Saturday, November 30, 2002

Night Manager is a very evocative title.
Last night we were taken to Morton's Steakhouse and fed massive amounts of cow and potato and creamed spinach and some unusually large stalks of asparagus which reminded me of in Sleeper when Woody Allen is staggering around with an enormous banana and being chased by a giant chicken. There are a lot of different words for big, and all of them are appropriate for describing what takes place at Morton's Steakhouse.

We got there early and sat in the bar and talked to the bartender who was really top quality. The kind of bartender who makes you want to sit there all night and drink mixed drinks and come up with some problems so you can cry on his shoulder. There was a bottle of cognac in a glass case with a lock. It is apparently the most expensive kind of cognac in the world and contains "elements" which are more than 110 years old. Whatever that exactly means.

At any rate that bottle of cognac cost $2100 and one tiny drink would cost $150. Whoever buys the last drink from the bottle gets to keep the bottle itself, which is very elaborately carved and has a fleur de lis on the stopper. Apparently, there is a lot of working the angles around the last drink, with people trying to show up at Mortons as the level in the bottle is getting low and then outbidding each other for the last four or five drinks. So far they've gone through ten bottles in five years, but things have slowed somewhat, what with the boom ending and all.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Things to be thankful for:

This season of Buffy
Colson Whitehead's new book
The drawing tablet Sascha bought me for my computer
Our kitty isn't carrying a deadly disease
Claritin over the counter!

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Suma quoted me in her blog. So honored! In return, here are my thoughts on Frida, her topic du jour...

Julie Taymor is quite a good director. She does amazing things with light and color and sound, and she gets her actors to give some really focused and interesting performances. So why oh why does she feel the need to insert all that artsy-puppety crap into every single one of her movies? It was alright in spots. It was okay at their wedding when they were posed like they are in one of Frida's portraits, and I liked it when they went to New York and found themselves in a kind of Russian constructivist collage. I was even okay with the reflection of King-Kong-Diego in the bathtub. But the rest of it just seemed so unnecessary. Actually, I think it really distracted from the characters. When I first started watching Frida, I thought I really understood what life must have been like for Frida and Diego. And that is quite amazing, because there is all this mythology around them that has turned them into these fantastical, almost supernatural figures. But by the end of the movie, I felt like Hayek and Taymor had gotten right back to mythologizing Frida in that way that is so easy to do with someone who is an artist and a cripple and who died young. And the puppety interludes were just more of the same, and the characters had turned back into the same old melodramatic cliches.

So all in all I was disappointed. But props to Selma for getting her damn movie made, and hooray for facial hair, and the parts of the movie that were good were so good that I can almost forgive the rest.

Monday, November 25, 2002

(I apologize for the dryness of the below. But all that information had to go somewhere.)
Today George Bush will sign the Homeland Security Bill, which contains seven controversial provisions that Democrats felt were intended as favors to corporate pals of the Republican party. None of the papers I looked at said what all of the provisions were, so I went to Joe Lieberman's website and figured it out. I'm not a lawyer, but this is my best understanding of what the provisions will do, and I think it's kind of educational.

I put them in order from really quite scary to just sort of dumb.

1. Federal Advisory Committee Act
Unlike the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, FBI, State Department and National Security Agency, advisory committees to the Department of Homeland Security will be allowed to meet in total secret with no public knowledge

The Department of Homeland Security can designate certain technologies as "qualified anti-terrorism technologies." Companies selling these technologies will be protected from lawsuits related to an act of terrorism, no matter how negligently--or even willfully--the company acts.

3. Childhood Vaccine Liability Shield
Takes lawsuits about vaccine additives out of the courts, interrupting ongoing legislation, and potentially leaving families completely without compensation. Does not affect bioterrorism vaccines at all, but specifically targets claims against childhood vaccines, including cases involving vaccines which have recently been linked to rising rates of autism in children.

4. Offshore Companies
Lets the government do business with corporations that shift their headquarters outside of the US in order to avoid taxes.

5. Airport Screening Company Immunity
Protects passenger and baggage screening companies from lawsuits related to September 11th, even though the Senate already specifically rejected the idea of protceting them, due to ongoing concerns about their role leading up to September 11th.

6. Texas A&M
Will create a university-based homeland security research center. Based on the fifteen incredibly narrowly definined criteria outlined in the bill, it will obviously be at Texas A & M. Texas A & M is in Tom DeLay's district.

7. Transportation Security Regulations
Basically seems to make it harder for the Transportation Security Agency to pass new safety regulations. Why? I have no idea.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

I am very attracted to the work of white english rapper "The Streets". I like the way he calls his pals "geezers". He sounds like he is a rapper in a Charles Dickens novel.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Things I liked about 8-Mile (besides the hotness of Eminem which goes without saying):

1. That there wasn't really a love interest, just a slutty girl and a somewhat nicer girl who was hardly even in the movie. I am sick of every single movie ending with people falling in love in a magical way that has nothing to do with reality. How often do the romantic leads in a movie actually have anything in common besides that they are both attractive movie stars? I think that the Hollywood idea of romance has really messed up people's ideas about what is necessary to make love happen.

2. All that car trouble they had. You don't see that enough in the movies.

3. Detroit looks like the apocalypse. That place where they went and hung out, with the amazing arched roof and no walls...what was that, a burned-out theater? I can't believe there is really a place like that on this earth.