Sunday, March 06, 2005

A note to our readers

We do read the e-mails! (Yeah, yeah, you all say Ava writes back, you all love Ava, we get it.)

Suzette and Kip both e-mailed asking if we could take a look at Reba. Kip reports that as a married father of two, with both his wife and himself in college, Friday nights mean staying home and trying desperately to find something to watch. Each week, Reba disappoints him more and more. Suzette notes that if it weren't for Steve Howie, she wouldn't even watch and that "Reba McEntire has to be the most irritating person on the face of the planet!"

You asked for it, you got it. Check out the TV review of Reba.

In addition, you'll find us noting a wonderful CD by Anais Mitchell: Hymns for the Exiled. Please check this out. We don't have Kat's musical knowledge but we know this is an incredible CD.

In the DVD report, we note Jane Fonda's excellent performance in California Suite. And Kip, we didn't rent that at Blockbuster, we found it at our library. So remember that our libraries are wonderful resources filled with books, magazines, music and movies (DVDs and videos).

We stay on the topic of Jane Fonda by highlighting Rebecca's Women's History Month salute to Fonda.

We also take a look at little Bobby Casey Junior and the Democratic party's shift to the right.

And no, your eyes don't deceive you, it does appear we've written two notes to readers. But we haven't. The editorial this week revolves around one reader who felt it was okay to object to the way he/she came off here but not publicly. Fine, we get people doing that all the time. What's not fine is that the person and their minions insult us with a "deal." (And that's being kind.) Read the editorial and while the person is unnamed this time, if the person and the minions pop up again, we'll be sure to publish everything.

Hope you find something of interest here.

As usual we had help from C.I. of The Common Ills and Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Attitude and Screed. We thank them (always). C.I. assisted with all but the two "note"s. Rebecca assisted with all but this note.

Editorial: A note to one reader

We love our e-mails. We find a lot of smart people. We also find a few idiots. Not your usual garden variety type of future clock tower snipers, mind you, but people whom we've commented on.

We can note that many journalists have written in either to have their say or have the last word (depends on the way you look at it). We don't get why, if you feel we misinterpreted something, you wouldn't want to go public with your comments.

But here's food for thought, if we say an apple is a form of a food and you want to differ and demand that we label it as a fruit, go split hairs somewhere else. So, for instance, if we see contractors who are paid by the government as government employees and you see them as independent workers (freelancers?) don't waste your time writing in. Such comments only provoke loud laughter on this end.

But we want to address a certain someone (trust us, they're reading and they already know we're talking to them). If you have so much to say and feel the need to sick your posse on us as well . . . Clue one, tell 'em not to write "X passed me your story and told me to let you know how offended I am by what you wrote about X so here it is . . ."

Kind of defeats the whole "ground uprising" mood you're probably going for, no?

Here's another tip for you and your minions (you had six minions, by the way -- maybe some only told you they wrote?), don't threaten us.

Don't offer us some "reward" you think will bribe us. Your idea of a "reward" may not be our idea. Get it?


Well for instance, when we read remarks to the effect of "You need to stop linking to/working with/referring to The Common Ills because they are hated and you will never be acknowledged while you link/work with/refer to them . . ." -- we find you daft at best.

Hey, putzy, what makes you think we care about the links you care about? Or the ones you try to tempt us with?

And there's nothing you can offer that will make us turn on The Common Ills. Maybe you don't get it, but we are members of The Common Ills community. We went there, we liked what we saw and finally we were inspired to do our own blog.

We don't need your offer of links. We don't want your offer of links.

We don't give a flying fuck who you know or what you can do (or think you can). So you and your minions can go fuck yourselves.

We also want to note something else, and pay close attention here, if you and your minions ever offer your bribes/threats again, you'll find that the following Sunday will feature all of the e-mails.

That's right.

You'll be exposed for the little dicked asshole you are. For anyone to see. For all to see. And We're not sure how that will go over with certain people (you know who we mean).

So knock it off.

We talked to C.I. about it (and Rebecca who's assisting us with this entry). C.I. said at The Common Ills, when those e-mails come in, they are trashed. The policy is that only people who ask to be quoted are quoted. So what would you do if you were in charge of The Third Estate Sunday Review? "Considering that this is someone who's a professional writer and the language being used, if you want to print it, that's your business." Would you? "No."

Rebecca: "Why does everyone get all the groovy e-mails! I've had some old guys in the press ask me my measurements or if I swallow but that's usually all I ever get! I say print them. Every one, especially the fan club members who say they're writing because [X] told them to."

So we took a vote and this time, this time, your ass is safe. It was two to three. However, once this goes up, we are all five in agreement that if you and your minions ever attempt to bribe/threaten again, we will out your unethical ass so quickly you won't know what happened.

As C.I. would say, "Translation," cut the shit unless you want it to be public knowledge.

We're not turning on Rebecca, we're not turning on Folding Star and we're not turning on C.I.
Apparently you and your minions think we're media whores with a price on our ass. You are mistaken. Your "access" is not anything we give a damn about.

We would have thought that was obvious from anything we have posted here.

But apparently it's not clear to some weak minds.

Maybe next you and your minions will dash off e-mails to Folding Star or Rebecca telling them to end their relationship with C.I. and us. Because that's how your tactics read.

You seem to think that you have some power in the world. You may or may not have "access," but that doesn't interest us. We're not into your "access." We don't want your "access."

People who want to read our shit will come here. People who don't know about us will learn about us. We've done really well without your access (and our print edition is quite popular) so what makes you think we're longing for your idea of the big time?

And how cheap and unethical do you think we are? The first sailor waives a ten spot and we're ready to drop our drawers? We don't think so.

What does that say about your view of the world anyway?

Is this how you reached your level? If it is, that says a great deal about you and your priorities.

Like Amy Goodman, we're interested in truth. Unlike Ms. Goodman, we're rude, crude and nasty. So "bucko" (a term your minions love) don't fuck with us, as Faye Dunaway said in Mommy Dearest, this ain't our first time at the rodeo.

For those of you who have quarrelled with us in the past but didn't threaten or bribe, this doesn't apply to you. If you need to privately reply or just have the last word, continue to write. We can use the chuckles. But the person we're speaking to isn't wondering, "Are they talking about me?" The person we're writing to knows they're being talked to.

One more bullshit e-mail (with or without minions) and we'll post your message here for everyone to see. We don't give a damn. We don't have to.

We are The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Robert Casey Junior Doing Pop Proud

Robert Casey Junior is a name you'll probably being hearing more of. Saturday it was buried on the back page of the main section of the New York Times. (Page A28.)

And the news of Junior's run has Paul Greenfield of the Jewish World Review tickled pink. A lot of the usual cranks are coming out endorsing Junior.

Everyone's all a titter over a Quinnipiac poll that finds Junior leading in a potential match up against Man-On-Dog theorist Senator Rick Santorum (46% to 41%). As memory serves, we seem to remember Junior doing well in early polls when he ran for governor not so long ago in the distant past. But he didn't pull off the race, now did he?

Those wacky Quinnipiac-ers. As late as October 28th, they were calling Pennsylvania for Bush and I think we all remember who won that state (hint, his initials are J.K.).

But Junior's got a campaign strategy down pat (didn't help with the governor's race but . . .):

The elder Casey died in 2000 and Casey often mentions his father's death during campaign stops, especially when he speaks to senior citizens and other older voters who remember his father. He invokes his father's name and accomplishments when speaking to certain audiences. The memory of the Casey name helps him connect with voters who, he hopes, will vote for him because of the connection.

Junior's apparently not his own man, just a pale copy of Daddy. So what's so wrong with that?

Well Robert Casey is infamous for his attacks on Planned Parenthood (anyone remember Planned Parenthood v. Casey -- a Supreme Court case) and of course he was often greeted by the members of Act-Up (not warmly). Junior's singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and we think you might need to be concerned.

A word on polls, about this time in 2002, Junior was doing well in some polls against Ed Rendell.
(Keystone placed him with 38% and Rendell with 37%.) So why couldn't he pull out (for those not in the know, Rendell defeated Junior in the Democratic primary in May of 2002)?

Didn't "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" play well? Won't it this time?

No. And no.

See, when they report these polls they're saying, "Hey Rube! Believe what we tell you!"

And what's not stressed. How about a margin of error? 2.8% is the margin of error for Quinnipiac's poll. 46% to 41%. Wow, five points difference! But if the 2.8% splits Santorum's way, we're looking at 43.8% for Santorum and 43.2% for Junior.

Hey guys, Junior trails Santorum by .6%!!!!

And this is supposed to news to cheer over?

Same poll has Santorum sitting pretty with a 52% approval rating. That's a high that Arlen Specter (according to Quinnipiac's polling) only reached twice in 2004 (February -- 53%, and September -- 52%). So Santorum has, according to the polling, a comfortable perch not unlike Specter (and Specter was re-elected in 2004).

Rendell and Specter share one thing in common, they're pro-choice. For those not in the know, Rendell is the governor of Pennsylvania today. After trouncing Junior in the primary, he went on to win the general race.

But soft-minded Dems are just convinced that in order to win Santorum's seat, what they really, really need is an anti-choice candidate.

Let us repeat, Rendell and Specter are pro-choice. Rendell's a Democrat, Specter's a Republican.
What are soft-minded Dems not understanding?

The vicious Republican primary of 2004 demonstrated that Pennslyvania isn't going to turn against an elected senator just because some anti-choice candidate shows up. So why in the world do soft-minded Dems think that there's support for an anti-choice Democrat in what's a largely pro-choice state?

Junior and Santorum both reject public schools for their children. They both are anti-choice.
Does someone have some photos of Santorum engaging in man-on-dog sex? If not, why are they so sure that a carbon copy of Santorum can trump the original?

Santorum's the incumbent. That alone means he'll have access to huge funding. Junior?
Well let's just note that Emily's List and others won't be rushing to contribute to his campaign.
(Nor will we.)

This is one of the most idiotic decisions soft-minded Dems have made in recent days (a tough call, granted). "We're going to run someone just like Santorum and we'll win!" Say what you want about Santorum, but he has a superficial physical attractiveness. (Janeane Garofalo has compared his looks to those of a gay porn star.) Is Junior with his receding hairline and near uni-brow really going to be able to stand on stage opposite him and look "Senatorial?" We're puzzled that notion as well.

What was Rendell's charge against Junior in their primary race? Something about Junior
"doesn't understand education, lacks experience, never created a job, cut a tax or prosecuted a criminal." It's a long list. One doubts Santorum's campaign won't be using those talking points.

The Times story tells you that Rendell's endorsing Junior. It also tells you:

"The governor has asked me to step aside and allow Treasurer Casey [Junior] to run unopposed for U.S. Senate," Ms. [Barbara] Hafter said in a statement. "After some consideration, I have decided to agree to the governor's request."

This has created the situation that MyDD warned about on February 28th:

In other words, the events of the past week demonstrated what was previously demonstrated with Ginny Schrader's campaign: grassroots and netroots Democratic activism is alive and well within Pennsylvania. We did all of this ourselves, without any help from the party leadership or elected officials. Politicians and party leaders should take notice of this, for they fail to take us seriously at their own peril. This is why the ongoing movement to stop the Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial primary before it starts is utterly unacceptable, and I promise will be met with strong resistance.
[. . .]
This article is not the entire story. Many people with connections on this issue have insisted to me that the state and party leadership are in fact trying to clear the field for Casey and preempt the primary. This must not be allowed. As Democrats who are working hard, and succeeding, in damaging Santorum's re-election hopes, we deserve to be included in the selection of the candidate who will oppose and defeat Santorum. If, after the primary, that candidate ends up being Casey, then he would immediately find me among his biggest supporters. However, if the Democratic Party wants to continue to build its extremely fragile bridge with the Pennsylvania netroots and grassroots, it cannot shut its members out of the selection process, period. Many of us here in Pennsylvania are already suspicious of the machine-like tendencies and backroom-heavy characteristics of the state party, and something like this could very easily become the straw that broke the camel's back in that relationship.
I also fail to see how a contested primary, no matter what combination of Casey, Hafer, Hoeffel, and Pennacchio it contained, would be damaging to our chances to defeat Santorum. Sure, it would cost money, but that money would also be spent on bashing Santorum, raising name ID for all candidates, and giving the party a wider profile across the state. Rendell and Specter both had hotly contested primary battles in their recent statewide campaigns, and both went on to comfortable victories (8-10%) afterward. The same can be said for many Republican Senate candidates this year. I just don't buy that tons of free media exposure for Pennsylvania Democrats will somehow hurt Pennsylvania Democrats. By contrast, I can see very clearly how pre-empting the primary would go a long way toward hurting Pennsylvania Democrats.

MyDD closed with this hope: "Let the primary run its course. It will be to the benefit of us all."

We couldn't have agreed more. Sadly, that's apparently not even an option now.

A select group has come along and declared who is viable and who isn't. Not voters or would be voters, mind you. With the path cleared for Junior, who's invested in this race? Santorum lovers and Santorum foes. Considering how easily most incumbents win re-election, soft minded Dems (who apparently fear the democratic process) better hope they have something along the lines of Man-on-Dog photos of Santorum. Otherwise, Junior's about to get spanked again.

We'd love to see Santorum out of the Senate but on election night, if Junior's standing in the corner, rubbing his heinie and bawling his eyes out, don't expect us to shed any tears. Though it's doubtful Junior will learn his lesson, maybe soft minded Dems will.

Blog spotlight: Sex and Politics and Attitude and Screeds highlighting Jane Fonda

This is Women's History Month and since Rebecca wrote about Jane Fonda for it on her blog Sex and Politics and Attitude and Screeds, we decided to highlight this entry.

Rebecca: I didn't post Friday because Lizz Winstead is no longer with Unfiltered. It's like Superman finding out that Lex Luther is gone. You're kind of happy but there's a void in your life. And the sad truth is, I may have picked more on Lizz than the true problem. Listening to Unfiltered this week was like listening to a NPR rip-off at its worst. The show's got no charisma and no style. Rachel just drones on and on in her self-important, self-infatuated voice. Lizz was a no brain, but she actually managed to say nothing in a way that caught your ear. Big Brain just lulls you to sleep. This wasn't Lewis & Martin where both sides brought something to the partnership. Big Brain comes off like a pompous egghead without Lizz there at her side humanizing that Frankenstein monster. Who knew? As for Jane Fonda, I consider her an American treasure. She's a true artist and she's a true activist. We can all learn a lot from her.

saluting jane fonda (which means accountability for no brain lizz winstead and big brain rachel maddow)

Before I turned sixy I thought I was a feminist. I was in a way -- I worked to register women to vote, I supported women getting elected. I brought gender issues into my movie roles, I encouraged women to get strong and healthy, I read the books we've all read. I had it in my head and partly in my heart, yet I didn't fully get it.

that's jane fonda in a speech called 'v is volcano' from alternet.

it's women history's month and i didn't even realize it until i was reading the common ills this morning and saw the thing last night on gloria steinem. hey, c.i., i thought you were going to make the entries for women's history month shorter and less challenging. (i'm joking. i thought it was wonderful but there were members who wrote in about the 1st entry for black history month and c.i. had stated that the 1st entry for women's history month wouldn't be a long 1.

while it's not that long, it is very moving and encapsulates why gloria steinem is so important.)
i'd love to tell you that i was going to do something on women's history every month but let's be honest, i'll mean to and then forget. plus i haven't been making 7 days a week of blogging lately.
women's history month is important.

and i am noting it today. maybe i'll do so again. maybe i won't. that's the fun of coming to my blog. will she talk about sex? will she talk about politics? will she talk about attitude? will she just give a long screed?

you honestly never know!

i'm a woman of mystery!

keep 'em guessing!

but if i only highlight 1 woman the whole month, jane fonda is the one i would want to highlight.
for various reasons.

if you are a third estate sunday review reader (and you should be, and if you aren't why aren't you?) you may have seen their dvd review of barefoot in the park. and if you read their note to the readers, you understand why. they're going to do a dvd review of various comedies starring jane fonda as we get ready for the release of monster-in-law.

don't know monster-in-law? it's jane fonda's return to film acting. she plays a woman not thrilled to have jennifer lopez as her daughter. maybe the woman reads the tabloid and was struck by lopez's romance record?

the trailer is hilarious and i'll try to find the link that the common ills provided to it. but this is a movie that i want to see. i do like lopez. michael vartan plays jane fonda's son and he's pretty hot on alias but i truly fell for him in 1 hour photo where he demonstrated not only talent but also his knob. not enough guys flash the eye candy!

and the always funny wanda sykes is in it as well.

so i am primed for this film.

but the main reason is to see jane fonda. women love jane. we see her as a strong, brave woman who's done so much. and she's never been afraid to look back and say 'maybe i should have done that differently.' even in the speech above, she's still questioning, still growing. that's how i hope i live my life.

as a kid, i fell in love with coming home which used to air all the time. jane fonda won her 2nd oscar for that film. it's a drama. about sally hyde who goes to work at a v.a. hospital when her husband bob goes over to vietnam. sally falls in love with luke who is a paraplegic. it's a really romantic movie and i love the soundtrack.

and here's a trivia note for you. sally's husband is played by bruce dern. she falls in love with jon voight. billy bob thornton may have loved coming home too, after all he left laura dern (bruce's daughter) for angelina jolie (jon voight's daughter).

sally starts out the film very prim and as she spends hours at the v.a. hospital and is exposed to the costs of war, she begins a transformation. part of that is letting her hair go wild. and right after i saw that film, i had to have my 1st perm. every 1 said, 'oh becky, it looks just like stevie nicks!' stevie was really popular then. (i still love stevie nicks.) but i got that hair style because of the movie coming home. and jane fonda was my favorite actress.

i ended up seeing most of her films. (c.i. mentioned tout va bien not long ago and i haven't seen that film.) my favorites included klute (her first oscar), the hilarious 9 to 5, fun with dick and jane (which is being remade and i'm not really looking forward to that), julia, agnes of god, the morning after, on golden pond, barefoot in the park, sunday in new york, the dollmaker, a doll's house, cat ballou, old gringo (which i find to be an amazing mosaic), the china syndrome, california suite, eletric horseman, the game is over . . .

you get the idea? there aren't a lot of actresses who have a body of work women can be proud of. i mean melanie griffith was looking ridiculous at the oscars but i could forgive it if she had more than 1 working girl to her credit. melanie's hollywood through and through and the reason that it's so hard to take so many hollywood actresses. i can admire vanessa redgrave and emma thompson, for instance, or any number of french actresses (past and present) but most american actresses seem to really embrace their inner bimbo. not in a way where they are in the forefront but where they are the cup cake and the male lead is the meal.

i love winonna ryder but i'll never forget my shock at edward scissorhands that 1 shove knocks her out for the climatic battle. this is the gal who saved the school in heathers?

there's jodie foster and there's jane fonda. and there's not a lot of other women who come off as intelligent onscreen. if they do, they tend to not reach mega-stardom. blythe danner is an example of a strong actress onscreen but she never became a star.

if there's anything worse than playing a string of bimbos it has to be playing up to stereotypes.
shirley maclaine is a funny actress. but somewhere after terms of endearment, it seemed like she was playing old women (much older than she was) who were these extreme stereotypes.
hey it gave her a new career so good for her.

but other than steel magnolias, i'm not sure there's a film after terms of endearment that i can sit through. maclaine was and remains a pretty woman. but onscreen she's spent far too much time playing the crotchety old woman and looking 10 to 20 years older.

in steel magnolias, it works because of the story. but more often than not (especially surrounded by males), it makes it seem like 1 long 'laugh at the old lady' joke.

i like susan sarandon. and i like her even more when she plays a sexually active character and not 'mommy living her whole life for a kid.'

but jane fonda was the 1st woman over 30 and then over 40 to be a real star. look at some 1 like jessica lange who is immensely talented and you realize how hard that is. maybe only katharine hepburn pulled this off before. (bette davis rallied with all about eve and then began a long descent that was painful for fans.)

she paved the way for susan sarandon and others. and she did it by taking control of her career and forming her own production company (ipc, later fonda films). she wasn't just waiting for hollywood to cast her, she was setting up films like coming home and on golden pond.
so now that this whole 'second act' for women is a big trend story, we need to acknowledge that for actresses, jane fonda already did that.

but most of all i loved her because she was such an amazing actress. this woman studied with lee strasberg and it shows. in their review of barefoot in the park, 3rd estate noted that jane fonda is not just standing there and saying her lines, she's got the movements going on that add to the characterization. and when she's working with a master like anne bancroft (agnes of god) or vanessa redgrave (julia), there time onscreen together is just amazing.

method actors get a lot of attention . . . if they're male. we'll sing the praises of marlon brando and others. but there are method actresses as well and we tend to not notice them.
maybe that's because they tended to not do well in hollywood because of hollywood's limited view of women? if jane fonda hadn't become a producer, she could have ended up playing stereotypical women added to a film for flavor (look at faye dunaway's filmography -- and dunaway is talented).

it was only after i started reading up on jane fonda that i realized how amazing she was off screen. when she and redgrave teamed for julia, it was huge news. along with the turning point (starring anne bancroft and shirley maclaine) these were the first films in some time to star two women. she made films that mattered and still matter that rank among the best of 'new hollywood.'

but let's talk about her life. she has been so involved in so many things. like jean seberg, she went from fluff roles in this country (that she brought so much to as stanley kaufman noted in real time) to france and became an international star due to the films she made over there.
and she spoke out. she's spoken out for working women, for native americans, for black power, for gays and lesbians, for the environment, for a nuclear freeze . . .

most of all she spoke out for peace.

and when you hear rachel maddow unable to stop flapping her jaws about 'support the troops' over and over in any interview, you really start to realize how important and hard it must have been for jane fonda to do what she did.

contrary to the right wing myths, fonda wasn't anti-soldier. she was pro-peace. she helped with the g.i. coffee house movement but the right wing doesn't want to tell you that. but she spoke of peace and didn't do it by saying 'support the troops, support the troops, support the troops!'

yesterday, big brain rachel maddow has a guy on to discuss the town meetings in vermont. she can't focus on them for very long without turning into her usual lame 'support the troops' parroting. (it's strange that such a big brain is unaware of where 'support the troops' derives from or that it was propaganda created by a p.r. group to dilute anti-war messages.) (it's equally strange that a supposed big brain has never apparently read noam chomsky -- especially on this topic.)

wonder where the outrage is after abu ghraib? after the destruction of fallujah? we'll never be able to express that outrage as long as big brain and her ilk keep squawking 'support the troops! support the troops! support the troops! polly want a cracker!' and that's exactly why the slogan was created. you'd think big brain would realize that.

any criticism (and a lot of it is valid) is greeted with 'support the troops!' that's why we're still not expressing the outrage. though i agree with common ills member maria that the kids in high school and college aren't falling for this bullshit.

it's only the middle-aged cowards like rachel maddow who keep having to shut down debate by screaming 'support the troops!'

jane fonda spoke about what was going on. she didn't have the need to say 'we're bombing the dykes and it is outrageous. but support the troops!'

the only person with a public voice that stays on topic these days, that i know of any way, is naomi klein. and you'll note that naomi doesn't pop up on air america that often. (she's more likely to be on the majority report which is the most liberal of the shows during the week.) naomi gets it (and more power to her). people are dying. that's the issue big brain. not squawking 'support the troops' every five seconds.

'she's such a stupid bitch.' that's what my friend kelli said yesterday (after rachel flew solo and embarrassed herself for 3 hours. that may be why unfiltered was a repeat today.)

in 3 years we may still be where we are now because of people like rachel. as my friend elaine says 'i do not support the killing of iraqis. i do not support the destruction of fallujah.' but there's rachel and lizz winstead (big brain and no brain) piping up 'support the troops!' or 'it's tuesday so we've got the lick the balls of some military man! that's right, it's time to ask the vet!'did you hear the voices of any men who deserted on unfiltered?

hell fucking no. those 2 bitches don't have the guts to put those voices on their dopey shit ass stink show. (amy goodman does.) instead they give us ask a vet and pet talk. they're prats. (i looked up the word.)

silly, know nothing prats.

the bitches went to atlanta last week and i listened because i was hoping after all the hate no brain's repeatedly spewed on people from the south, that some 1 would throw a pie in her overly long face. didn't happen. but i can dream.

in the meantime, we're stuck with lizz and rachel rushing to minimize anything that goes on over there by screeching 'support the troops!'

the 1s who murdered iraqis in torture/questioning? the 1s who humiliated them? which 1s are we suppoed to support? every 1 with your bullshit blanket 'support the troops' statements.
no brain and big brain are the scoop jacksons of this century. they come off like war mongers.
you get the feeling that john lennon and yoko ono would be kicked off unfiltered if it had been on the early 70s. (kind of the way tom hayden has vanished as a guest on the network.)

now there are exceptions. mike malloy expresses outrage. laura flanders never forgets the humanity. janeane garofalo is very left. but then we get 3 hours of meaningless crap chatter from lizz and rachel about pets, the o.c., their love lives (well rachel's, lizz still trolls the unfiltered blog looking for hook ups) and other meaningless crap. meaningless crap, they should change the name to that. 'hey this is no brain with big brain and we're hosting meaningless crap. our guests for the next 3 hours include center right writers for the new republic, mainstream pundints and our bob hope salute to the troops!'

i guess i just don't get how air america is supposed to change anything when big brain and no brain continue to push the center over and over.

these are two gals who think defending hillary clinton is cutting edge for the left. they have no clue.

but jane fonda did. she spoke out. and some people hated her because of it. and still hate her and they make up lies about her. but tough shit people, she spoke out. she stood up and was counted. lizz is too busy hovering like the brainless hummingbird she is and rachel's popping another brewskie from her e-z boy recliner while she scratches her groin.

we need strong voices, real voices. the occupation will not be ended as long as idiots keep repeating blanket statements that were designed to silence dissent.

jane fonda was put on an enemies list by tricky dick nixon. you get the idea that if the bully boy put malloy or flanders or janeane on an enemies list, they'd wear it like a badge of honor. not no brain and big brain, they'd whine about it for 3 hours. 'we support america!' they'd whimper.
they let themselves be boxed into this crap and that's why they are so utterly ineffective.
we need bravery. and when i think of bravery, i think of jane fonda. who fought for peace. who fought bulimia and shared her story with others.

i think of jane fonda and wonder where the strong women of today are?

so if i never get around to highlighting women's history month again this month, i want to take a moment to highlight jane fonda. she had more guts and more drive than most people. more than big brain and no brain combined.

TV Review: Reba

When not teasing viewers with the prospect of whether or not Tom Welling will flash a little skin, the WB isn't quite sure what it is.

Is it Blue Collar TV? Or something far worse? Yes, there is worse than Blue Collar TV. It's name is Reba.

In the early days, the show got by on the hope that it could turn it around, maybe make something of itself.

It held promise. The children weren't typical sitcom muppets noted only for their overwhelming blandness. Steve Howey was actually a wowie. And Melissa Peterman was ideal for a sitcom.

But, like 227 before it, the biggest problem with the show was one that couldn't be fixed: it's "star." Oh sure, Reba and Barbara Jean could be paired together the same way that Mary and Sondra were on 227. And you might chuckle because Peterman/Jackee Harry were actually funny even with a wet blanket smothering them.

But when Jackee left 227, the show died even if it took NBC a year to realize that.
The same fate awaits Reba should Peterman ever leave.

The theme song tell us the character Reba is "with gentle hands and the heart of a fighter/
I'm a survivor" -- were that it were true!

That a professional singer could deliver her lines in the same pattern with the same emphasis makes us seriously question how talented Reba McEntire is as a singer? She's like a teacher on the Peanuts cartoons but enuciating a little more clearly.

It doesn't matter what the line is, she's saying it her usual bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah. And you can't miss the sneak to the audience that seems to say, "Ain't I funny! Don't I tickle you!"

It's as though The Brady Bunch's Susan Olson's body grew but not her mind or her talent.

On the most recently aired episode (a repeat), McEntire delivered two lines exactly the same, "Well, at least he wore nice underwear" and "Probably, what's your guess?" Note that one of them ends in a question mark though you wouldn't know that from her monotone delivery.
Here are two more lines she delivered exactly the same (as each other and as the two before):
"But in order for a boy to date my daughter I have to be able to pick him out of line up" and
"Jails are full of shy boys." It's really irritating watching her be so amused at herself that she managed to get each word out. And we could offer more examples easily because she delivers every line the same.

Memorization isn't acting. But maybe on this show it passes for it? Christopher Rich has been giving the same bland performance his entire career (Murphy Brown, Another World) so it doesn't really matter that this time his name is Brock and he's Reba's ex-husband. Oh sure, he's added a southern accent this go round. Such passes for characterization on this show apparently.

What passes for writing? When the show started, we met Reba who's husband had left her and taken up with Barbara Jean with whom he'd soon have a baby. Meanwhile, her eldest daughter (still in high school) was pregnant. The show really wanted to have the working class feel of Roseanne. (Though with that house, it was nearly impossible.)

These days, the show is just bland. The idea that it might take on social mores vanished long ago. (Though every now and then, they trot out Howey for another episode of 'Van just discovered gay people exist and will have to learn to adjust to that fact.' The writers never seem to tire of that story. And never seem to realize that it's been written, for this show, before. Short of an episode entitled "Honey, I Just Got Butt Fucked" there's really no reason to rework this story again. But we're sure the writers will try.)

Reba lives in an upscale house with two kids underfoot, a daughter and son-in-law in college and rarely seems to have a money worry outside of the occassional joke or episode.
(Possibly she saves money by dressing so awfully? That would explain the jersey shirt she wore in a hideous shade of green on the most recent episode?)

There is no reality in this show. And McEntire's bound and determine to twinkle like the worst child star. (She long ago passed the "Do you know how much the human head weighs?" phase.)
She's a survivor? Of what exactly? A nice home, two kids who more or less do exactly what she wants, a son-in-law playing pro football (this season) . . . What's she surviving?

If Roseanne were on today, you'd probably get some episodes about the cuts in health care but Reba lives in a non-reality based world (with clothes provided by Wal-Mart) where each moment but awaits her latest rattled off line.

What does her fan base (she does have one, right?) think when they hear Reba rattling off lines that were tired twenty years ago but are downright offensive coming from McEntire? Worried that her daughter is dating a guy in the band? A band? McEntire, aren't you living in the glass house that music built? Referring to the daughter's boyfriend -- insultingly -- as Willie Nelson?
Who writes this stuff and how does it get on air?

Will she next be taking pot shots at Loretta Lynn? There must be other music legends awaiting the "wit" of Reba. (Maybe the actress is just settling old scores?)

In the beginning, the show had promise: a semi-reality base, some interesting potential situations and, most of all, the hope that Reba McEntire might develop into some form of actress. Those hopes are long gone. It's 2005 and Reba exists (still) in an entirely white world, with no economic worries, and no lead actress.

I'm a survivor?

Possibly, but she's no comedian. When she's given a bit of physical humor to do, she overplays it long after the canned laughter dies. When she's given a line that passes for funny on this show, she delivers it the same way she does every other line on the show. We're longing for the debut of the WB's Living with Fran which will feature an actual comedian in the lead. A female comedian, how long has it been since we've seen a show built around that?

There's nothing wrong with Courtney Thorne-Smith, for instance. She's certainly lovely to look at and a good sport. But what has happened to female comedians? If Lucille Ball was 48 today, she probably couldn't get hired. Too funny to work opposite a fat male comedian. Too funny to play the thin wife who might get off a funny line when she's crabby. (And has anyone stopped to consider that they're so crabby because those cheeseballs engage in the missonary position when they have sex? You try to be bright and spritely after having all that tonnage on top of you!)

Wanda Sykes and Whoopi Goldberg had a shot at it, a brief shot because the networks have decided that fat white male is the new basic black apparently. A sitcom just can't seem to exist without one. As Yes, Dear crusies back onto CBS's primetime schedule, you have to wonder if Sykes and Goldberg's greatest offense was actually being funny while being non-white, non-male leads?

The last few years in sitcom land have played out like Fatal Attraction wherein the women rewarded are the ones playing Anne Archer's good, non-transgressive wife and any sort of spunk on the part of a woman leads to suits hearing rumblings from somewhere of "Kill the bitch! Kill the bitch!" (Maybe those cries are coming just from their own sick inner souls?)

We doubt Living With Fran will last an entire season. We're not even sure the shows themselves will be that funny. But what a relief it will be to see an honest to God comedian commanding the lead in a sitcom again. After suffering through the pleasantvilles of Leah Thompson's bland Caroline (in the City), the many TV drama actresses (Sharon Lawrence comes to mind) passing themselves off as comedians, and assorted stick figure women playing wives (usually non-work-outside-the-home wives) we can't wait to see the one and only Fran Drescher strut her stuff onscreen again.

Though her nasal tone may turn off some people, we're sure that Drescher won't just stand around delivering her lines in a monotone and then grin madly as though she's awaiting for teacher to give her a gold star for her memorization skills. And good or bad, we doubt Drescher will come off as bland.

DVD review: Jane Fonda in California Suite

I don't have a lifestyle, I have a life.

So snaps Jane Fonda's Hannah Warren in California Suite.

Newsweek described her role this way, "she's a tough-as-nails Newsweek editor from New York." Time described it this way: "a tart-tongued Newsweek editor who has flown West to fight with her ex-husband over the custody of their daughter." [Played by the late Dana Plato.]
New West's Stephen Farber felt that:

Although Hannah isn't easy to like, she comes alive as one of the most vivid characters that Simon has ever created. Of course, he's lucky to have Jane Fonda interpreting his lines. This amazing actress gives her third superb performance of 1978. She conveys the restless intelligence and the offputting arrogance of a New York journalist, and she also illuminates the fears that underlie Hannah's brittle, bitchy facade. This episode is uncharacteristic of Simon; it's scintillating, poignant and thoroughly compelling."

Opposite Alan Alda, Fonda's truly amazing and it's one of the strongest segments of the film.
Once Elaine May shows up for the Walter Matthau segment, that storyline actually starts to come to life. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine do much better than the material which gets a little too sentimental near the end of their story. (Smith, playing an actress who loses the Oscar on this trip to California, actually won best supporting actress for this performance.) Then there's Bill Cosby & Richard Pryor's story and if anyone can figure that out, have at it. Cosby and Pryor are likeable. Pryor's motor appears to be revving, but the flag never comes down to let him peel rubber. He's at his best when he's irritated that Cosby and his wife got the better, bigger hotel suite. But when the whole thing is supposed to turn into an apparently madcap fight scene that destroys all it around it, the scene . . . destroys all around it.

We found this on DVD at our library. So we'd encourage others to use their libraries. Books, CDs, movies, libraries are wonderful resources.

And if you ignore the heavy handed sentiment in Maggie Smith and Michael Caine's last big scene (they wisely underplay but the lines and the incessant soundtrack betray them) and don't try to figure out the pile up that is the climax to Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby's story, you've got a movie you can sit back and enjoy.

Strong performances from Jane Fonda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Alan Alda, Richard Pryor,
Elaine May and Walter Matthau. (This is a reteaming for May and Matthua. They paired up prior in the Elaine May directed film A New Leaf.)

But we're going to focus on Fonda for two reasons. The first is that, having viewed the trailer, we're thinking her role in Monster-in-Law will be similar to Hannah. Again, she's battling over a child (in California Suite, it's over custody of her daughter; in Monster-in-Law it's over her son who wants to marry Jennifer Lopez). Again, she's got short hair again and looks amazing. So we're hoping for some of the time bombs that only Fonda can detonate when she's playing brittle.

The second reason is because she's so amazing in California Suite. Prepare to take delight as she strokes then slams Alda's character. "You were terrific when you used to write like that. I haven't seen your newest film. I'm told it grossed very well in backward areas." A flurry of motion whether blow drying her hair, pacing the room, or inhaling cigarettes, you can't take your eyes off her portrait of tightly strung woman. "Relaxing" on the beach, she's a study in motion.
In her initial scene, laying on a couch, she's doing the New York Times crossword, smoking a cigarette and checking her watch.

After all that motion, don't miss the moment when she registers that there's no point in taking Jenny (their daughter) home with her. Note the physicality of that moment, as all the tension seems to vanish from her body. There's not a lot of movement in most films of Simon plays. Fonda's done better by him than most because she's not just memorizing lines, then showing up on the set hoping the director might have a blocking idea. She comes at a character with strong ideas of how they speak, how they move and what's inside. Here, movement is the key to Hannah and when all the wind goes out of her sails, Fonda registers that physically.

The storyline is saved from the soggyness that harms the climax of Smith & Caine's story by the fact that Hannah quickly rearms. The barriers go back up, the lines are bitten and tossed again, and she's back in motion.

The DVD's only real "extra" is that you can watch it in full screen or wide screen. Fonda sears the screen in either version.

CD Worth Noting: Anais Mitchell's Hyms for the Exiled

I could tell you stories,
like the government tells lies.

So opens Anais Mitchell's Hymns for the Exiled. We don't usually do album reviews ourselves here, we wait for Kat to stack up some Kat's Korners and steal from those. But Ty brought this to our Saturday panic-as-we-attempt-to-pull-together-a-Sunday-edition session and we found ourselves half-listening as we argued. When the next disc started (Bright Eyes), Jesse wanted to hear Anais again. By the end of the the third listen, one of us (we all argue over which one) said, "We should do something to note this album."

This is a great CD. It's thematic musically and lyrically. To say, it's like being in a coffeehouse listening to Mitchell would be false. It's more like she's carried her guitar into your living room and your sitting there on the edge of your couch, mouth agape, wondering why no one bothered to tell you about this singer/songwriter/guitarist.

Hey, Orion
He's falling catch him if you can
Hey, Orion
He's calling amen, amen, amen

That's the chorus to "Orion" and the music is just gentle as the words. Were she in your living room, you'd be asking her to play that one again.

Baby don't look so concerned, they just want the facts
And it's all written out in the USA Patriot Act

Wondering where the singers are giving voice to the issues of today? Here's one. Mitchell's singing reminds us a little of Dar Williams (a little). She's got an open voiced, natural range that nicely compliments her guitar playing. Her melodies are strong and her lyrics are filled with natural and unnatural rhymes as she paints vivid word portraits. "Two Kids" especially deserves note as it stresses our interconnections and not our differences. (And Caleb Elder deserves noting for the musical accents he adds.) "Mockingbird" benefits strongly from the harmonizing vocals of Sara Stranovsky. And by the time Mitchell wraps up with "One Good Thing," you're just in awe of how much power she packs in so much simplicity.

Turn that tv off, now, baby
I'm so low I don't even sing
Tell me something 'bout my country
Tell me one good thing

Listen to this CD and see if you don't end up feeling like (to quote Mitchell's "A Hymn for the Exiled") "I knew you before I met you, I've forgotten why I left you." This CD feels like coming home. These are hymns that sound ageless and leave you spellbound. You can find Anais Mitchell's Hymns for the Exiled at many places, but we'd suggest BuzzFlash which is offering the CD as a BuzzFlash premium starting at $18.00.
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