Sunday, December 08, 2013

Truest statement of the week

To be fair: it is entirely possible to share an apartment with someone for a period of weeks without having met them. Many of the happiest Craigslist-facilitated living situations have exactly this set-up.

-- Juli Weiner (Vanity Fair) on Barack Obama's belated admission that he had met uncle Onyango Obama before (despite 2011 claims) and that he'd lived with his uncle for a few weeks while waiting for his Harvard apartment to be ready.

Truest statement of the week II

I'm real sick of seeing this proud Black leader Disneyfied.
I'm sick of it and it saddens me.
Nelson Mandela was an epic, he changed the world.
They want to turn him into Jiminy Crickett.

-- Betty, "The Disneyfication of a proud Black leader."

Truest statement of the week III

Don’t invite Barack Obama to your daughter’s wedding. He’ll try to squeeze himself into the wedding dress and push the bride away from his cameras.
Don’t invite Barack Obama to a funeral. He’ll wiggle himself into the coffin to give photographers what he thinks they want – more pictures of him.
Don’t invite Barack Obama to dinner. He’ll strip himself naked, toss the turkey to the floor, lay himself in its place on the bed of arugula while clasping his knees and ordering the servants to baste him. A baked apple in his mouth will be the final sweet incentive for the photographers to snap away.
Our warning will go unheeded as the mourners of South Africa will be forced to issue an invitation to Barack Obama to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela. Indeed, it has already been announced that Barack Obama will insert himself into the funeral of Nelson Mandela – to be followed immediately with another weeks long vacation amongst his many vacations to Hawaii. It’s not like there’s any work to do.

For Barack Obama work is something others do. He just takes the credit and the photographs.
--- "Barack Obama – The Corpse At The Mandela Funeral," Hillary Is 44.

A note to our readers

Hey --

Yet another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And  what did we come up with?

A first for Vanity Fair, but what a good one.
Our own Betty. 
Hillary Is 44.
All these journalists killed in Iraq and never a word from Nouri.
Ava and C.I. take on NBC's The Sound of Music.  Which requires addressing the reality that The Water Cooler Set ignored.  I (Jim) didn't catch it but reading about the problems with staging, costumes and more, it seems really stupid for The Water Cooler Set to have attacked Carrie Underwood.
A look at some of last week's best ha-has.
Oh, Barack.
Oh, Tom.

The press ignores so much.
When Harry Met Sally . . . is our latest classic.  We might do another next week.  In fact, there's an argument that we need to cover three films next week.  We shall see. 
Ava and C.I. wrote this on Wednesday.  We repost it here today.

If you didn't catch Tavis Smiley's  program on Mandela, make a point to use the link to stream it or read the transcript.
Press release from Senator Patty Murray's office. 
Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

Feminist Majority Foundation.
Mike and the gang wrote this for us and we thank them.

That's what we've got to share this week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: A journalist's death finally bothers Nouri

Since Nouri al-Maliki first became prime minister -- and chief thug -- of Iraq in 2006, a lot of journalists have been killed.

In fact, here's the list:

Mohammed Ghanem, Al-Sharqiyah

     October 5, 2013, in Mosul, Iraq

Mohammed Karim al-Badrani, Al-Sharqiyah

     October 5, 2013, in Mosul, Iraq

Hadi al-Mahdi, Freelance

     September 8, 2011, in Baghdad, Iraq

Alwan al-Ghorabi, Afaq

     June 21, 2011, in Diwaniyya, Iraq

Sabah al-Bazi, Al-Arabiya

     March 29, 2011, in Tikrit, Iraq

Muammar Khadir Abdelwahad, Al-Ayn

     March 29, 2011, in Tikrit, Iraq

Mohamed al-Hamdani, Al-Itijah

     February 24, 2011, in Ramadi, Iraq

Omar Rasim al-Qaysi, Al-Anbar TV

     December 12, 2010, in Ramadi, Iraq

Tahrir Kadhim Jawad, freelance

     October 4, 2010, in Garma, Iraq

Safa al-Din Abdel Hamid, Al-Mosuliya

     September 8, 2010, in Mosul, Iraq

Riad al-Saray, Al-Iraqiya

     September 7, 2010, in Baghdad, Iraq

Sardasht Osman, freelance

     May 5, 2010, in Mosul, Iraq

Orhan Hijran, Al-Rasheed

     October 21, 2009, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Alaa Abdel-Wahab, Al-Baghdadia TV

     May 31, 2009, in Mosul, Iraq

Suhaib Adnan, Al-Baghdadia TV

     March 10, 2009, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Haidar Hashim Suhail, Al-Baghdadia TV

     March 10, 2009, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Musab Mahmood al-Ezawi, Al-Sharqiya

     September 13, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Ahmed Salim, Al-Sharqiya

     September 13, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Ihab Mu'd, Al-Sharqiya

     September 13, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Soran Mama Hama, Livin

     July 21, 2008, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Mohieldin Al Naqeeb, Al-Iraqiya

     June 17, 2008, in north of Mosul, Iraq

Haidar al-Hussein, Al-Sharq

     May 22, 2008, in Buhrez, Iraq

Wissam Ali Ouda, Al-Afaq

     May 21, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq

Sarwa Abdul-Wahab, freelance

     May 4, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Jassim al-Batat, Al-Nakhil TV and Radio

     April 25, 2008, in Al-Qurna, Iraq

Shihab al-Tamimi, Iraqi Journalists Syndicate

     February 27, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq

Alaa Abdul-Karim al-Fartoosi, Al-Forat

     January 29, 2008, in Balad, Iraq

Shehab Mohammad al-Hiti, Baghdad al-Youm

     October 28, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Salih Saif Aldin, The Washington Post

     October 14, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Muhannad Ghanem Ahmad al-Obaidi, Dar al-Salam

     September 20, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq

Amer Malallah al-Rashidi, Al-Mosuliya

     September 3, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq

Adnan al-Safi, Al-Anwar

     July 27, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Majeed Mohammed, Kirkuk al-Yawm and Hawal

     July 16, 2007, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Mustafa Gaimayani, Kirkuk al-Yawm and Hawal

     July 16, 2007, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Khalid W. Hassan, The New York Times

     July 13, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Namir Noor-Eldeen, Reuters

     July 12, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Sarmad Hamdi Shaker, Baghdad TV

     June 27, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hamid Abed Sarhan, freelance

     June 26, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Filaih Wuday Mijthab, Al-Sabah

     June 17, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Aref Ali Filaih, Aswat al-Iraq

     June 11, 2007, in Al-Khalis, Iraq

Sahar Hussein Ali al-Haydari, National Iraqi News Agency and Aswat al-Iraq

     June 7, 2007, in Mosul, Iraq

Mohammad Hilal Karji, Baghdad TV

     June 6, 2007, in Yusufiya, Iraq

Nazar Abdulwahid al-Radhi, Aswat al-Iraq and Radio Free Iraq

     May 30, 2007, in Al-Amarah, Iraq

Saif Laith Yousuf, ABC News

     May 17, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Alaa Uldeen Aziz, ABC News

     May 17, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Raad Mutashar, Al-Raad

     May 9, 2007, in an area outside Kirkuk, Iraq

Dmitry Chebotayev, freelance

     May 6, 2007, in Diyala, Iraq

Khaled Fayyad Obaid al-Hamdani, Nahrain

     April 12, 2007, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Othman al-Mashhadani, Al-Watan

     April 6, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Khamail Khalaf , Radio Free Iraq

     April 5, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Thaer Ahmad Jaber , Baghdad TV

     April 5, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hamid al-Duleimi, Nahrain

     March 17, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Yussef Sabri, Biladi

     March 7, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mohan Hussein al-Dhahir, Al-Mashreq

     March 4, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Jamal al-Zubaidi, As-Saffir and Al-Dustour

     February 24, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Abdulrazak Hashim Ayal al-Khakani, Jumhuriyat al-Iraq

     February 5, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hussein al-Zubaidi, Al-Ahali

     January 28, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Falah Khalaf al-Diyali, Al-Sa'a

     January 15, 2007, in Ramadi, Iraq

Ahmed Hadi Naji, Associated Press Television News

     January 5, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah, APTN

     December 12, 2006, in Mosul, Iraq

Nabil Ibrahim al-Dulaimi, Radio Dijla

     December 4, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Luma al-Karkhi, Al-Dustour

     November 15, 2006, in Baqubah, Iraq

Muhammad al-Ban, Al-Sharqiya

     November 13, 2006, in Mosul, Iraq

Naqshin Hamma Rashid, Atyaf

     October 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Saed Mahdi Shlash, Rayat al-Arab

     October 26, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hussein Ali, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahmad Sha'ban, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Thaker al-Shouwili, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Noufel al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, Baghdad TV

     September 18, 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq

Safa Isma'il Enad, freelance

     September 13, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Abdel Karim al-Rubai, Al-Sabah

     September 9, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mohammad Abbas Mohammad, Al-Bayinnah al-Jadida

     August 7, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ismail Amin Ali, freelance

     August 7, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Riyad Muhammad Ali, Talafar al-Yawm

     July 30, 2006, in Mosul, Iraq

Adel Naji al-Mansouri , Al-Alam

     July 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ibrahim Seneid, Al-Bashara

     June 13, 2006, in Fallujah, Iraq

Ali Jaafar, Al-Iraqiya

     May 31, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Paul Douglas, CBS

     May 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

James Brolan, CBS

     May 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Laith al-Dulaimi, Al-Nahrain

     May 8, 2006, in south of Baghdad, Iraq      

Amira Hatem, Al-Arabiya

     July 26, 2010, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mohamed Abd al-Kareem Hadi al-Bayati, Al-Arabiya

     July 26, 2010, in Baghdad, Iraq

Aysar Mahmoud Hamid Zankana, Al-Arabiya

     July 26, 2010, in Baghdad, Iraq

Qaydar Sulaiman, Al-Sharqiya

     September 13, 2008, in Mosul, Iraq

Alaa Aasi, Al-Forat

     January 29, 2008, in Balad, Iraq

Abdullah [full name unavailable], freelance

     October 22, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Khaled Mohammad Nofan, Al-Watan

     October 14, 2007, in an area southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq

Jassem Mohammad Nofan, Al-Watan

     October 14, 2007, in an area southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq

Ziad Tarek al-Dibo, Al-Watan

     October 14, 2007, in southwest of Kirkuk, Iraq

Saeed Chmagh, Reuters

     July 12, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ali Watan Rozouk al-Hassani, Al-Samawah

     July 6, 2007, in Al-Samawah, Iraq

Imad Abdul-Razzaq al-Obaid, Al-Raad

     May 7, 2007, in an area outside Kirkuk, Iraq

Adel al-Badri, Radio Dijla

     May 3, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hussein Nizar, Baghdad TV

     April 6, 2007, in Baghdad , Iraq

Azhar Abdullah al-Maliki , Iraq Media Network

     February 7, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Sabah Salman, Iraq Media Network

     February 7, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Nabras Mohammed Hadi, Iraq Media Network

     February 7, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Anis Qassem, Atyaf (Iraqi Media Network)

     October 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ali Hlayel, Atyaf (Iraqi Media Network)

     October 13, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Maher, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Sami Nasrallahal-Shimari , Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Unidentified, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hassan [full name unavailable], Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahmad [full name unavailable], Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ali Jabber, Al-Shaabiya

     October 12, 2006, in Bahgdad, Iraq

Jassem Hamad Ibrahim, Al-Iraqiya

     October 4, 2006, in Mosul, Iraq

Unidentified, Al-Sabah

     August 27, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Muazaz Ahmed Barood, Al-Nahrain

     May 8, 2006, in between Baghdad and Mada'in, Iraq

Isma'il Muhammad Khalal, Al-Sabah

     May 7, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Anwar Turki, Al-Iraqiya

     March 11, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mohammad Siddik, Voice of America

     February 17, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Allan Enwiyah, freelance

     January 7, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahlam Youssef, Al-Iraqiya

     September 21, 2005, in Mosul, Iraq

Laiq Ibrahim Nowruz al-Kakaie, Kurdistan TV

     March 10, 2005, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Unidentified, Al-Hurra

     February 25, 2005, in Iskandiriyah, Iraq

Ahmed Jassem, Nineveh Television

     October 7, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq

Ismail Taher Mohsin, The Associated Press

     September 2, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq

Unidentified , Freelance

     August 28, 2004, in in an area outside Baghdad, Iraq

Mahmood Daoud, Al-Sabah al-Jedid

     May 29, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq

Samya Abdel Jabar, Al-Sabah al-Jedid

     May 29, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mohamed Najmedin, freelance

     May 27, 2004, in Mahmoudiyya, Iraq

Hussein Saleh, Al-Iraqiya TV

     April 19, 2004, in Near Samara, Iraq

Omar Kamal, Time

     March 26, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq

Muhammad Ahmad Sarham, Iraq Media Network

     March 18, 2004, in Baqouba, Iraq

Najeed Rashid, Iraq Media Network

     March 18, 2004, in Baqouba, Iraq

Selwan Abdelghani Medhi al-Niem, Voice of America

     March 5, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq

Yasser Khatab, CNN

     January 27, 2004, in Outside Baghdad, Iraq

Nabil Hussein, Al-Arabiya

     October 30, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

Alahin Hussein, Al-Arabiya

     October 30, 2003, in Baghdad, DubaiIraq

Ali Adnan, Al-Arabiya

     October 30, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ramziya Moushee, Al-Arabiya

     October 30, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hassan Alwan, Al-Arabiya

     October 30, 2003, in Baghdad, Iraq

Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, BBC

     April 6, 2003, in an area near Mosul, Iraq

Hussein Othman, ITV News

     March 22, 2003, in Iman Anas, Iraq

28 Journalists Killed in Iraq/Motive Unconfirmed

     Terminology explained

Bashar al-Nuaimi, Al-Mosuliya TV

     October 24, 2013, in Mosul, Iraq

Samir al-Sheikh Ali, Al-Jamahir al-Baghdadiya

     November 17, 2012, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ghazwan Anas, Sama Mosul

     July 31, 2012, in Mosul, Iraq

Kamiran Salaheddin, Salaheddin Channel

     April 2, 2012, in Tikrit, Iraq

Taha Hameed, Al-Massar TV

     April 8, 2011, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hilal al-Ahmadi, Freelance

     February 17, 2011, in Mosul, Iraq

Mazen Mardan al-Baghdadi, Al-Mosuliya

     November 21, 2010, in Mosul, Iraq

Dyar Abas Ahmed, Eye Iraq

     October 10, 2008, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Qassim Abdul Hussein al-Iqabi, Al-Muwatin

     March 13, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hisham Mijawet Hamdan, Young Journalists Association

     February 12, 2008, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ali Shafeya al-Moussawi,, Alive in Baghdad

     December 15, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Jawad al-Daami, Al-Baghdadia

     September 23, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Saif Fakhry, Associated Press Television News

     May 31, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Mahmoud Hassib al-Qassab, Al-Hawadith

     May 28, 2007, in Kirkuk, Iraq

Abdul Rahman al-Issawi, National Iraqi News Agency

     May 28, 2007, in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, Iraq

Ali Khalil, Azzaman

     May 20, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hussein al-Jabouri, As-Saffir

     March 16, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq

Yasin al-Dulaimi, Radio Al-Mustaqbal

     December 26, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Ahmad al-Rashid, Al-Sharqiya

     November 3, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Raed Qays, Sawt al-Iraq

     October 13, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Azad Muhammad Hussein, Radio Dar Al-Salam

     October 10, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Hadi Anawi al-Joubouri, freelance

     September 12, 2006, in Diyala, Iraq

Osama Qadir, freelance

     June 29, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Alaa Hassan, Inter Press Service

     June 28, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq

Abdel Majid al-Mehmedawi, freelance

     May 5, 2006, in Baghdad, Iraq      

Despite that long list (from the Committee to Protect Journalists), Nouri al-Maliki's never felt the need to make a statement.

alaa idwar

That's Alaa Edward Burtos who was killed in Mosul November 24th.

Nouri didn't feel the need to say a word.

And Friday, AFP reported Kawa Ahmed Germyani is the latest journalist to be killed in Iraq.   Thursday night, the editor or Rayal magazine and a reporter with Awene newspaper was shot dead "in front of his mother at his home in the town of Kalar."

Not a word from Nouri.

Not a single word.

But Nouri finally found the death of a journalist he could acknowledge . . . an Iraqi journalist killed in Syria.

All of the journalists killed in Iraq since he became prime minister, so many of them Iraqi journalists, and he can't say one damn word.

But when one is killed in Syria, he wants to be sure everyone knows about that.

He and Iraqi state media Jane Arraf.

TV: The Sound of Failure

We like Julie Andrews.  We really do.  We like her in The Tooth Fairy, The Princess Diaries, Victor/Victoria, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mary Poppins, S.O.B. and even Torn Curtain.  But The Sound of Music?  When it comes to nuns, we prefer our nuns flying, not singing.


Give us an episode of Sally Field -- any episode of The Flying Nun -- over Julie playing Maria or Debbie Reynolds starring in The Singing Nun.  So we weren't expecting much from NBC's big live event last week, Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music.

Over 18 million tuned in for the live event and Tivo and streaming will probably put that number closer to 22 million.  The broadcast was a ratings hit

It wasn't as warmly received by critics.

For some reason, Carrie Underwood's been savaged.

For some reason?

Because she's a woman and The Water Cooler Set hates women.

Carrie was fine.

But the special was awful.

And it was awful from the start.  For example, the nuns should have been magical.  Don't make us name the criminals playing the mother superior and three nuns.  Let's let them be as forgettable as their performances were.

These minor roles need to be played chipper and their lines need to be read quickly and without meaningful pauses.  The mother superior, in fact, created Estelle Parsons-like starts and stops that surely gave her more time onscreen but weren't about the role, the genre or the entertainment factor for the audiences.

But if you were thinking about entertainment, would you have cast these bit parts with actresses whose voices curdled when singing and were even worse when they weren't singing.  Does no one grasp ensemble acting?

NBC certainly didn't grasp what they were doing when they okayed Rob Ashford as 'theatrical director' or whatever nonsense credit they gave him.  Ashford's a choreographer.  He's not Bob Fosse.  Yes, he's directed some musicals -- directed them poorly which is why there are no real hits there.

He does retreads -- revivals.  And does them poorly as a director.  They accomplish nothing and his directing career is an embarrassment.

Hire him as a choreographer if you must -- his work there is pedestrian but not awful -- but don't pretend he's also going to provide performances.

They teamed him up with Beth McCarthy-Miller and, maybe on her own, it could have worked?

The director spent years directing Saturday Night Live and went on to direct 30 Rock, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and more.

Maybe on her own, she could have emphasized the comedy?

Someone needed to but no one ever did.  Instead, we were at the manor of Captain Georg von Trapp where Stephen Moyer was flanked by three servants who should have been a whirl of activity but instead lumbered around slowly and spoke even slower as if the play's topic was venereal disease and the playwright were Henrik Ibsen.

Strangely, in their initial appearance they drew every line and movement out as slowly as possible, even while the Captain was whistling for them, yet after Maria arrives, the Captain suddenly only has to whistle once for two of the servants to immediately show up.

Moyer and Underwood had a nice tension in their performance and chemistry and Moyer did a good job making the natural progression of the Captain believable.

The broadcast wasn't awful but it had serious problems.

Carrie Underwood was not the problem.

Let's pretend for a second that Carrie Underwood was awful.

She was the star of a 3 hour NBC broadcast.  If she's off, you damn well make double sure the supporting characters anchor their own performances.

Instead, the nuns -- including mother superior -- were the most erratic actresses we've ever seen.  A real director would have yelled, "Speed your dialogue the f**k up!  You're a bit player, not a star and you're pauses and slow line readings are f**king up this scene!"

Supporting characters in musical comedies exist to advance the plot.  In a pinch they can provide some menace or some giggles, but that's it.

They're certainly not supposed to try to turn musical comedy into an Edward Albee play.

Scenes that should have been crisp and moved quickly were instead lethargic and plodding.

And if a line is needed, it's needed to be said so people can hear it.  Elsa (Laura Benanti) announces she feels like a brisk walk and  Max (Christian Borle) agrees it's a good idea while then adding, "Is anyone using the car?"  Or adding it for those who strain to hear.  Borle is a stage actor of note, did he really think that a half-heard line was one worth uttering?

And did he really think the staging for "No Way To Stop It" worked?  That's a three person number so you really don't have an excuse for losing one of the singers on the stage but Borle is repeatedly positioned wrongly.  That's a choreography issue but Borle's theater experience should have meant he argued loudly against the mounting of that number.

The camera work was as bad as the staging.  In "Climb Every Mountain," the song seemed to exist to demonstrate just how awful this broadcast could be.  A tacky set that looked a lot like SNL's old Church Lady set was the background for the mother superior to stomp around the stage -- with her back to the camera -- while she sang as if she were appearing in an operetta and used notes that do not impress on the airwaves -- these notes would be thrilling live but in a broadcast, they're just hideous, they broadcast hideous and they hit the ear harshly.

By contrast, special praise goes to Michael Campayno for his performance as Rolf.  He overcomes poor staging, non-direction and an awful costume to deliver a winning performance.

Awful costume?  Campayno's meaty and firm ass is on full display in the shorts (it's a nice ass, clearly others thought so too considering the close ups of it)  -- much more so than we would have expected in a family event -- but the front of the same costume makes him look fat.  Not stocky, fat.  He's not fat.  It's the way the shirt and shorts hang as though they're part of a kangaroo pouch.

This is musical comedy.

Does the Nazi backdrop confuse everyone that this was a period piece or docudrama?

Gail A. Fitzgibbons costumes were wretched throughout.  She clearly had no concept of what a musical was or that clothes in a musical need to flow and move.

The lavender number she dressed Laura Benanti in may be the worst outfit on TV this year.  Were those droopy things hanging a few inches above her wrists supposed to have covered Elsa's elbows?  If they were supposed to be bell sleeves, you either have tight cuffs or you have bell sleeves.  Trying to have both is not just fussy and overdone, it's ugly.   The pleats were hideous and kept collapsing around Benanti's neck.  This hideous outfit was topped off with a pair of Joan Crawford f**k-me pumps in the ugliest non-gray color the world's ever seen.  Benanti deserves an Emmy for a performance that overcame that wardrobe.

The party dresses were hideous.  Benanti's look like a bed ruffle and apparently we're the only ones who'll call it out or note that Benanti had to do a quick ad-lib because the train that dragged on the ground was stepped on by another actor.  Stop hiring these idiots who don't know a thing about musicals.  Fitzgibbons dressed Carrie in what appeared to be a couch cover --  shiny, heavy cloth that barely moved as she danced.

All of this and so much more was wrong and some critics want to blame Carrie Underwood?

The scene leading up to "Something Good" and the number itself works only because of Underwood and Moyer.   Underwood's wearing yet another lousy outfit (in a musical, clothes are light for movement in the musical numbers -- they are not heavy, stiff fabric),  she and Moyer are in yet another poorly staged scene and, on top of all that, now the camera work has gone poorly and you get a noticeable camera jerk as they're staring at one another with desire.

Carrie Underwood has nothing to be ashamed of.  Her acting was more than fine.  Some are confused because they wanted Julie Andrews' sweetness.  That's one way to portray Maria.  Megan Hilty could have pulled that off and done so believably.  But it's not Underwood's temperament and she would have come off like a Julie Andrews impersonator.  Instead, she elected to explore a Maria who was more sensible and less gossamer (which is actually similar to how the part was written and how it was originally played on Broadway).  She made her character believable and fully dimensional.  That's all any actor or actress can hope for.

In addition to Underwood, special praise needs to go to Stephen Moyer, Laura Benanti and Michael Campayno.  That's really it. If we felt like being really generous?  We could add that Christian Borle has become the 21st century's Paul Lynde faster than anyone could have guessed.  That's really about it.  (We don't comment positively or negatively on child actors.)

The special had many, many problems.

The hit Carrie Underwood and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical provided NBC with most likely means at least another live attempt of some musical.  If and when that happens, NBC would be smart to hire some people who know what they're doing.

That means no more Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, for starters.  Their musicals are stiff.  That's true of the film Chicago, it's true of all of them.  They may love musicals but they don't know how to make them.

That's why everyone remembered Bette Midler from their TV musical Gypsy.  If you missed the problem, Midler was playing Mama Rose.  She's not supposed to be the star of Gypsy.  In the film of Gypsy, Rosalind Russell played Mama Rose.  Natalie Wood played Gypsy Rose Lee, the main character.  Zadan and Meron nearly destroyed 2007's Hairspray with the opening number "Good Morning Baltimore" -- the worst staged musical number since Summer Stock's "Howdy Neighbor) Happy Harvest" but at least Summer Stock had Judy Garland to pull the sing-while-driving-a-tractor number off.

Craig and Neil consider themselves musical experts.  Certainly, they know all the trivia and facts.  But what they aren't is artists.  And, more than anything else, last week's live broadcast of The Sound of Music demonstrated that.

The Week In Funny


Vice President Joe Biden this week visited China and urged young students there to challenge their government, teachers and religious leaders.  Then his punk band finished the rest of their set.
-- Cecily Strong, Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live (Saturdays, NBC)

Marty: Hey! This is my old little league mitt. I remember the day my dad gave me this. He said, "Here you go, moron. Maybe this glove will help your game.  Because right now I can't tell if you're playing the outfield or coming out of the closet."
-- Marty (Lenny Venito) has a family memory that starts off nice, The Neighbors (Fridays, ABC).

Zach:  It's go time.  How's my hair?

Lauren: Perfectly tousled.  

Andrew:  Why so anxious?  You date models all the time

Zach:  From the Sears catalogue!  These are Victoria's Secret models.  There's a difference.

Andrew:  There's no difference.  They're human coat hangers.  They're mannequins who can vote.

Zach:  Hey, you watch your mouth.  Models are people too.  Don't mock them just because they're beautiful.  In fact, this is why I date models: To fight this kind of prejudice. 

Andrew:  You are so brave.
-- Zach (James Wolk), Lauren (Amanda Setton) and Andrew (Hamish Linklater) prepare for the arrival of Victoria's Secret models on The Crazy Ones (Thursdays, CBS).

Caroline:  And time!  37 minutes! We got from the apartment to the subway to the pastry school in record time!  I mean, I'm not wearing a bra and my thong may be on backwards. 

Max:  There's no wrong way to wear a thong as long as it's uncomfortable. And with you the bra is just for decoration.  I have to wear one because you get a ticket for not putting the kids in a car seat.
-- Caroline (Beth Behrs) and Max (Kat Dennings) rush through NYC, 2 Broke Girls (Mondays, CBS).

Bonnie:  I say we start shopping for wigs today.

Marjorie:  I don't think so.

Bonnie:  You sure?  Curly blond hair and gummy bear double-Ds, you might even get laid.  By a man.

Christy:  Mom, ease up.

Bonnie: I'm sorry.  I'm just trying to lighten the mood.

Marjorie:  What are gummy bear breasts.

Bonnie:  The latest in implants.  Like a memory foam mattress with nipples

Sexy Doctor Huss:  Hi, Marjorie, ready to start your treatment?

Bonnie:  Yes, we are!

Christy:  I'm ready too!

Bonnie:  C'mon, I'm her best friend.

Christy:  So am I.

Marjorie:  What do I need new boobs for?  I have you two.
-- Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) go with Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) to her chemo treatment and encounter sexy Dr. Huss (Peter Porte), Mom, (Mondays, CBS).

Maddie:  So you managed to raise a child.  How did you do it?

Thelma: Well I had to accept that once my daughter came along I wasn't the center of the universe anymore.

Maddie:  Well obviously that isn't going to work for me!

Maddie and Thelma walk into her living room which is filled with Maddie's son's belongings. 

Maddie:  Uh!  He's here.  And he isn't going away.  He's like these last five pounds.  Shut up!
-- Maddie (Kirstie Alley) and Thelma (Rhea Perlman) address parenting on Kirstie, (TV Land, Wednesday nights).

Burt:  I guess Hope's been going into their bed at night.  So I brought her here so Jimmy could go home and take a nap.

Virginia:  Hope's been sleeping in their bed?  That's got to put a real damper on the old s-e . . . [Pointing to Hope] Can she spell yet?

Burt:  Uh, I don't know.  Better safe than sorry. Look!  [Tosses pennies across the room.] Pennies!

Hope: [Chasing] Pennies!

Virginia:  They're not having sex.  Trouble in the bedroom is the number one sign for divorce -- according to Oprah's O magazine by Oprah.

Burt:  Divorce?  You really think it could be that serious?

Virginia:  If they're sleeping with the baby in the room, it's only a matter of time before Jimmy's just another loser divorcee who's picking up women at the ice cream parlor next to the fat lady's gym.

Burt:  Oh, we can't have that.  We've worked too hard to get Sabrina to believe that Jimmy's the best she can do.

Maw Maw:  I'll tell you how you fix it, you keep the sex poison here as long as you can.

Virginia:  Sex poison?

Maw Maw:  That's what I call children.
-- Virginia (Martha Plimpton), Burt (Garret Dillahunt) and Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman) discuss the problem with Hope (Baylie and Rylie Cregut) on Raising Hope (Fridays, Fox).

Marty: Deb, what's happening?

Debbie:  Well I think this is what it's like when you have good parents.  Or at least one's who are sober.
-- Marty (Lenny Venito) and Debbie (Jami Gertz) are surprised by Jackie Joyner Kersee's parents (Meredith Baxter and Reginald VelJohnson), The Neighbors (Fridays, ABC).

Sophie:  Hey, Caroline, I got your nanny death text so I'm wearing black out of respect. And, also, I got my period. 

Caroline: Thanks, Sophe, that's lovely.

Max: It is?  Which part?

Sophie:  You know, back in Poland, when my nanny died, I was so heartbroken I could barely eat her.

Caroline:  You ate your dead nanny?

Sophie:  Well a goat's a goat.  Doesn't matter what you name it, it's still good goat meat!  Alright, I'll be in my booth.  I'm going to order a tuna melt and three Midol, please.
--  2 Broke Girls deal with the death of Caroline's nanny as Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) remembers her own nanny (Mondays, CBS).

Simon: So you want me to go to lunch but only if I act -- what was that distasteful word you used?

Gordon:  Normal. Look, these are traditional clients and you're a little too colorful for their tastes -- like that ridiculous tie.

Simon:  I love this tie.  And my colorfulness is what brings everyone to this agency.

Gordon:  Not everyone, okay, because 30% of our client base prefers things boring and safe.

Simon:  If these pie people want us to change who we are then we don't want them

Gordon:  Yes, we do because they're about to go national. Listen, I've been out loud and proud ever since I was on the Radical Fairy float in the Gay Pride Parade but when Timothy texted me during that pitch?  Well I just played it off like he was my wife because you do what you have to do to land the client.

Sydney:  I believe you referred to him as "the old ball and chain," liar.

Gordon: Actually, that is not a lie.  Balls and chains have been involved. 
-- Simon (Robin Williams), Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Gordon (Brad) discuss how to run an ad agency in The Crazy Ones (Thursdays, CBS).

Let them eat cake, he'll even serve

The economy remains in the toilet, unemployment has resulted in the worst Thanksgiving weekend sales grosses in seven years, Guantanamo remains open, the illegal spying continues and ObamaCare's still a disaster.

But don't worry, America, Barack Obama is hard at work . . .


delivering cakes.

Let them eat cake, Barack?

Photo by Pete Souza.

Spanking Mr. Hanks

Echoing Stan, "WTF is wrong with Tom Hanks?"

spanking mr. banks

Tom Hanks is whoring whatever's left of his talent in an attempt to redeem Walt Disney.

The new film Saving Mr. Banks isn't about Mary Poppins.  It's not about P.L Travers (played by Emma Thompson).  It's about trying to buff up Walt Disney's poor image.

The company can -- and often does -- sue when people explore Disney's anti-semitism and racism or ties to the Nazis.  But what they can't do, even with lawsuits, is hide Walt's hate for unions or his naming names to the HUAC.

Now we can understand why so many stay so silent.

If you're an actor, for example, telling the truth about Disney (as Whoopi Goldberg briefly did), means you lose the network ABC, the cable Disney channel, the cable channel A+E, the cable channel ABC Family, Walt Disney Studio, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm . . .   In other words, speaking truth about Disney can leave an actor with a lot less work options due to the fact that the US government refuses to implement anti-trust laws.

But while silence might be understandable, there was no reason for Hanks to agree to play the role.

Not only does it spit-shine the creepy Walt Disney, it demeans P.L. Travers who never forgave Disney.

It invents scenes -- like Disney traveling to London and bonding with Travers -- and presents him as jovial and her as a crank.

The film's not about Travers and it's not about reality.

It's about taking a creepy asshole named Walt Disney and rewriting history to make him charming.

Tom Hanks should be ashamed of himself and any time he wants to pose as 'political' (he's a generic, middle of the road Democrat), everyone should remember that he made a union-breaker 'charming.'

The continued protests in Iraq

Since December 21st, protests have been taking place in Iraq.

They continued last Friday.


  • Tikrit.

    الغائب على الشيخ في ساحة اعتصام . .


    الموحدة في مدينة . .


    الموحدة في ساحة العزة والكرامة بمدينة في محافظة . .

    Iraqi Spring MC continues to provide coverage but where's everyone else.  In two Friday's, the protests hit the one year mark.

    Film Classics of the 20th Century

    So far in this series, we've looked at Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

    movie montage

    Harry's just exploded about how relationships fall apart, how you end up arguing over things you don't even want -- like that stupid coffee table, and you end up hating each other.  As he storms off, Marie rubs her fiancee Jess' chest and tells him, "I want you to know . . .  that I will never want that wagon wheel coffee table."

    It's a sign of a great script and movie when the funniest moments are distributed among the characters.

    1989's When Harry Met Sally . . . is a film classic.  Directed by Rob Reiner with a script by Nora Ephron, the script asked the question: Can a woman and a man be friends?

    Today, we all scream: Of course.

    In 1989, a large number maintained otherwise. And the film first pops the question in the late seventies.


    Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) share a post-college trip to NYC where Harry insists that men and women can't be friends because sex always gets in the way.



    Sally's skeptical of Harry's hypothesis but notes what it means.

    Sally: Well I guess we're not going to be friends then.

    Harry:  Guess not.

    Sally:  That's too bad.  You are the only person I knew in New York.

    Five years later, she's seeing her fiancee (Jack Ford) off at the airport when Harry walks by.  Sally and Harry briefly reconnect.


    Five years later, they bump into one another again.  Both are ending relationships.  And a friendship begins.





    NYC itself becomes a character in the film.

    Harry decides to fix Sally up with his best friend Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Sally tries to fix Harry up with her best friend Marie (Carrie Fisher).


    There are sparks . . . but between Jess and Marie.

    Bruno Kirby has never been better in a film.


    And it's probably Carrie Fisher's best supporting role as well.


    A lunch with friends Sally and  Alice (Lisa Jane Persky) finds Marie updating them on her love life.

    Marie: I went through his pockets, okay? 

    Alice: Marie, why do you go through his pockets? 

    Marie: You know what I found? 

    Alice: No, what? 

    Marie: They just bought a dinning room table. He and his wife just went out and spent sixteen hundred dollars on a dinning room table. 

    Alice: Where? 

    Marie: Huh?  The point isn't where, Alice. The point is he's never going to leave her.

    Alice: So what else is new you've known this for two years. 

    Marie: You're right, you're right, I know you're right.

    Again, a good comedy is not a (male) character who says and does funny things while every other person on screen plays straight man.

    And all the characters get their moments.


    Thus far, it's the only film where Billy Cyrstal's been romantic and sexy.

    And on the sex issue, the film is infamous for the disagreement about whether men can tell when women fake orgasms?

    Sally: So what do you do with these women, you just get up out of bed and leave? 

    Harry: Sure. 

    Sally: Well explain to me how you do it. What do you say? 

    Harry: You'd say you have an early meeting, early haircut or a squash game. 

    Sally: You don't play squash. 

    Harry: They don't know that they just met me. 

    Sally: That's disgusting. 

    Harry: I know, I feel terrible. 

    Sally: You know I'm so glad I never got involved with you. I just would've ended up being some woman you had to get up out of bed and leave at three o'clock in the morning and clean your andirons, and you don't even have a fireplace. Not that I would noticed. 

    Harry: Why are you getting so upset? This is not about you. 

    Sally: Yes it is. You are a human affront to all women and I am a woman. 

    Harry: Hey I don't feel great about this but I don't hear anyone complaining. 

    Sally: Of course not you're out of the door too fast. 

    Harry: I think they have an OK time. 

    Sally: How do you know? 

    Harry: What do you mean how do I know? I know. 

    Sally: Because they . . . 

    Harry: Yes, because they . . .  

    Sally: And how do you know that they really . . . 

    Harry: What are you saying, that they fake orgasm? 

    Sally: It's possible. 

    Harry: Get outta here.

    Sally: Why? Most women at one time or another have faked it. 

    Harry: Well they haven't faked it with me. 

    Sally: How do you know? 

    Harry: Because I know. 

    Sally: Oh, right, that's right, I forgot, you're a man. 

    Harry: What is that supposed to mean? 

    Sally: Nothing. It's just that all men are sure it never happened to them and that most women at one time or another have done it so you do the math.

    The above and a bit more leads up to the famous moment in the film where Sally fakes an orgasm in the deli.


    Rob Reiner has this classic film to point to forever.  It's a film about people, not special effects, it will not go out of style.  It is a classic.  Nora Ephron was able to use her successful script to begin a directing career (she would direct the blockbusters Sleepless In Seattle and You've Got Mail).  Billy got a huge hit when he really needed one.

    And Meg Ryan?

    Actress Charisma Carpenter Tweeted last month:

  • Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" ... How could she NOT have gotten the Oscar? Still one of the best movies. God the dialogue!!!

  • As is too often the case for comedic performers, Meg didn't even get nominated.  But it did launch her as a film star and she'd carry the lead in such comedies as Sleepless In Seattle, Kate & Leopold, You've Got Mail, Addicted To Love, French Kiss, Hanging Up, Joe Versus The Volcano and Serious Moonlight as well as in dramas like In The Cut, City of Angels, When A Man Loves A Woman, Courage Under Fire and Proof of Life.

    When Harry Met Sally . . .  remains one of the 20th century's all time best comedies.


    And Harry and Sally remain real, characters you actually care about.

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