter, @Otoolefan, remembers his father telling him the next morning that “they shot Jack Lemmon last night.”
Many parents who suffered through the Great Depression and lost loved ones during World War II surely saw our angst as a little too much to bear. But my mother was a musician who understood the transcendence of music. She also understood that it was probably best to leave me alone with my headphones and Beatles records for the next several weeks.
What I found alone in my room is what I rediscovered last year when a dream of mine came true backstage at Radio City.
As a young congressman, I had been blessed to be able to meet any president, prime minister or politician. I had also met music heroes from B.B. King to U2 to Elvis Costello. All were exciting to meet, but none were Paul McCartney.
That chance came when Carole King was sweet enough to take me backstage to meet Sir Paul. Even the possibility seemed surreal since McCartney had impacted my life more than anyone outside of my family. As the day of the concert neared, a strange ambivalence swept over me. The day before the concert, I even told my wife I was thinking of skipping the chance at shaking my hero’s hand.
“What???” Susan asked incredulously. “I’ve never seen you scared of anyone or anything. Why in the world would you be afraid to meet Paul McCartney?”
It was a good point. People are people. Nothing more, nothing less. I have yet to meet a star who was worthy of worship. They just don’t exist anymore. In fact, I’m pretty sure they never did.
But I still couldn’t answer why I wanted to skip out on my lifelong dream of meeting Macca. Maybe it was Paul Simon’s fear that everything looks worse in black and white. Or maybe it was the fact that I could never tell him in a few seconds how he brought so much joy to so many years of my life. I just knew that the meeting would be short, awkward and leave me feeling a little empty.
Better not to pull back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.
But I went ahead to Radio City, met Sir Paul McCartney, got my picture taken and managed to get out a few words. I don’t remember what they were but it was so surreal that I wouldn’t be surprised if I blurted out “I like purple” before quickly being escorted from the room.
After Carole and I left the backstage area and made it to our seats at Radio City, I realized that I had been right all along. I should have skipped the meeting and stayed home with my family. That regret lasted only as long as it took McCartney to strap a Hofner around his neck and rip into a supersonic rendition of “Jet.”
I was immediately transfixed–not by the myth, not by the legend, not by Beatle Paul. Instead, it was the music. As Carole and I jumped to our feet that night, I realized in an instant that the secret to their success had always been simple. The Beatles wrote remarkable songs.
For almost half a century, reporters and critics have tried to dissect why the Beatles had such an staggering impact on our times. After arriving in America in 1964, some suggested that Beatlemania was a needed distraction after the horror of JFK’s assassination. A few years later, critics would claim that the band was an outlet for a youth culture in rebellion against authority. And tonight, I am sure we will hear many try to explain again why so many of us still care about the Beatles 30 years after John’s death.
But in the end, all the philosophizing about the Beatles cultural transcendence is unadulterated bullshit. After all that has been written and said about the Liverpool band over the past 50 years, it still comes down their music.
The same music that moved me in 1980 moves my 7 year old daughter 30 years later. And the same magic that made me smile the first time I heard the back side of “Abbey Road” makes my 2 year old laugh when I pull out my guitar and sing him “Yellow Submarine.”
I spent a few hours today watching a BBC special on John’s life. The most revealing part of the documentary for me was a piece of film taken during John’s “Imagine” session. Lennon was told that a young, burned out straggler had made his way to John’s garden where he was spending much of his time.
The former Beatle left his session and walked outside to try to convince this lost soul to go home. As Lennon shot down every suggestion of cosmic connectivity between his songs and the drifter’s life, the Beatle who often had the sharpest edge revealed an inner sweetness that he seldom showed the world.
“Don’t confuse my songs with your life.”
The kid pushed back. Surely the lyrics to “I Dig a Pony” had a deeper meaning.
“I was just having fun with words” replied the retired dreamweaver.
“I’m just a guy.”
Maybe. But he and his bandmates also happened to create music that will bring joy to generations long after we are all gone. So tonight, I don’t have to go to Strawberry Fields to remember John. All I need are his songs.
I’ll put on my headphones, turn on “Number 9 Dream”, close my eyes, relax and float downstream
I understand that comedians like to shock and insult their audience. Kathy Griffin recently made fun of Bristol Palin’s weight and the audience booed. Comedians have been making fun of other celebrities for decades but Chelsea Handler made it personal with her attack on Angelina Jolie in a recent stand-up performance.
Chelsea Handler went off on Angelina Jolie during a standup performance in New Jersey over the weekend (via Hollywoodlife.com), calling the actress a f**king homewrecker and worse.
“She can rescue as many babies from as many countries as she wants to,” Chelsea said. “I don’t f**king believe you … she gives interviews, ‘I don’t have a lot of female friends.’ Cause you’re a f**king c**t … you’re a f**king b***h.”
I also read:
Chelsea Handler may be BFFs with Jennifer Aniston now, but that doesn’t mean her recent rant about Angelina Jolie was at Aniston’s behest, according to a statement from Handler. IN fact, Aniston reportedly is displeased with all the “drama.”
Chelsea is friends with Jennifer and by going public with this rant (and a stand-up show is public, everybody has cell phones, ask Michael Richards) she obviously feels very strongly that Angelina stole Brad from Jennifer. Many people feel that way and for some reason Jennifer Anniston has become “poor Jennifer” who can’t find love. She seems to be doing fine. She dated Vince Vaughn and John Meyer. She’s making movies. She’s still quite hot at 40 (I’d kill for her butt).
Whatever her reason, IMO Chelsea betrayed a friend by speaking publicly about a friend’s ex-husband’s partner. I love Chelsea but I’m going to have to give her a big STFU about this one.
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25 days ’til Christmas, 25 facts about your favorite Christmas movies. Makes sense to me! (Wait, there are only 17 days ’til Christmas? Shoot. I’ve got some shopping to do.) Anyway, enjoy these elf-sized tidbits about some of the movies you’ll catch on TV in the next couple weeks.
1. It just goes to show you: don’t shouldn’t mess with the Ghost of Christmas Present. During the scene where Carol Kane grabs Bill Murray’s lip, she really latched on and accidentally tore it so badly that they had to stop filming for a few days so Bill could heal and his injuries wouldn’t be so obvious on camera.
2. All of Bill Murray’s actor brothers are in the movie – that would be Brian Doyle-Murray, Joel Murray and John Murray.
3. That’s Paul Shaffer leading the street carolers Bill Murray insults. The other carolers are Miles Davis (yep, that Miles Davis), famous saxophone player David Sanborn and Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Larry Carlton. It’s a pretty illustrious group of carolers to be heckling, really.
It’s a Wonderful Life
4. The movie received the “honor” of getting its own FBI file in 1947, when an analyst submitted the idea that the film was an obvious attempt to discredit bankers, a “common trick used by Communists.”
5. Among other people, the notoriously cynical Dorothy Parker contributed some rewrites to the script. Maybe she had a soft spot for Christmas (or maybe the money was just that good).
6. Does George look strangely sweaty to you when he and Clarence are on the bridge? That’s because it was 90 degrees out the day that scene was filmed. But I think it works –- I always assumed he looked damp because of the snow and because he was in the middle of his nervous breakdown.
Babes in Toyland
7. The movie that is now a cult classic was, as many cult classics are, a colossal flop at the box office when it debuted.
8. A bunch of the pieces from the movie – Mary’s garden, the shoe house, the pumpkin house and the trees – were an attraction at Disneyland’s Opera House for about a year following the release of the movie.
9. Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color went behind the scenes for the movie’s wrap party… except since the whole wrap party was scripted and choreographed, it wasn’t really “behind the scenes,” exactly. Annette Funicello co-hosted it with Walt and it featured performances by many cast members.
Miracle on 34th Street
10. The scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are actually taken from the 1946 parade. The movie is credited with bringing the traditional parade to the national spotlight, and Macy’s employees were given half a day off so they could see the first showing of the movie. In fact…
11. Most people didn’t realize that Edmund Gwenn, Santa Claus in the movie, also played Santa Claus during the real 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He even played to the crowd from the marquee of Macy’s when the parade ended to open the “official” Christmas shopping season.
12. Kris Kringle tries to prove that he’s quite mentally competent by reciting various bits of knowledge, including that Daniel D. Tompkins was John Quincy Adams’ Vice President. Except… he wasn’t. John C. Calhoun was Adams’ Veep; Tompkins served under James Monroe.
A Christmas Story
13. For anyone keeping count, Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie.
14. Jack Nicholson was very interested in playing Ralphie’s dad. But casting (and paying) Jack would have been too expensive. Director Bob Clark has said Darrin McGavin was the perfect choice.
15. Mythbusters tested whether it was possible to get your tongue truly stuck on a piece of cold metal. Guess what? It is. So don’t triple dog dare your best friend to try it.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
16. The Capra family must have Christmas in their genes. The assistant director of Christmas Vacation, Frank Capra III, is the grandson of the legendary Frank Capra, who directed It’s a Wonderful Life. The part where Clark “fixes” the newel post by sawing it off with a chainsaw is an homage to It’s a Wonderful Life – the newel post at the Bailey’s house was also loose. Also, Russ is watching It’s a Wonderful Life on TV when his grandparents arrive.
17. I can always relate to the scene where the two grandpas are asleep in the armchairs while the Christmas parade is on TV in the background. This always happens at our Thanksgivings and Christmases – grandpas, dads, uncles. What makes the scene even funnier is that the actors who played the grandpas were supposedly both really asleep.
18. According to some reports, when the movie was first discussed back in 1993, Jim Carrey was going to play the lead.
19. Gimbels Department Store was a real department store and competitor of Macy’s until it closed in 1987. It was also featured in Miracle on 34th Street. The Gimbels exterior in the movie is actually the 34th Street Macy’s in Manhattan with a bit of digital alteration.
20. Ming Ming the elf from the beginning of the movie is Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story. That’s him in the picture. Billingsley and director Jon Favreau (along with actor Vince Vaughn) are good friends.
21. Like so many other Christmas movies, Home Alone slips in a reference to another Christmas classic: while (most) of the family is in the hotel room in France, they’re shown watching It’s a Wonderful Life.
22. Macaulay Culkin still has physical evidence of Kevin McAllister – in the scene where Harry bites Kevin’s finger, Joe Pesci bit harder than he’d intended and left Mac with a scar.
23. Daniel Stern wasn’t crazy about having to film a scene with a tarantula on his face, but agreed to it in the condition that they do just one take. His scream had to be dubbed in later because a real scream would have scared the tarantula.
The Polar Express
24. When the conductor says “11344 Edbrooke” near the beginning of the film, he’s referring to director Robert Zemeckis’ actual childhood home in Chicago.
25. Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg gets a reference to his hometown in, too – when Hero Boy looks at a picture of himself on Santa’s lap, you can see that it was taken at Herpolsheimer’s. That was a real department store in Allsburg’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is also where the movie premiere was held.