Live From 5 Minutes Ago

Friday, February 21, 2003

This raises a question. Touching devotion or dangerous obsession? Fascinating stats, either way.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Unique host team for Grammy awards named. Translation: we couldn't find anyone who was willing to do it on such short notice--therefore, you get THIS!

There are extremely few concerts that I'd pay a hundred bucks for. This (if it's true) would without question be an exception.

As someone who sees a lot of movies, and most of them at Loews Cineplex related theatres, this lawsuit is of interest. Something I'd noticed upon moving to New York a few years ago is that Loews had been in the habit of starting the pre-show (ads, trailers, "get your soda now!" plugs) about 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. They stopped doing that around the time they raised ticket prices to ten bucks a pop. Do ads annoy me? Yes. Would I like to avoid them? Yes. But here's the problem--the ads (and to a lesser extent trailers), give time for stragglers to file in, take a seat, finish whatever "urgent" cell phone conversation they're on when they walk into the theatre, turn off their phones/pagers/whatever else they have that buzzes, and tell their kids to be quiet. That's what the ads are good for, and I'm almost willing to say they serve as a service, so that viewers don't miss the movie due to an idiot in front of or behind them.

Let's add to this my top 5 (in no order) list of stupid things I've seen at the movies recently in human behavior:

1. When I went and saw "I Spy" some idiot decided to randomly start clapping his hands during the movie. Yes, the movie was pretty awful, but still.
2. Sign at the box office: "Bowling for Columbine" is a documentary style film. It contains washed-out colors and shaky footage. It's supposed to look that way.
3. The woman who hauled her 3, 5, and 7 year old kids into "Unfaithful" opening weekend. The kids bawled throughout the movie, and the biggest reaction anything in the theatre got was when someone finally shouted "Get out and get a babysitter!"
4. The two women next to me during "The Ring" who kept up a constant commentary of "Girlfriend! Don't go in there!" and "Ooooh! This is so scary!" Unsurprisingly, this does not, in fact, make the movie more scary.
5. The two people who picked 2/3 of the way through "Daredevil" as the time to have an extremely loud argument that eventually led to them being escorted from the theatre by security. Perhaps this is why my like of the film declined sharply at about that point.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I've tried to stay away from the war in Iraq here, since it's something that I have decidedly mixed emotions about. On the one hand, I'm immensely supportive of the elimination of weapons of mass destruction worldwide, and Saddam Hussein is, without question, a brutal and repressive dictator, and the people of Iraq would probably be better off if he were not in power. On the other, war would lead to the loss of large numbers of American and Iraqi lives, be prohibitively expensive, will likely result in retaliations, and may ultimately lead to even less stability in the Middle East than had we not invaded. (Saddam is nuts, but at least his government is, for the moment, stable and predictable, which has a virtue to it.) But what leads me to write today is this story.

Now--was this shirt in poor taste? Yes. Does it overstate its argument? You bet. Does it have a kernel of truth to it? Absolutely. Should the student have been kicked out? Absolutely not. Now, if the shirt actually did inflame passions and result in violence or other loss of control at the school, then the student can and should be removed or asked to change. But, on the other hand, if the shirt simply arouses discussion of divergent viewpoints about the war, that's healthy for everyone. As a product of America's public schools, I can attest to the fact that all too often, there's no discussion in the classroom at all. What the teachers and the parents say are accepted as gospel. Hours and hours are spent drilling people for standardized testing, teaching people how to "write to the grader" in writing samples, and how to "exceed objectives" on multiple choice tests, while too little time is spent talking about what's really going on out there and discussing both sides of an argument. Kids need to be taught to have a mind of their own--and that includes, at least at times, questioning authority. Kicking this kid out of school says to me that there's no room for that idea in school--which is the farthest thing from a healthy sign for our kids.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Well, except for next week's "The Aftermath," Joe Millionaire is over and done with. If you've been living under a rock, Joe chose "substitute teacher" Zora over "financial analyst" and sometime fetish model Sarah. Add to the hype much of the East Coast being snowed in last night, and about 26.6 million Americans watched the last half hour. I'm not sure which is sadder--that 26.6 million watched it, or that I watched it. That being said--what's next?

"Joe Chimpanzee"--20 beautiful women are introduced to a highly trained chimpanzee, who they're told is actually an "ape-man" who is the last heir to a fortune. At the end, it's revealed that he's a penniless chimpanzee who just really likes bananas. Does the species-line matter?

"Joe Transsexual"--Everything's true, except for one little omission. He hasn't always been "Joe." Up until 6 months ago, he was "Josephine." Can true love triumph over painful surgery and psychological disorder?

And you KNOW Americans would watch--of course, soon we'll have new train-wrecks to enjoy. "Married By America" is already headed that way, and "American Idol: Worst of the Worst" comes on this week, plus however many hours of Michael Jackson-related programming we'll have to endure. And don't even get me started on "Are You Hot?" (No, I'm not. And suggested addition to the drinking game--every time someone touts their "hottitude," sip.) Normal people! Rise up and revolt! Free yourselves from the tyranny of this sort of stuff and watch something decent, like NBC's surprisingly funny A.U.S.A.. And even if you don't like the show, you can ogle Amanda Detmer or Scott Foley (whatever your preference is).

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