Monthly Archives: December 2009

Conventional Attractiveness

AKIE BERMISS: As an academic and lover-of-knowledge it hurts me to admit this, but we live in an age suffering from too much study. We believe there is nothing that cannot be understood without an intensive study. That all nature’s secrets and all the Universe’s wonders will fall open and tender underneath the fearsome power of our scrutiny. We believe that anything — everything — can be measured. Can be divided. Can be broken down into discreet units that are simply arranged “just so” in the matter and space that is all around us. And this past week we took another step toward the absurdly ridiculous when three researchers from the University of Toronto publish a study claiming to have discovered the “golden ratios” for female facial beauty.

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Traditional attractiveness is hugely over-rated, and I’m not just saying that because I’m bitter that I never got my nose fixed after I broke it. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Anticipating Avatar and Thoughts on James Cameron

ZOE RICE: I see so few movies, but no one wants to see Avatar with me! I’m sure I’ll get one of my friends to change his/her mind, but the previews do kinda look silly. And yet the buzz from people who’ve seen it sounds amazing, no?

AKIE BERMISS: Yeah I’ve tried to gear myself up for Avatar. But every time I see a
poster or preview it looks so ridiculous!

ZOE RICE: That’s the whole problem! i see a preview, and I’m like…so it’s bad acting and weird floppy blue people? But then the people who’ve seen it call it ground breaking and a whole new chapter in film making…. Continue reading

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SNL: James Franco/Muse

ZOË RICE: SNL rarely opens with this type of recurring sketch–the Lawrence Welk show, with those 4 singing sisters–and the host, James Franco appeared in it, another rarity. I get the sense this skit might not have been the original opener, but I don’t care. I loved it. I laughed heartily. Eunice is so friggin’ funny. With those little mutant hands and all their hilarious antics! James Franco held his own and made me psyched for the rest of the show.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I have to say, I do enjoy this skit. Obviously, skewering Lawrence Welk isn’t particularly timely, and it does play oddly as the opener- but I’m glad for it, and James Franco announced his presence with authority.

STEVE MURPHY: I think the only reason this was so jarring is because the cold open is usually political and usually sucks. Overall this one was a success for me. I don’t understand why this needs sketch even needs a Lawrence Welk reference, really. I’m with Howard, the Lawrence Welk Show isn’t topical enough to lampoon. Luckily James Franco was fantastic, and Kristen Wiig was intensely creepy as usual as the mutant fourth sister (even if her lines weren’t as funny as usual). Franco’s gonna be a great host, I can feel it! Continue reading

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On Health Care and Compromising

JESSICA BADER: There has been a lot about the healthcare reform debate, especially in the Senate, that has frustrated me to no end – the objections by conservative Democrats to even a weakened public option, the immense leverage that a single Senator can have over the entire process, the way that filibusters have gone from a rarity to the norm, the way that opponents of abortion rights have used the debate to impose further restrictions on access to a legal medical procedure – but in the end, I cannot condemn the tactics used by those who have shaped the legislation in ways contrary to what I would like. My basic philosophy of political negotiation is to take what you can get, but up until the take-it-or-leave-it moment fight like hell to narrow the gap between the world as it is and the world as you’d like it to be. That seems to me to be exactly what Ben Nelson did.

HOWARD MEGDAL: It’s never made much sense to me that people find it difficult to sell the idea that elections matter. But clearly, the re-election of Joe Lieberman in 2006 may well have cost Americans an incalculable amount of money, since Ned Lamont was certain to be for a public option. More concretely, Lieberman instead of Lamont has clearly resulted in the inability of those 55-64 to buy into Medicare. These most vulnerable in the health care system were set adrift by Joe Lieberman. Continue reading

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Horndog High

AKIE BERMISS: My interest in the Horndog High scandals was short-lived, but it burned hot while it lasted. I didn’t got to James Madison High School, but I grew up in the neighborhood and, irrational though it is, the thought that these teachers were possibly getting physically amorous in a classroom where they could be surreptitiously observed by, say, a janitor or delinquent student cutting class is, well — its sensational to me. The high school boy in me loves a good scandal involving the teachers. It take the emphasis off classwork and homework for a while and it gives us something salacious to follow in the private conversation and reactions of our gossiping teachers trying to play it cool.

TED BERG: If Horndog High is every high-school boy’s fantasy land, a magical place where naked young female teachers frolic in classrooms after school and social-studies vixens carry on affairs with seniors, then the institution’s villain is the inarguably whistle-blowing janitor. Continue reading

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Alicia Keys

AKIE BERMISS: When I say Alicia Key’s new The Element Of Freedom album is un-listenable, I am NOT exaggerating. The album is an unmitigated disaster of musical mediocrity. Its not that the songs themselves are horrible, per se. Each one is a nice, bland, soft-rock-pop single on its own. Each could be the end-credits music for an early-90s action-romance (read: Speed). But put them all back-to-back and they amount to some of the most uninteresting, soporific music I have heard all year.

STEPHON JOHNSON: I agree that Alicia Keys’ new album is dull, conservative and safe. But we’ve known that about Keys for a while now. The Element of Freedom doesn’t have the element of surprise. Clive Davis probably likes it that way. Continue reading

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Mint and Chocolate: A Good Idea?

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Truly, there is no better flavor combination than chocolate and mint. I’ve got two words for you: Thin Mints. I defy anyone to name a better cookie!

Many people will argue that peanut butter and chocolate is superior, but they’re dead wrong…

DAVE TOMAR: A repugnant combination from those deceptive Andes chocolates that appear to be normal once removed from their green wrappers to the thin mints that the Girl Scouts of America unleash upon us like door-to-door Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Girl Scouts . . .is there any lower kind of scum in the festering pus-puddle that is publicly-funded youth recreation? Continue reading

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Alan Grayson

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Can Dick Cheney morph into liquid form and slither under doors and into our homes at night? Can he suck the souls of his victims out through their mouths, Dementor-style? Is there a reason to be afraid of him that I don’t yet understand? Continue reading

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SNL: Taylor Lautner/Bon Jovi

ZOË RICE: A trio of cheating senators bemoan–where’s our outrage? Where’s our media blitz? Why just Tiger Woods? Not a bad open to the program, but not a great one either. There’s something mediocre this week in the SNL Kool-Aid for me, and it starts with this sketch. I give it an “Eh.”

STEVE MURPHY: The disagreement about Tiger’s ethnicity was the best part of this one. “Is it because we’re white men and Tiger Woods is… well, I guess… black-Asian-Polynesian-Cherokee?” A generally good idea, not too badly done. I’m lukewarm so far. Fingers crossed.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I don’t know, guys- has there really been a scarcity of coverage of Sanford/Edwards/Ensign?!? Continue reading

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Newshour Week in Review

AKIE BERMISS: After watching I feel maybe 10 IQ points higher than I’ve felt in about five or six years.  I’d forgotten what watching the news on PBS does to the mind.  This new NewsHour is…

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