OKAY, SO ALL THE OSCAR STUFF FIRST: As you probably heard already, it was a big night for Million Dollar Baby, its director and its cast. Marty Scorsese remains the Susan Lucci of the motion picture industry. Clint Eastwood is The Man, in a good way; his speech was charming and funny. You can find the full list of winners at the Oscars site, which is funny because they make a big point of not saying, "And the winner is..." on television. Anyway, here were the parts I liked:
Charlie Chaplin and Shrek strolling off into the distance. The Albert Brooks cameo declaring White Chicks the "Best Movie of the Year!" Edna Mode (The Incredibles) joining Pierce Brosnan in announcing the Costuming award.
Best Original Song: I found myself asking,"Was the Counting Crows guitarist wearing the 'I Heart Scarlett' shirt trying to score a date with Scarlett Johannsen?" But Defamer's live blog topped me: "6:36: An entire roomful of people breaks into hysterical laughter at the very sight of Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz. It appears that just before the Crows took the stage, Sideshow Bob successfully attacked Duritz’s head and is sodomizing his scalp."
John Dykstra, accepts Best Visual Effects for Spidey 2 - the man also won for the original Star Wars, and should have won for Caddyshack.
Jeremy Irons, introducing live-action short films, is interrupted by a loud "bang." He pauses, then deadpans, "I hope they missed." Screenwriter (and Academy member) Roger L. Simon checks in: "Jeremy Irons is acutally funnier than Rock, never thought I'd say that."
The gorgeous, but heavily accented Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek presenting awards for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing without a trace of irony. Defamer's live-blogging pointed us to a previous Hayek-Cruz moment. Prof. Ann Althouse had the television talk back to her: "What the hell's the difference between that and Sound Mixing? No one knows or cares. Why isn't this grouped with the technical awards that are done in a separate ceremony? The coma continues... Okay, it's The Incredibles. Here's where I miss using the TiVo assist. The acceptor says these aren't 'technical' awards, these are for 'artistic decisions.' It's as if he heard my bitching."
Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, winning Best Music Score for Finding Neverland, unintentionally gets a laugh noting he's the first person to thank Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein. Prince actually taking his announcement of the Best Original Song award (to The Motorcycle Diaries) seriously; even his wardrobe was subdued. Sean Penn sticking up for Jude Law, who had been the butt of one of the bits in Chris Rock's opening monolgue.
Hilary Swank wins Best Actress; Defamer was not impressed: "Tragically, she wasn’t able to find a stylist to dress her on her big night, and had to settle for slipping into a three-dollar navy blue stocking from JC Penney cut down to reveal her toned ass-crack. She goes to the 'girl from a trailer park' thing, which is obscene for someone who’s just won their SECOND Oscar. Um, you’ve already overcome the Cheez Wiz sandwiches and GTOs on blocks in the driveway years ago? White trash cred expires after the first award, Hils. She saves thanking Clint Eastwood to the end…then, as the music blares, erases any genuine Clint sentiment by loudly thanking 'her best friend and publicist.' This will go down as one of the worst speeches in the history of spoken language. Can they get that statue back and hand it to the Botox-paralyzed Annette Bening, who won’t know she’s lost until the middle of the Vanity Fair party?"
Gwyneth Paltrow looking much better in her gown than in the one she wore the night she won. The Screenplay awards went to Sideways and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as they should have, though it was cool that The Incredibles was also nominated. Charlie Kauffman, as his time was running out accepting for Eternal Sunshine: "No, I don't want to take my time -- I want to get offstage."
Jamie Foxx "keeping it real" during his acceptance speech -- a nice change from the hotdogging he'd been doing ever since the Golden Globes. Finally, as mentioned above, Clint. He thanks his mother for her genes, as she is there with him at 96 years old.
AS PAUL HARVEY WOULD SAY, "PAGE TWO..."
WILCO ON ICE! Laugh, but Jeff Tweedy hasn't ruled it out.
RYAN ADAMS is now Mechrobioticon. No, really.
THE LONESOME DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL: It looks like The Guardian has the sequel ready for Bob Dylan.
LYNN SWANN: The former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has formed a campaign committee to explore a run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006.
MAN CAN SUE OVER SURPRISE PREGNANCY: A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress — but not theft, an appeals court has ruled. That court would be my day job, so I'm loathe to comment, other than to say that I think my judge was not involved in the decision.
I CONSIDERED QUITTING MY JOB for the six-figure salaried position of Vice President, CMT Dukes of Hazzard Institute. However, it looks like there should be a few surplus General Lees coming to the market soon, so I stayed put.
THE REPLACEMENTS' CATALOG will be reissued in expanded form this year, though it will take two record companies to do it. Plus, Paul Weterberg will have a "best of" collection issued. And who wouldn't have wanted to see Lucinda Williams joined Westerberg for a cover of the Kitty Wells-popularized "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels?"
BRITNEY SPEARS is imitating The Simpsons.
BAND OF THE LOHAN: After Lindsay Lohan's mother failed to win a gag order, her creepy father's interview on ABC's PrimeTime Live aired, in which he claimed that he doesn't think his behavior -- including charges of assault, drunken driving and fraud -- has hurt his daughter's career. For some reason, the ABC News web version makes no reference to the allegation that he threatened to kill his family, twice invoking the name of O.J. Simpson. Some are speculating that the family stress is causing the teen queen to become a shadow of her former self.
THE FOOD POLICE WANTS YOUR SALT: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (which has complained about everything from canola oil to to fettuccini alfredo to Hardee's Thickburger) has renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive, which would give the FDA authority to set limits for salt in foods.
CONDI RICE: After casting a thumbs-down on the jacket Vice-President Cheney wore to Auschwitz, the fashion folks at the Washington Post are giving a thumbs up to the Secretary of State's Eurowear:"Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women on the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps. She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame Matrix jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn't give her ensemble a double take -- all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?But the main thing is the picture, for which I'm sure you can come up with your own caption...
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: I made a note of it at the beginning of the month, but procrastinated in posting about it until now. I was tempted to put up links to sites celebrating the Negro Baseball League, as I know a few of you are baseball fans. I also considered linking to the heroism of the Tuskeegee Airmen, because the contributions of African-Americans to our history go far beyond the field of entertainment. Indeed, the bit about Secretary of State Rice so testifies.
But ultimately, this site is one devoted to a rock band, so there may be no more appropriate links than to pages at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. After all, where would Rock been without Chuck Berry? Where would Chuck Berry have been without Robert Johnson? Claude Pate could always tear up a room with "Rock And Roll," "For Your Love," or even "Tush," but where would Led Zeppelin, The Yardbirds, or ZZ Top have been without Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and many other blues greats? Would "She's So Special" been as special without Bo Diddley? And who didn't enjoy the Mike Kelly-sung rendition of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'?" So on the last day of Black History Month, take a moment to remember that any enjoyment you got from Claude Pate is in no small part due to contributions blacks made to American culture -- particularly during an era when they were largely shut out of white society. [And top it off with jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman taking Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars -- not bad at all.]
HOWARD DEAN: I'm on record opining that Dean is smart to be looking to Democrats who have succeeded in "red states." However, those Democrats don't want to be seen with him. In the short-run, it may be a "win-win" proposition, as those Democrats look more moderate for snubbing Dean, while boosting Dean's edgy image. But in the long-run, I suspect those Democrats might suggest to Dean that calling Republicans evil is not a straegy that wins votes in red states.
DEMOCRACY SPREADING TO EGYPT? In a surprise and dramatic reversal, President Hosni Mubarak has ordered that the Egyptian constitution be changed to allow presidential challengers on the ballot this fall. However, Mubarak's order to parliament declared the amendment must state that any potential candidate be a member of an official political party and win the endorsement of parliament, which is dominated by Mubarak's party. Most opposition parties and reform activists said the initiative was welcome, but did not go far enough and feared it was only cosmetic. Jeff Jarvis has rounded up some reactions from Egyptian bloggers.
PRESSURE on SYRIA? Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Ba'ath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture.
ON THE PITCHFORK: A feature on "The Current," the seemingly cool new Twin Cities radio station noted here previously.
JACKO JUSTICE: No Rock 'n' Roll Fun manages to simultaneously criticize and more cleverly snark on UK tabloid coverage of the Michael Jackson trial And there's cheesecake.
LUNA plays its last gig (for now, anyway) in Chicago. After the Replacements and Guided by Voices, I'm not sure how I feel about getting a rep as a good place to die.
OUTLAW COUNTRY: "Little Steven" Van Zandt was behind the launch of the Sirius satellite radio channel that connects the dots among Texas swing, rockabilly, country that twangs, country rock, alternative country and three generations of Hank Williamses.
ISLAM IN EUROPE: Though Muslims make up only 3 percent of the British population, more people attend Friday prayers than go to Sunday church, a recent survey found.
ISLAMIC EXTREMISM IN THE U.S.: Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the man accused of plotting with Al-Qaeda to assassinate President Bush, was the 1999 valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has called for renewed checks into the school’s finances and its possible ties to extremism. By which I guess he means checking whether the 11th-grade textbook still says one sign of the Day of Judgment will be that Muslims will fight and kill Jews, who will hide behind trees that say: "Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him." The Saudis don't do much better with the material they supply to American mosques, either.
LARRY SUMMERS MUST BE KICKING HIMSELF: The Harvard University president is still weathering the firestorm of criticism ignited after his remarks at a Jan. 14th conference regarding the relative abilities of men and women in math and science. However, according to researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the University of New Mexico, when given intelligence tests, men used 6.5 times more gray matter than women, while women used nine times as much white matter. Gray matter is central to processing information and plays a vital role in aiding skills such as mathematics, map-reading, and intellectual thought. White matter connects the brain's processing centers and is central to emotional thinking, use of language, and multi-tasking. Another study suggests that homosexual men share the same relatively poor map reading skills as heterosexual women. For all the grief he took, poor Lar might wish Harvard was in Sweden, where the government bans science on gender differences. At least he would have known not to "go there."
WONDER WOMAN may be played by Kim Basinger or Jessica Biel. Either one works for me.
CULT OF THE iPod: I previously noted that a bar in Des Moines was hosting an iPod night; it's happening in Washington, DC, too.
PETE DOHERTY UPDATE: The Guardian runs a profile of the troubled singer in which it's revealed that he has a posh background. Kick a man when he's down!
HUNTER S. THOMPSON had his wife on the phone when he shot himself. Plus, his son, daughter-in-law and 6-year-old grandson were in the house when the shooting occurred. Bad form, Hunter.
QUENTIN TARANTINO will script and direct the season finale of 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation I dunno... he'll have a hard time topping his cameos on Alias and American Idol.
UNITED NATIONS SEX SCANDALS may be more widespread that previously known.