Live From 5 Minutes Ago

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Strange and bizzare though this story is, my favorite part is the picture--just explain to those three readers who don't know what "duct tape" is.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

No, no, no. I'm NOT making this up. Could I, even if I tried?

As some of you readers probably already know, I am opposed to capital punishment on moral grounds as well as being deeply troubled by how the various factors of race and class that exist in the criminal justice system as a whole and the implementation of the death penalty in particular. That's why I'm gratified by this ruling. The Supreme Court, which has shown itself increasingly divided over capital punishment over the past few years, held, by an 8-1 decision that Thomas Joe Miller-El was entitled to consideration of his argument that prosecutors intentionally struck African-Americans from the jury in his case. The irony, and what makes me feel compelled to write, is who the one was. Yes, it's Clarence Thomas, currently the only African-American member of the court. Now, I'm not suggesting that Mr. Thomas should vote based on race. As Aaron Sorkin so eloquently had the character played by Robert Guillaume say: "You have to stop thinking of me as the champion of all things black." Yet somehow there's an irony there when the one African-American member of the Court says "no racism" where the remainder do, something seems ironic and worthy of observation.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Let's talk about the Grammy awards. I'll admit that I only watched about 2/3 of them, because I wanted to watch last night's "Alias," so flipped back to it. Leaving aside the obvious big story of the night--Jimmy Sturr's triumph in the ever-competitive "Best Polka Album" category--the story last night was all Norah Jones. Trendy enough to get played on radio and sell tons of copies, yet still old-school enough that the often conservative Academy members can vote for it (remember, the Academy tends to nominate stuff like "Three Tenors Live!" for Album of the Year). What's truly amazing is how much the Grammys have disposed with being an actual awards show--did you know that 104 awards were handed out last night, with almost NONE of the presentations actually airing? If only the Oscars were like that, we could keep it to a managable length and leave plenty of time for actual funny jokes from the host. Also, while I appreciate not having to think "who the hell is that?" in the random cuts to the audience, CBS's chyrons to identify people went a little too far.

A few additional comments:

1. Avril Lavigne STILL can't sing live to save her life. The album's decent (maybe even better than decent), but live?
2. Erykah Badu should stick with the head-wrap. The Diana Ross 'fro doesn't work.
3. What was up with giving Vanessa Carlton well-deserved nominations for song and record of the year for "A Thousand Miles," while not letting her get into the Best New Artist category? Admittedly, it was a crowded year, but the overproduced and annoying ubiqutious Ashanti could easily have been replaced by Carlton.
4. In the "slimming the categories" suggestion arena: there are now "Latin Grammys" every year. Why, then, do the Grammy awards need to give out 7 awards in the "Latin" field, including the pressing category of "Best Merengue Album?"
5. While the MTV Video Music Awards have become the "go-to" for video awards, haven't music videos now reached a level where they're worthy of more than two awards? Especially when you consider how many awards are given out in other fields?
6. My favorite category remains "Best Rap/Sung Collaboration." Can't say the Grammys aren't hip, now, can ya?

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