Thursday, December 31, 2009

and the oscar goes to...

...inglourious basterds?

the l.a. times' tom o'neill:
Breaking with recent tradition, a weighted ballot will be used to pick the winner this year. Thus, pundits must size up this race in new ways. I don't think "Basterds" would win under the old system, but I think it's the fave under this new one that offers 10 alternatives, thus widely splitting votes, giving the edge to the film with the most consensus support.
avatar? sci-fi rarely wins, says o'niell. the hurt locker? no stars. precious? too gritty. up in the air? not enough gravitas. (last year o'neill correctly predicted 21 of the 24 oscar races.)

that leaves tarrantino, pitt, and a bunch of nazi-killing basterds to take home gold on oscar night.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

always look on the bright side of life...

sullivan sums up obama and suggests, on his blog, that the right may be more aware of his success than the left. they're just not happy about it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

why i quit show business #5's 2009 star of the year.

what a difference a day (or 3) makes

ragtime is not closing. ragtime is closing.

lessons learned in 2009

2. it's not a competition.
1. talk less, listen more.

the top ten top ten of 2009
(aka: the best of the best of)

the end of any year is filled with top ten lists. the ten best, worst, sexiest, largest, fastest, biggest selling, whatever. this year being the end of a decade, we've got the best of the '00s to deal with too. truth be told, i find it all terribly annoying, and i'm quite certain i've blogged this exact paragraph before.

that said, here are ten of my favorite top ten lists for 2009:
1. huffington post lays out their greatest political disappointments of 2009, including setbacks for gay marriage, the debate over health care, and joe wilson's "you lie" outburst. there should be a special catagory for pol's named lieberman.

2. roger ebert has actually put together four ten best lists: best foreign, animated, and documentary films, as well as his choices for the ten best films of the year. he's roger ebert, and i believe him.

3. black cod with fennel chowder and smoked oyster panzanella. pumpkin-seed-crusted tofu with lemongrass broth. milk-braised pork shoulder with semolina gnocchi. eating is good. here are the top 10 best new restaurants in america, courtesy of bon appetite.

4. national geographic awards the 10 best new species of 2009 to new friends like the blob fish, the sea squirt, a worm without lungs, a shark with a penis on it's head, and a big, gay jellyfish.

5. u.s. news' year end list (or, year beginning list?) sounds like it could have been written by a 10 year old boy. among the 10 best careers for 2010? firefighter, meteorologist, architect, veterinarian, and funeral director. (what? you didn't want to be a funeral director when you were 10?)

6. let's pretend i read. the new york times' top books of 2009.

7. it's well known what a sports nut i am, so why wouldn't i enjoy sports illustrated's top sports photographs of 2009? especially when it includes a near trampling by giant wieners in milwaukee?

8. lists japanese hot pots as one of 2009's 10 best cookbooks. (see, i do read.) having actually eaten from a traditional japanese hot pot, i concur. buy this cookbook and invite me over. いただきます!

9. rolling stone has a dozen or so ten best lists. here's their ten best albums of 2009. to balance that is pitchfork's 50 best of '09, billboard's top 200 sellers of the year, and's 40 best. all four lists include this album.

10. not to be outdone, time magazine has listed the top ten everything for 2009, including the top ten animal stories (who could forget this charming quote: "yes! he ripped her apart ... he ripped her face off!") the top ten gadgets (hopefully you've all got your dyson air multiplier) and, of course, the top ten t-shirt-worthy slogans (from kanye's "i'ma let you finish" to obama's "all we-weed up.") okay then.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

lessons learned in 2009

1. talk less, listen more.

a most important conversation

something vitally important to discuss with your parents, your loved ones, your family members, long before the situation arises. this is why the "death panel" debate is so infuriating and offensive: this is a serious, heavy issue that we should not be afraid to delve into in great detail. the decisions are never easy to make, but they are much easier if you've actually had the conversation.

lie of the year: take 2

palin wins again, with an assist from betsy mccaughey:
The "pulling the plug on grandma" falsehood really took off once former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin coined the term "Death Panel," but this falsehood got its first push from former New York lieutenant governor and health care overhaul opponent Betsy McCaughey.

She misrepresented a provision (since dropped) that merely called for Medicare to pay for voluntary counseling sessions to help seniors make end-of-life care decisions, such as designating a health care proxy, choosing a hospice or writing a living will.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a cozy christmas

i remember a scene just like this on christmas morning.

thanks a lot, but no thanks

carney says no.

bullish on barack

andrew sullivan thinks it's been a good year for obama:
When you consider the magnitude of shifting from one conservative era to one in which government simply has to be deployed to tackle deep structural problems, the achievement is as significant as his election year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

will the real john mccain please stand up?

dowd snarks mccain. somewhere, deep in his shriveling, shrinking heart, he knows this is true. but he'll either ignore, or – more in line with his recent persona – snark back. ugh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


the cast of disney on classic: promise. this year's tour came to a rousing conclusion sunday with a final sold-out concert in fukushima, japan and audiences standing and cheering long before the final note had been sung. (from left: brian runbeck, timothy booth, malkia stampley-johnson, tim ewing, anne tolpegin, jen zappola, tony clements, and ian simpson.)

lie of the year

palin wins.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

not quite a nine?

rob marshall, the director who single-handedly brought movie musicals back to life (with chicago) may have just killed them off again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

the fukuoka riffs

language is an interesting thing.

i'm traveling in japan with disney on classic (a symphony concert tour with the tokyo philharmonic orchestra, 8 singers, and a crew of japanese folks who have become my dear friends. 28 concerts over the course of two months.)

in japan, the letter U is always pronounced "ooo," and the letter O is pronouced "oh." thus, fukuoka = foo-koo-oh-kah. sometimes the japanese say it so quickly it sounds like three syllables instead of four: foo-kwoh-kah.

how it isn't pronounced is: fuck-you-oka.

living in a culture and country for two months at a time (six months total if you add my time here from 2007 and 2008) gives you hopefully more than a tiny insight into it, and – certainly in this case – brings a special respect for it's customs, food, culture and language.

that said, here are some witty u.s. responses to my and other cast members' facebook posts mentioning fukuoka (i.e. "today i'm in fukuoka!" or "had a lovely dinner in fukuoka today"):
  • Hey, watch your language
  • What did you just say to Japan ?
  • Is this an Austin Powers joke ?
  • who is oka and why do u want her to fuk herself in Japan?
  • Fukuoka? Didn't his 16-year-old girlfriend shoot his wife a few years ago?
  • Fuk u ova?
  • You just like using that name!
  • who's oka? and why are you so mad at her?
look, if i were back home and had never been to yokohama, or osaka, or masuda, or sapporo, or aomori, or fukuoka, i'd probably be laughing. i'm just feeling protective friend.

and hey, i get just as bent out of shape sticking up for places like gays mills, spooner, spread eagle and bohners lake, wisconsin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

oy, dat old man river!

you've probably never heard old man river quite like this:

don't mess with texas parker

houston, texas – the fourth largest city in the united states – has elected a new mayor. she's "the first contender in a generation to defeat the hand-picked candidate of Houston's business establishment."

oh, and she's gay.

shame on john mccain

the daily beast's matt miller shames the senate's grumpy gramps (mccain) who is fast becoming the republican's go-to man for throwing hissy fits about stopping health care reform:
If every aging, displaced worker in America had McCain’s incumbency or inherited wealth to fall back on, it’s true—the ability to buy into Medicare would be superfluous. But most Americans aren’t in the Senate or married to an heiress. For most Americans, losing a job (and health coverage) in your late 50s or early 60s spells catastrophe. For McCain to set aside the obvious empathy he must feel for this vulnerable group in order to score cheap political points is dishonorable.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


i know you're all asking this question already, but really – why is it all tiger all the time?

UPDATE 1:42 AM – and maddow provides as good an answer as i've heard:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

a brief swooning in brooklyn

if you're in new york, anywhere near new york, heading to new york, or have thoughts of going to new york, see this: kneehigh theater’s adaptation of the 1945 noel coward movie brief encounter.

i was lucky enough to see encounter at american conservatory theatre in san francisco (it has since moved to st. ann’s warehouse in brooklyn, where it opened tuesday night.) that same trip west included the green day musical american idiot at berkeley rep – with green day in the audience. not a bad weekend for someone who doesn't often enjoy going to theatre.

like american idiot (and not at all like american idiot) brief encounter provided some of the most inspiring, surprising and creative moments of theatre i've experienced since sitting slack-jawed during the first 20 minutes of spring awakening.

no kidding, call right now and get tickets.

who doesn't like a good gouda?

and, is right around the corner.

a tough act to follow

u.s. president barack obama at tokyo's suntory hall on november 14, 2009. disney on classic performs at suntory this friday, december 11.

like it's 1991

certain songs stay with you, mean different things at different times, take you back. for some reason tonight i'm back to early 1991 and events in my life at the time. these five tunes stick out, each for specific reasons and memories. instantly i'm sitting in a running car, late at night, it's so cold outside i can see my breath inside the car, i'm waiting for someone to come out of a house, i'm nervous and anxious...and, well. the rest of the memory is mine.

quote of the day

"Like many of you who live in New Jersey, I've been following the progress of the marriage-equality legislation currently being considered in Trenton.

I've long believed in and have always spoken out for the rights of same sex couples and fully agree with Governor Corzine when he writes that, "The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is -- a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law."

I couldn't agree more with that statement and urge those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now."

gotta be this or that

politico brilliantly headlines an article gay marriage inevitability in doubt, and goes on to use the final paragraph to make just the opposite point:
...a review of recent polling and conversations with political operatives and pollsters on both sides of the issue suggest that same-sex marriage still benefits from deep support from younger voters.

A Gallup poll from May, for instance, found that 18 to 29 year olds favor same-sex marriage by a margin of 59% to 37%, while people 65 and over oppose it by an even wider margin. And other studies have suggested the support among young voters is broad, and stretches across regions. One recent Columbia University study reported that more than 50% of 18-29 year olds in 38 states support same-sex marriage.
this is not becoming a generational issue, it already is. setbacks in maine, new york, and (likely) new jersey aside, the momentum may have slowed, but the direction is basically the same.
UPDATE 12/10/09 politico has since changed the headline to read is gay marriage 'inevitable'?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

size does matter

a jellyfish. beautiful, but not a pleasant site in the sea of japan. even more unpleasant when you realize this is no ordinary little jellyfish. in fact, little has nothing to do with it.

from environmental graffiti:

"They came from the deep – swarms of giant jellyfish that can sink trawlers and strike fear into the hearts of fishermen. Growing to almost seven feet wide, weighing a sumo-sized 450lb (200kg), and armed with myriad stinging tentacles, Echizen kurage sound like the stuff of Japanese sci-fi, yet the threat they pose is as real as it gets. Since 2005, these slimy horrors have been wreaking havoc in the waters off the coast of Japan – and how to stop them is anyone’s guess."

more on the giant jellyfish, including video, here.

what to do when you have too many giant jellyfish? npr's madeleine brand uncovered one solution in yokohama:

it was 29 years ago today...

Friday, December 4, 2009

the threat to marriage

if you haven't seen this, you should:

new york state senator diane savino speaks on marriage equality just before the senate voted the bill down.

大橋トリオ: i can't get enough

a few weeks ago started buying ohashiTrio records. i haven't stopped yet.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

i say a little prayer for you

nasty grumpy sad face-lift person crawls out from under his rock to offer some absolutely brilliant advice to young gay actors everywhere (cue eye roll.)

unfortunately for nasty grumpy sad face-lift person, lots of those young gay actors are saying to themselves, "rupert who?"

a heavenly pressing

proof that "life is going to be good," according to mary jo coady.

and then there's this.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

backlash: 38-24

via andrew sullivan:
New York's state senate continues the recent backlash against recent expansion of marriage equality. The vote against marriage equality was more lopsided than many had hoped for. Not a single Republican voted for the bill, despite intense lobbying. The vote in the Assembly was 88 - 51 in favor of civil equality.
and this despite what a marist poll out today reveals:
Where do New York State registered voters stand on this controversial issue? A slim majority — 51% — favor legalizing same-sex marriage. 42% oppose it.
des moines, here i come.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

what's the difference?!

william shatner grilling rush limbaugh about health care reform in the u.s. just...skip past how weird that is in the first place, and listen to rush's point. if his argument doesn't make you at least a little sick to your stomach, then you're probably not – as my dad would characterize me – "strictly librul."
Shatner: Here's my premise and you agree with it or not. If you have money, you are going to get health care. If you don't have money, it's more difficult.

Limbaugh: If you have money you're gonna get a house on the beach. If you don't have money you're gonna live in a bungalow somewhere.

Shatner: Right, but we're talking about health care.

Limbaugh: What's the difference?!

Shatner: The difference is we're talking about health care, not a house or a bungalow.

Limbaugh: You're assuming there's some morally superior aspect to health care.

but adam, it's not that it was offensive...'s that it wasn't good.

the reason i don't have an iPhone (yet)

it may be hip, it may be exciting, it may have tons of apps, but – sorry iPhone users – there's still this:
In the latest annual survey by Consumer Reports, released Tuesday, Verizon topped the rankings of major wireless phone carriers in the United States. The survey awarded high marks to Verizon for customer support, voice connectivity and data services. T-Mobile came in second, with Sprint and AT&T tying for last place.

The popularity of the iPhone has been something of a mixed blessing for the telecom company. While the iPhone has clearly won new customers for AT&T, it has also prompted many complaints about dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds.
can you hear me now?