Monthly Archives: June 2003


TROUBLE IN JASPERWOOD: James Lileks has come clean on what was wrong, from the previous day’s cryptic post: his wife was sacked from her lawyer job, and this caused him to worry that he may have to start writing more regularly for money (as opposed to every night, for free).
Apparently, even though Lileks didn’t ask, large sums of money have been donated via his PayPal button in the last 24 hours. In the meantime, I think I may have to lobby my father (like Mrs. Lileks, a lawyer in Minneapolis) to see if his firm has room for the wife of one of America’s best bloggers.
And hopefully, those responsible for the sacking will be sacked.

BOB LE FLAMBEUR: Iraqi supreme

BOB LE FLAMBEUR: Iraqi supreme propogandist Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf, aka Baghdad Bob, aka “Comical Ali,” was captured in Iraq– but later released it was determined that he posed little to no risk.
Now that ‘Bob’ is free- and still a cult figure in America- it’s time he went to Hollywood. Or maybe he can find a candidate next year for whom he can be press secretary.

SI ORTEGA!: I caught “Bruce

SI ORTEGA!: I caught “Bruce Almighty” the other night- nothing special, despite a few funny moments here and there (published review will be forthcoming). But there was one recurring, totally throwaway joke that while it doesn’t fit the movie, just about had me on the floor.
Catherine Bell, the buxom actress best known for “JAG,” has a small role in “Bruce Almighty” as Susan Ortega, a local news anchor who, despite being clearly white and speaking unaccented English, has the last name “Ortega” and pronounces it with a Spanish lisp.
The joke appears to be a nod to the minor trend of local newscasters exaggerating (if not downright lying) about their racial or cultural heritage for purposes of career advancement. An old co-worker of mine told the story once about visiting a West Coast city and noticing that a high school classmate of his was working in that city as a lead news anchor. But while the classmate had been white (and Jewish!) in high school, in the intervening years he had undergone plastic surgery, darkened his skin, and changed his name to “Martinez.”
I’m not quite sure how common this practice is, but it’s quite funny that such a thing would be made fun of in such a mainstream movie as “Bruce.”


IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN: Despite a strong opening weekend, the movie “The Hulk” hasn’t gotten the greatest word of mouth, and thus has inserted a curious line into this week’s TV commercials: “it’s the movie people are arguing about.”
In other words: “a large percentage of the people who saw this movie thought it totally sucked! Come see if they’re right!”


GETTIN’ GAWKED AT: I want to welcome everyone who’s here for the first time after clicking over from Gawker today -all 400-some of you- and to say thanks to Entertainment Weekly It-Lister Elizabeth Spiers for sending ’em over. I’d been planning one of those funny-Google-searches posts for tonight, but my referral logs have been wiped clean, in favor of all-Gawker, all-the-time.
Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?


LISTEN ALL Y’ALL, IT’S A SABOTAGE!: The latest on the Spike vs. Spike TV battle: Spike Jones, Jr., the son of legendary satirist Spike Jones, has filed an affidavit in the case on the side of Viacom, calling Lee’s suit “frightening.”
Spike Jones is not to be confused with Spike Jonze, director of “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and numerous music videos. Oddly, for a story about mistaken identity involving the name “Spike,” the 12-paragraph AP story does not mention that Spike Jonze even exists. Jonze has apparently not had anything to say about Lee’s suit; perhaps Lee will sue him too- or Spike Jones will sue Spike Jonze over the Spike Jones/ze name.
And maybe Spike Lee, whose real name is Shelton Jackson Lee, should be sued by Texas Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.


GOOFIEST QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Seething with rage and frustration at the success of the war in Iraq, liberals have started in with their female taunting about weapons of mass destruction.” -Ann Coulter, in her most recent column; repeated nearly word-for word tonight on Joe Scarborough’s MSNBC show, a few minutes before she defended Joseph McCarthy and called him “a great American.”
Female taunting?


DA (BANK ONE) BEARS: Oh, what would Ditka and the Superfans say? It was announced yesterday that the Chicago Bears, beginning next year, will heretofore be known as “Bank One Presents the Chicago Bears,” as the bank has agreed to pay the Bears $2 million a year for the team naming rights.
While stadiums have been known by corporate names for a couple of decades, this is the first time an actual major-league sports team has taken on the name or subtitle of a corporate sponsor (no, the now-defunct Arena Football franchise the Miami Hooters does not count). The closest precedent in the world of entertainment was “The Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show,” which briefly aired on ABC in 1996. A variety show starring a just-off-SNL Carvey and written by longtime Conan O’Brien writer and future “Pootie Tang” director Louis CK, the first episode featured a lactating Bill Clinton breastfeeding a litter of puppies- a sketch that so outranged higher-ups that Taco Bell angrily pulled their sponsorship, and the show itself was canceled a few weeks later.
Considering how bad the Bears were last year, perhaps Bank One will hastily withdraw from the deal after Da Bearsss go 3-13 next year. Or maybe new quarterback Kordell Stewart will suddenly start lactating in the middle of a game. But more likely the former.


POST-BLAIR PLAGIARISM WATCH: On the heels of the Post/IMDB thing Paul Frankenstein uncovered yesterday, I’ve found something similar:
Some of you may remember a widely circulated e-mail forward from around the time of the Iraq war, a “military history of France” that made fun of France’s various military blunders throughout history. On page 135 of the June issue of Maxim (Shania Twain on the cover), there’s a general roundup of humorous anti-France stuff, which includes a timeline of French wars– and lifts or slightly rephrases multiple lines from the forward that was circulated months earlier, including references to the “Dien Bien Flu,” and “the first rule of Muslim warfare: we can always beat the French.”
A Google search of one of the lines in the Maxim story, that after World War I France discovered “what it’s like to bed a winner who doesn’t call her ‘Fraulein,'” turns up 683 results. Doesn’t Maxim have fact-checkers for this sort of thing?