Monthly Archives: June 2010

Monkey News

I watched the Animal Planet documentary about the history of Michael Jackson’s relationship with his chimp, Bubbles, and it was a masterpiece of unintentional hilarity. I don’t know what my favorite part was- that LaToya was the only member of the Jackson family who agreed to participate, or that the movie’s narration gets considerably more judgmental about Jackson’s later-years neglect of Bubbles than about his child molestation charges, or that the doc’s emotional climax is LaToya’s tearful reunion with the now 250-pound monkey.
The part that really got me- Bubbles is shown, in a cage, now living at a facility in Florida specifically dedicated to monkeys and other primates who have been abandoned by celebrities. Yes, apparently, there are enough such animals to necessitate an entire clinic. I wonder if Reagan’s monkey from “Bedtime For Bonzo” is there too.

Byrd Dead

The longest-serving senator in history died today at the age of 92.
The question I ask about any older politician who dies is, “was he right on civil rights?” Byrd, of course, wasn’t. But at least he denounced his prior racism, and renounced his Klan membership about five decades ago. Unlike, say, Jesse Helms, who remained a hateful quasi-Klasman right up until the day he died.

Twins Interleague Fail

The Twins had a pretty bad interleague road trip, aside from taking two of three from the Phillies, and Saturday’s win over the Mets in Queens, where the team beat Johan Santana for the first time thanks to a second dominant performance in a row from Carl Pavano. Gee, remember when Santana was a dominant pitcher for Minnesota, and Pavano was a laughingstock with New York?
Trade for Cliff Lee? I don’t know- I’d love to have him, but the trade would subtract three fifths of the current rotation. They’d have to trade a pitcher, and Lee is a free agent, and so is Pavano. How about Dan Haren? I’d be happier with him.

On “Youth in Revolt”

Finally saw this over the weekend; back in January, I got directed the wrong way down Ridge Pike and missed the screening. Anyway, good movie, great idea, pretty funny, but could’ve been better.
The movie is mostly just a wasted opportunity. Its trailer made it look like a deconstruction of Cera’s movie persona- the huge wuss who everyone’s sick of, finally deciding to become the exact opposite. But instead, it didn’t do nearly enough with the premise. (“Paper Heart,” one of last year’s worst films, wasted a similar opportunity.)
Still, impressive, coming from director Miguel Arteta, whose previous films (“Chuck and Buck,” “The Good Girl”) I didn’t especially care for.

Comparing Stadiums

Randball’s “Clearance Clarence,” like me, was a Twins fan at the Twins-Phils series in Philly last week. His observations: cheesesteaks are awesome, Philly fans aren’t as mean as everyone says, and:

Baseball: Citizens Bank Park is nice. It reminds me of a slightly larger Target Field, if Target Field were relocated to a parking lot in Richfield and had maroon steel I-beams instead of Limestone.

Godspeed, Weigel

This is awful, awful news:

Dave Weigel, The Washington Posts embed in conservative grassroots movements, has resigned this afternoon following an incident earlier this week involving Matt Drudge, the blog Fishbowl D.C., and a private e-mail listserv

This is a damned shame, because Weigel was doing some of the finest work of any political journalist in the country- dedicated, informative, and often very funny.
The libertarian who used to work for Reason magazine and voted for Ron Paul in 2008 covered the conservative and Tea Party movements for the better part of the last two years, often attending Tea Party conferences every week (because really, they have them every week.) Even though Weigel- as shown through his Twitter feed- clearly doesn’t agree much with the loonier precincts of the far right- he was way nicer to and gave way more of a hearing to the Tea Party types than they probably deserve.
It’s really terrible to see this, because I can’t think of a single thing Weigel did wrong- he said mean things about Matt Druge and others on an off-the-record listserv, but nothing he said would’ve even raised an eyebrow if, say, Rush Limbaugh said it. More of the “liberal media” at work; when the Post fires people like Weigel and Dan Froomkin, but hires every mediocre former Bush speechwriter for an op-ed column, can it really be called a “liberal newspaper” anymore?
I’m not worried about Dave, he’ll land on his feet I’m sure, and I’m sure he’ll eventually write a great book about the conservative nuttiness of the last two years.
The Twitter reaction has been entertaining- see #TeamWeigel.

Film Critic Quote of the Week

Dan Fienberg on “Grown Ups”:

“Grown Ups” is the least funny theatrical release that any of its stars have ever been a part of.

I just want to let that sink in, because Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider have combined to be in some truly unfunny movies.

“Grown Ups” has fewer laughs than “The Benchwarmers,” “Little Nicky” or “Lost & Found.” It has fewer chuckles than either of the Deuce Bigalow movies. It has fewer chortles than “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and fewer guffaws than “Head of State.”..
[Note: I haven’t seen Schneider’s direct-to-video prison rape comedy “Big Stan,” so I added the “theatrical release” proviso just in case.]

Put that on the poster- “‘Grown Ups’- Better Than Prison Rape!”