Thursday, March 30, 2006

The ADHD made me do it!

During my daily flip through the New York Lawyer (free registration required) I noticed the following article about an idiot Florida judge (via the AP):

Judge Blames His ADHD for Arresting 11 Over Paperwork Snafu

March 29, 2006

By The Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. -- A judge who had 11 people arrested for accidentally going to the wrong courtroom told an ethics board he was "horrified" by what he had done and blamed the problem on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Seminole County Judge John Sloop, 57, said he hadn't been diagnosed with ADHD before the incident but now takes medicine and sees a psychologist and psychiatrist.

"I will never be able to make amends," Sloop told the Judicial Qualifications Commission during a hearing to determine his future as a judge.

The commission had issued a notice of charges last April accusing Sloop of being unfit to serve. The panel, which could fine Sloop or go so far as to recommend his removal from the bench, will now make a recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court, which will make the final decision.

The 11 traffic offenders had gone to the wrong courtroom the morning of Dec. 3, 2004. Sloop ordered them arrested for failing to appear, even though two judges and a bailiff told him the defendants were directed to the wrong place by faulty paperwork or deputies.

Sloop on Tuesday conceded that he ignored those warnings, ate a quick lunch, left the courthouse to run errands, then returned and began his afternoon hearings as if nothing had happened.

A member of the commission asked Sloop why he didn't apologized to the victims before he spoke with an attorney who advised him not to.

"I can't answer that," Sloop said. "I can only suggest I was struggling with an undiagnosed disorder."

It gets better. Not only were the 11 people arrested for no real reason, someone thought that they should be strip searched.

Despite the Kettle's disbelief in the actual existence of this "disorder," it seems as if our good Judge Sloop not only ignored the court staff, but had 11 people arrested for no reason, went out for a sandwich and to pick up his dry cleaning and came back to work in the afternoon and didn't remember what the hell he did that morning?

This man is not only a disgrace to judges around the country, but an utter embarassment to all those poor 12 and 13 year olds suffering from ADD and ADHD.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The laziest people ever!

I was curious about what the dirty French were protesting about today so I finally read a little about their latest problem.

The French government has floated a proposal that would allow employers to fire workers under the age of 26 without cause during their first two years on the job. The government believes that the greater flexibility will encourage employers to hire young workers (who currently face a 22-percent unemployment rate - the highest in Western Europe).

Sounds good right?

Not to the lazy French.

"We are here for our children. We are very worried about what will happento them," said Philippe Decrulle, an Air France flight attendant. "My son is 23 and he has no job. That is normal inFrance."

Weclome to France, the only place on earth where a million people take to the streets in order to stay unemployed.

Maybe they need a guest worker program?

The Kettle Goes to ShopRite...Trouble Usually Follows

I will confess; I often love grocery shopping. Is it all those products in one place? The convenience of it all? Am I enjoying capitalism at work? Maybe I am having a Don DeLillo White Noise moment? Well, that last one, maybe. But I actually find it somewhat relaxing, pacing the aisles, seeing the wealth of available products and delicacies I may want to try. However, that is only when the store is somewhat or entirely empty. With actual people in the store with me, I usually leave seething with anger or entirely disillusioned and broken.
Why? A sane person may want to know. In a nutshell, I find the behavior displayed by the majority of people at ShopRite amazingly selfish, indicative of some serious sloth issues, and bordering on destructive. I know I exaggerate (sometimes), but not here.

The seafood counter is consistently mayhem, and a good spot to learn how to cut a line with a conveniently placed shopping cart. I once saw a horrible father ignoring his obnoxious son, badly juggling some otherwise nice plum tomatoes. People who refuse to even begin unloading their cart or basket onto the conveyor belt without that precious divider honestly annoy me to pieces. And I foolishly once told the Pot that I hate, yes hate! those self-centered schlubs who break apart bunches of bananas. And yes, I do hate them.

My latest pet peeve...The morons, who oblivous to the existence of fellow shoppers, leave their shopping carts haphazardly strewn in the aisle, so that no one can pass. This most commonly happens in the entirely pleasant cereal aisle, so there are some whiny kids jumping around as well. This just occurred to me today. Carts everywhere...some lost fools who have to stand in the middle of the aisle and take a look at the big picture of boxes in order to find their Frosted Lucky Charms... you get the idea. There was nary room to pass. Then, eureeka! An opening! A slight passage through a sea of carts. I had to take it. Then I saw her, an elderly woman at the end of my safe passage through. She was going to steal it. Gentleman that I am, I was immediately dejected. I couldn't stoop so low to make her wait for me. But then, she did the most amazing thing ever. She waved me through and in a Sophia Petrillo-esque squawk announced, "Break on through there, kiddo!" I loved it. I giggled. And when I met her on the other side, she congratulated me a hearty slap on the back. I giggled more. She was a true scamp, and I hope we see each other again.

The rest of my shopping experience was a delight, as I was on top of the world and in love with mankind. I was warmed and reminded of the amazing Dr. Albanese, who often calls me kiddo.

Then I left the store and walked into a disheartening mess of shopping carts because people cannot be bothered to walk the ten to twenty steps to return their cart to the proper (and well-labelled) cart drop-off.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Scariest Song Ever

Just this morning, as I was enjoying a bowl of Corn Flakes and reading up on world news and such, courtesy of Yahoo news, I came across this totally interesting story. It seems in raising money for Hurricane Katrina, VH1 gave donors of $25 the right to choose a video to play. Nice, right? Totally. A $35,000 donation allowed that donor to choose the videos for one whole hour. I am sure this anonymous donor must be the nicest person ever, and as an underscore of this whole story, I am mildly surprised that music channels are allowing videos to even be played for a whole hour. Thank goodness! Anyway, so the donor of $35,ooo wants Nena's "99 Luftballons" ("99 Red Balloons") video to air repeatedly for a whole hour, which couldn't be funner. What prompted me to write and sent me on an early Saturday morning scramble was the end of said article which reads,
"99 Luftballons" is a Cold-War era protest song that tells the story of 99 red balloons floating into the air, triggering an apocalypse when the military sends planes to intercept them."

I kinda did a half double take, half "that's not what this song is about" mid-spoonful of Corn Flakes. (look at that link, trust me). Then I did some investigation and lo and behold, my happy, sunny, "99 Red Balloons" is about global destruction and nuclear warfare. I realize I am probably one of the last people, who considers himself somewhat of a music aficionado, to realize this. It is kinda like the sad embarrassing truth each of my siblings and I had to face when we found out what a Pizza Burger actually was.

99 LuftBalloons
You and I in a little toy shop
buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message, "Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by.
99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by.
99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by.
99 Knights of the air
ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a Silverhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by.
As 99 red balloons go by.
99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here...
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go.

Friday, March 24, 2006

More Brokeback tears

As a follow-up to my previous Brokeback Mountain crying posts (found here, here and even here), Randy Quaid, the "instantly recognizable household name and much-admired actor on the world's stage (and feature film and television screens)," filed a lawsuit Thursday in the Los Angeles branch of the Superior Court of the State of California against the movie's producers. Quaid's lawsuit claims that the producers falsely represented the movie to him as "a low-budget, art house film, with no prospect of making any money."

As you may remember from seeing the movie, Randy played Joe Aguirre, the homophobic man who caught his two employees (played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) having sex while they were supposed to be herding his sheep. According to Wikipedia, this was a perfect part for Randy since "Quaid is often considered to be at his best when portraying either drunks or rednecks."

Now that Brokeback has grossed about $160 million, Quaid wants his share. The suit seeks damages in the amount of $10 million. Read more about it here and read the complaint here (hat tip Drudge Report).

Notes from an agreeable Kettle:
1. Randy Quaid was in Brokeback for all of 20 minutes. He should pipe down.
2. Said article also reports, "Quaid agreed to waive his usual seven-figure fee and share of gross profits in favor of a much smaller payment, the suit claims, although it doesn't say how much he was paid." Who in God's name is giving Randy Quaid a share of the gross profits?
3. Randy Quaid's biggest claim to fame is the embarrassingly dumb Cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon movies.4. I was hoping he was nominated for many a Razzie. Sadly, no.

I hate to nit pick

but equating a tennis match loss by Jennifer Capriati to the "saddest thing ever" is like saying a flat tire is the equivalent of being raped. I disagree with both. Ever is a very long time.

I also feel the urge to temper the Kettle's "wonderful" rating given to Lindsay "i choke in grand slam finals or feign an injury so I can place the blame somewhere else" Davenport. Don't get me wrong, I like Lindsay. I think there should be more big not-so-cute American girls playing sometimes-great-sometimes-mediocre tennis on the international stage. But Lindsay screwed me in last year's Wimbledon final when she, yet again, choked on a hair ball and lost a match she should have won. It cost me a bundle and I still haven't gotten over it. Wonderful she is not.

Finally, as to instant replay, I'm a bit torn. Part of the lure of sports such as baseball, football, basketball (to a lesser extent) and tennis is that they grew up in an age of little or no technology. The calls on the court or on the field were made by men (and now some women) and those calls were final. It led to fights, arguments, kicking dirt on the umpire's shoes. Boos from the crowd, calls for the referee to get new glasses and even, once in a while, an assault. It gave you an excuse to utter when your team lost a close game: "if the f**king ump had his eyes open, they never would have scored those three runs!"

Football made the decision years ago to go to instant replay. I grew up watching the Giants play and hearing the man in white and black stripes utter the words "after further review, the play stands as called." The NFL owners then thought better of it and eliminated instant replay. Then, in a very John Kerry flip-flop fashion, they adopted instant replay again a few years ago (this time with some limitations on when and how it could be done and limiting the number to just a few challenges per team). It is still alive today, although the NFL continues to tweak it. Basketball uses instant replay for limited purposes (most the time just to figure out whether the clock should be adjusted based on when the ball went out of bounds or whether a buzzer beater was out of the hands of the player before time ran out).

Now tennis has joined in the technology which, overall, I think is unfortunate.

I'll miss the bad calls and the fights with the chair ump (or as the not-so-annoying John McEnroe would refer to them as, the "chump"). The back talk and mutterings under a player's breath will be gone. So will a bit of what makes tennis fun to watch. In my humble opinion, its a loss for the game and sportsmanship since the entire reason behind this move is so players can advance on technicalities rather than just taking a bad call in stride and making the next volley that much better.

If baseball ever goes to a instant replay, I might have to stop watching sports.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Let's go to the videotape, Mary!

That's Mary, as in Carillo, of course! So the world of tennis has approved using video instant replay to correct or challenge line calls. Big news, right? Right. Under the news rules, a player has the option to question a line call twice in a set, and yesterday we saw its inception. Young American Jamea Jackson, who knew her shot was out and it was appropriately called out, still questioned the call, because hey, she just wanted to be the first. And who can blame her? Unfortunately, Jamea, this may be your only entry into the tennis history books.

And although I personally think this is a fine addition to the game because there are times when a horrendous line call unfairly determines a match, I am afraid we are going to miss out on some truly wonderful confrontations between players and linesmen or chair referee. Wasn't it always fun when a player would continue to stare down some 50 something year old woman who made a stupid call? What about when J-Cap would curse under her breath for the next half hour over a particular call? And can anyone really forget the 2005 Wimbledon final when wonderful Lindsay Davenport told the chair, "If I was doing my job as poorly as you are, I wouldn't be here today!" I know I can't be the only one who thinks of that daily. (Thanks, Dav, for using the correct adverb: poorly.)

The picture from this blog is from one of the greatest line challenges in recent memory. John MacEnroe was slightly before my time, and frankly he annoyed me. But in the '04 Open when Serena hit a ball that was clearly a foot within in the line, yet it was called out, she made one of the greatest on court displays arguing for justice. I almost loved her then. J-Cap went on to win that match, but then fell in the semi's and it was the saddest thing ever.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shoot it, Fatboy!

It's March Madness, boys! Thank the %$!# Lord it is finally here again! Just kidding. I actually watched a few games or parts of a few games, due in large to the Pot and my psychotic Villanova grad-dad who thinks he and his wife and 5 children actually play for the Wildcats, but that's another story. Anyway, the games were fun and I eat up every opportunity to root for any kind of underdog. I also remembered I kinda liked basketball. Little known fact about Sir Kettle? I was an All-Star on the St. Joseph's CYO team. Seriously. I am 99% certain I embarrassed myself in the All-Star game, however. Anyway, in honor of March Madness, I thought it would be fitting to have a basketball related post, but sticking to my strengths, I would have to put a cinematic spin on it. So without further ado, here is my selection for the best basketball movie ever....


Sorry all you Hoosiers fans. Ditto to any fans of Love and Basketball or Air Bud, god-willing. But those flicks can't quite hold a candle to Teen Wolf, which quite frankly, has it all.

I will review it quickly for those of you who might have forgotten this 80's high-school epic. Scott Howard (a plucky Michael J. Fox) is part werewolf. Except he doesn't know it. His widowed father, interestingly named Harold Howard, never told him and was hoping the werewolf tendency would skip a generation. It didn't. To complicate matters, Scott plays for his very sucky high school basketball team, The Beavers. And his childhood pal Boof (supposably female) has a way obvious crush on Scott.

Then in an amazing scene where underage Scott has to order a keg of beer, he almost morphs into said wolf. Not quite. When playing 7 Minutes in Heaven at a party, he becomes almost entirely wolf-like with Boof in the closet, but only leaves lovebites on her neck (Been there, Boof!) and tears her shirt. Fast forward to another embarrassing Beavers basketball game, and when Scott is jock-deep in a pile of players fighting for a jump ball, he turns full on wolf! As a wolf, Scott is great at basketball and is able to turn the Beavers' season around. Scott and his prankster friend Stiles ride around town in Stiles' van while Scott, as the wolf, breakdances to "Surfin' USA" on top. He even gets a very slutty classmate Pamela Wells to take off her clothes for him in her dressing room!

Things are going great! But Harold Howard is upset that Scott is misusing his powers. Presumably, the ability to turn into a werewolf is only supposed to be used for good. And even Scott is beginning to feel disenchanted with his new found celebrity and mystique.

I am now remembering this post was about basketball, so in the end, Scott and the Beavers are in the big championship game against their arch-rival The Dragons, whose best player Mick (hott!) dates Pamela and has it in for Scott. In an extreme act of bravery and sincerity, Scott decides to play the game as a human, not as a wolf, and low and behold, the Beavers pull out the victory. There are some great moments in the game, including some heavy trash-talking between Scott and Mick, Stiles pumping up the crowd, in typical Stiles fashion, and Boof cheering her heart out with Howard. But the heart of this movie really belongs to Chubby, Scott's 300+ pound friend and teammate, played by Pee-Wee's very own Francis, who scores on a mean right hook from the top of the key and ignites the Cinderella story.

Oh, and Scott chooses Boof... there was a horrendous remake Teen Wolf, Too, starrring Jason Bateman... and a Saturday morning cartoon, which was even worse. But there are some killer songs on the soundtrack, including "Win in the End" by Mark Safan, "Way to Go" by Mark Vieha and "Shooting for the Moon" by Amy Holland.

And I will close with this gem of advice from quintessiential high school coach, Coach Finstock:

There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.
(for more)

Go March Madness.

An unfortunate loss for sadomasochistic sexual behavior

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from a photographer who claimed a federal decency law violated her free-speech rights to post pictures of sadomasochistic sexual behavior on the Internet. More here (hat tip Drudge Report).

Clearly a travesty of justice and an encroachment on our constitutional rights. First we can't take scissors or nail clippers on airplanes, then the NSA has the balls to listen in on phone conversations between terrorists and now we cant post pictures of sadomasochistic sexual behavior on the Web. What next?

I blame this utter fascism on Jerry Falwell and George Bush!

Jail ain't no party

Poor Mike Herchenbach. After a party his roommates threw last October (which Mike claims he wasn't even at), Mike was arrested and charged with "maintaining a disorderly house." His roommates were arrested on the same charges and pleaded guitly. They received fines. Since Mike's name was on the lease, he entered a plea of no contest to the charge thinking that he would also receive a fine. Wrong. The judge sentenced him to 30-days in jail. Poor schmuck has about a week left in the pokey. Read more about it here (hat tip Drudge Report).

Friday, March 17, 2006

I fought the law

And I won.

After a battle that began on September 15, 2005 when Hoboken, New Jersey parking officer "J" attached a boot to my vehicle and ticketed it for being parked in a "resident permit parking" area without a permit, I was found not guilty by a Hoboken Municipal Court judge yesterday after a 3 hour and 40 minute wait and a lightening fast 4-minute trial.

You might ask yourself, "self, why did the Pot fight a silly parking ticket and waste half of his day in court? Wouldn't it have been easier to just bite the so-called bullet and pay the fine?"

Very good question! Well, in order to get the boot removed from your tire, you must pay them $130. That is in addition to the $45 ticket. And since my car did have a resident parking permit clearly stuck to the windshield that Parking Officer J completely overlooked when he chose to boot and ticket my vehicle, I was not about to let Hoboken keep the $130 they were attempting to convert.

I must note the following before I get to the very exciting court dates: the "warning" sticker placed on my window telling me not to drive the car with a boot on stated that the vehicle was a "gray Kia" with New York license plates. There are several problems with this, not the least being that Parking Officer J couldn't tell the difference between a Kia and a Jeep Grand Cherokee (which is what I have) and that he couldn't figure out what state my license plates were from despite have the words "New" and "Jersey" printed clearly on the plate. This complete inattention to detail didn't surprise me all that much considering good old Parking Officer J missed the well-placed resident parking permit on the windshield.

So off I go to court (after several postponements) on Valentine's Day. I speak with the prosecutor and show him my evidence (I won't bore you with it all, but lets just say my evidence was good!). His response was that he was willing to dismiss the ticket (the $45 violation), but that the only way I could get the boot money back was to plead not guilty, have a trial and be found not guilty by the judge. So when my name was called, that's what I did.

Because making you wait once for 2 hours isn't enough, you cannot plead not-guilty and have your trial on the same day. So I was sent a notice that my trial would be at 10:00 a.m. on March 16, 2006. Being a lawyer, I spent a few hours preparing my case. I made copies of the permit and the permit receipt, called the Parking Utility to make sure the placement of my permit was correct (it was), looked through Hoboken's municipal code at the relevant ordinances, figured out under which evidence rule I could introduce my evidence, and preparing some questions for Parking Officer J in case I needed to ruin him on the stand.

I was ready for a fight. This wasn't just me v. Hoboken, this was everyman v. THE man. I had to stand up for the little guy and win against this big parking Goliath. I was David.

Okay, actually I didn't care about the little guy or everyman (or woman for that matter although I'll admit I did once like the Whitney Houston song "I'm every woman") -- I just wanted my f**king $130 back because I didn't feel like subsidizing the donut budget for the Hoboken Parking Utility.

Off to court I went yesterday. I arrived at 10:00 on the nose to a room filled with about 80 people (of course the Fire Marshall sign on the wall said that maximum capacity was 41). Court started and dragged on for some time. Parking tickets, speeding tickets, people who ran red lights. There was a gentleman who drive through a gas station in order to avoid a red light. There was a woman who was caught with "drug paraphernalia" (by the way, in New Jersey if you are convicted of any drug related crime, your landlord can evict you). There was a middle aged man who was appearing on a ludeness charge (thankfully he wasn't lude in court) and a few dumb kids who got caught jumping the PATH turnstile. The obligatory DWI case (a woman) and the equally obligaotry public unrination charge.

Then there was me. Dressed in a nice blue suit and looking like a million bucks, I sat patiently waiting while all these people had their day in court. Unfortunately, "trials" are held last. Well, after almost 4 hours of time, my case is called.

The prosecutor, who pretty much knew he was going to lose, explained the case and told the judge that Parking Officer J was "reliable." Then it was my turn. I told the judge that our Parking Officer was anything but reliable, seeing that he couldn't tell the difference between a Kia and a Jeep and coulnd't identify what were clearly New Jersey license plates on the Jeep (I had pictures!). I gave her my registration and parking permit receipt which proved that a permit had been issued for that car.

She sat reviewing the evidence and considering the testimony for about 16 seconds. The anticipation was almost too much to handle. But then, she looked up, and said that the evidence did not support the prosecution's case, that a permit was on the vehicle and that I was not guilty.


Now the fight begins to get the $130 back. Stay tuned.

The only thing worse . . .

than people who bitch about people who cry about Brokeback Mountain not winning the Best Picture Oscar are people who complain about people who bitch about people who cry about Brokeback Mountain not winning the Best Picture Oscar.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

This Potato Grubbing, Ass Grabbing, Street Brawl of a Holiday

Ok, with this picture, I am pretty much in love with this blogpost, no matter what transpires in the subsequent paragraphs.

To explain the title of this blog, that, too, has been lifted from a hilarious SNL skit of Martha Stewart's "unbelievably trashy" St. Patrick's Day. Believe it or not, I actually kinda like St. Pat's Day. Must be the 25% Mc in me. I could do without some of the very loud, very stupid drunks, and pretty much the best delicacy of the day will be a green bagel; I don't see the attraction of corned-beef. But it is a holiday in the spirit of a good old-fasioned, poor man's fun. And don't tell my mom, but I sometimes don't mind the bagpipes. Isnt' that nice?

And this year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday (during Lent), which I guess has many amazingly devout Catholics in a tizzy what to do. How could they possibly be Catholic and Irish and not eat meat, when corned-beef is sitting there like an evil little temptress? Actually, there have been some drunken times in my life, where a corned-beef sandwich did hit the spot. But in a very bizarre ruling, some Irish Bishops are saying it is ok for people to eat meat. Granted, I never fully understood why it was so important to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. And I went to a million years of Catholic schools and just blindly accepted it, I guess. But what is the rationale behind this??? Anyway, I am sure Jesus is quite happy, losing out to corned-beed and all. I hope a fife and drum band salutes his sacrifice properly.

FYI, my little hometown, West Orange has a lovely St. Patrick's Day Parade and it is a huge deal! I was there this year, like a good son.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Love and Hate in the Time of Netflix

I may start kicking myself that I did not join the class action lawsuit against Netflix. It is always during a long break they decide to screw me over by resorting to shotty service. For example, just last week, The Junebug should have been mailed to me on Monday and would have arrived on Tuesday, but for whatever reason Netflix wasn't shipping it until Wednesday and it arrived on Friday. Little things like this. And Junebug was something I really couldn't wait an extra second to see. (This is better than Christmas!) If you have seen the movie, you know what I mean. Meanwhile when I have no time to watch a movie anyway, they have no problem getting ridiculous movies like Red Dawn or Nuts to me in a heartbeat. Why those movies made it to my queue, well, we just may never know.

Anyway, Netflix is ticking me off. Sometimes the next movie comes from convenient New Brunswick, NJ while other times it is being shipped from Tempe, AZ, which I am sure is a delightful city, but their postal service leaves much to be desired.

Still, the resolution to the lawsuit was only going to be one month of upgraded service, which doesn't seem like much anyway. So in the meantime, Stage Beauty, next on my queue for whatever reason is arriving between Friday and next Wednesday.

Or I suppose I could just take this person's advice and get a life.

Monday, March 13, 2006

But Spring Break is my favorite holiday

I am on Spring Break. It will be two weeks of sleeping late, bumming around, getting drunk, (solo), buying clothes, and seeing movies. Who could ask for anything better? The Pot thinks my Spring Break didn't start until today, even though this past Friday was my last day of school. In a way, he is correct. I think he is being persnicketily technical. But he has many weird quirks and rules like that. I am so much more of a realist. In the practical world, my Spring Break began right after school on Friday. I am nothing if not practical.

Anywho, my spring break won't solely consist of living the life of Truman Capote. I also intend to learn a thing or two. Starting here. Who knew so much money is sitting beneath Manhattan? This will be good if I ever go on Jeopardy, which is becoming an increasingly nagging thought lately. I may have to wait until Alex Trebek retires.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Brokeback cry babies, part deux

Following up on my previous post about how poorly some people are dealing with Brokeback Mountain's big loss as last week's Academy Awards, I must say that dear Annie Proulx, the auothor of the short story on which Brokeback was based, needs to up her dose of Paxil.

I'm not sure that bitter fully describes her commentary on everything from Academy voters to the movie that gave Brokeback a Jack-style beating, but someone needs to tell her its time to move on.

(Hat tip The Malcontent)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Women's Tennis 2006

Ok, the tennis season is already getting under way. And we should all be VERY excited. And this post is already too late! How far can Martina Hingis go? Is this it for America's sweetheart Lindsay Davenport? What other on-court antics will Justine Henin-Hardenne pull? What is in store for Venus and Serena? And, for the love of God, where is J-Cap???

Anyway, here are my 6 players to watch and desperately root for, in no particularly order:

1. Lindsay Davenport. She inched so close last year to winning that elusive last slam, making it to the finals of Australia and Wimbledon. I have a hunch last year was her shot to win one. Not so many players are injured this year and she just can't seem to figure out how to beat Sharapova, JHH, and who knows who else. Still, she is the most composed and well-spoken female athlete ever. And I pretty much need her to do well at Wimbledon and the US, for both our sakes. This will most likely be it for her, sadly. The concept of graciousness in women's tennis is over once Davenport retires.

2. Maria Sharapova. I would love for her to become the next dominant player, a la Steffi Graf. And she is still just 18 years old, which is weird because she has already been around a while and it seems like she should be older. Meanwhile, all of her real competition is in its mid-twenties. So, it seems like in two years she will be the one still to beat, but I would love for her to get another Slam this year. I have a hunch there is going to be talk of a One Slam Wonder soon. And she is just so pretty. Hoping she will own the summer grass season, and learn how to play the net, if she is going to insist on coming in. As of now, it looks painful when she approaches. Note to incestuous father: Make Maria play doubles!

3. Amelie Mauresmo. This could totally be her year. She is in the prime of her career and has been beating most of the competition pretty soundly in the past 6 months. The Australian truly was hers, despite JHH quitting. It was a given she would have won it easily. The Aussie was also proof she literally could be the last woman standing in many tournaments. She will have another spectacular clay court season, leading up to the French. I think we will see a breakthrough there. Finally.

4. Martina Hingis. Granted, I vehemently hated her as a teenager. She was annoying, pompous, and not one bit fun. I don't know why I am so behind her these days, but I am wishing her well. If anything, she will bring a much needed layer of depth to the women's game. Plus, we have her hilariously blunt comments to look forward to again! For example: "I knew I could come back once I saw a mediocre player like Anastasia Myskina win a slam." Or, "I am not going to worry about my ranking so much. I just want to get a lot of matches. But it looks like my ranking is taking care of itself." Final thought: she has gotten much prettier. Final final thought, she is a great clay court player. The upcoming clay season could determine a lot of the rest of her year.

5. Nadia Petrova. She is a solid player who is finally figuring out how to beat the players ranked abover her. Basically I am including her because she won me over at the past US Open, despite a crazy annoying fan. Be aware, she is already a two-time French Open semi-finalist and she has only improved and gotten more confident since then.

6. Justine Henin-Hardenne. We are rooting against her all the time. I hope she gets booed at each of the remaining slams. Her display in the Australian finals was horrible and I honestly think she should be penalized. Words cannot describe the depth of my hate for her.

Other thoughts: I would welcome Serena back in a hearbeat, for no other reason than she can destroy JHH. I usually enjoy Venus as well.

J-Cap! Bring your potty mouth, beer-swilling, gutsy self back to us!

And this cute player with a fun website.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Nuns v. Librarians

In what will probably go down in history as the 21st century's Battle of the Titans, the Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery in Villa Hills, Kentucky will take on a group of Boone County librarians in the annual Corporate Spelling Bee for Literacy in northern Kentucky.

Via the AP:
The sisters were champions of the annual Corporate Spelling Bee for Literacy in northern Kentucky for years before giving others a chance to win.

But now the nuns are back, even if they're a little timid about challenging the reigning champions - a group of Boone County librarians.

"Librarians give us a scare," said Sister Mary Carol Hellmann, who says she's been brushing up on Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Spanish root words to prepare for the bee. Some of the other sisters say they use the Internet to practice.

Meanwhile, the librarians say victory won't come easy now that the nuns are competing.

"They have that strong Latin background," said Cindy Brown, director of the Boone County Library. Brown said her spelling team is made up of "voracious readers with a certain verbal attitude."

I'm betting on the nuns . . . they're a bit more feisty than your normal gaggle of librarians. The competition is tonight.

Kettle says: The Kettle is betting on the librarians! Separation of church and state! I hope they spell separate correctly, not the traditionally the incorrect "seperate"

Update: The damn chimopelagic librarians won. The Kettle disagreed with me, happy Zach?

$241,000 worth of tits & ass

A lawsuit filed by Scores, Manhattan's "high class" strip club, against a Missouri businessman, his former employer and American Express after the Show Me State executive racked up a $241,000 tab after a night of fun, has been settled out of court.

From the New York Lawyer (free registration required):
An expensive night out at Scores cost a Missouri businessman his job, but his final tab for the evening in the topless temple will remain a secret.

A confidential settlement was reached in a lawsuit over a $241,000 American Express bill rung up at the club on Oct. 22, 2003, said attorney Donald David, who represented the strip club. The settlement was reached among Scores, American Express, Savvis Inc. and Savvis' former CEO Robert McCormick.

"All I can say at this point is that the parties have amicably resolved their differences," said David, who was legally barred from releasing the details.

McCormick resigned after an investigation into the $241,000 bill charged to his corporate American Express card at the Manhattan club. McCormick and Savvis contended the bill at Scores should have been between $18,000 and $19,000.

Savvis and McCormick, of Clayton, Mo., refused to pay, and American Express sued them and Scores.
That's a lot of boobies. Membership has its privileges.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Singing Paris

No, not the album (unfortunately).

Warner Music is releasing Paris Hilton's debut album in June. Yep, another talentless sole putting out an album.

(hat tip Gay Patriot)

Goodbye Oscar

I agree wholeheartedly with The Pot, regarding Brokeback Crybabies. There are snubs and upsets every year. And thank god there was at least one surprise this Oscar. If anything, Crash's victory could be a good thing, because for the past 10 years, the Oscars have been so boringly predictable that you didn't even have to watch in order to know who won. What it comes down to is that only 5 movies can be nominated and only one can win. Yes, Brokeback was winning everything in sight, and it seemed like a shoo-in. A big DVD endorsement from Crash just might have done it. Or gasp! A select group of people, who get things wrong all the time anyway, did not think Brokeback Mountain was the most amazing movie ever made ever.

Recent Oscar upsets include: Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan, Adrien Brody over anyone else, Marisa Tomei over anyone else, Cher (Moonstruck) over Holly Hunter (Broadcast News), Jodie Foster (The Accused) over anyone else, Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) over Lauren Bacall (The Mirror Has Two Faces). So it does happen.

And if anyone really believes the Academy of Motion Pictures is homophobic, that is laughable. The Academy is the most gay friendly place after the "I'm Gay" boutiques in Chelsea. William Hurt (The Kiss of the Spider Woman), Tom Hanks (Philadelphia), Philip Seymour Hoffmann (Capote), Charlize Theron (Monster), Nikki Kidman (The Hours), and Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) all played gay; all won. Not to mention countless other nominees, who beat out straight characters just to get the nomination: Heath and Jake, Julianne Moore (The Hours), Cher (Silkwood), Kathy Bates (Primary Colors), Javier Bardem (Before Night Falls), Felicity Huffman (Transamerica), Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich...bisexual?), Al Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon), Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game).

Anyway, enough of the Oscars for me. It was kinda boring. Jon Stewart was good. It went by quickly. Lauren Bacall made me sad. Her tribute to black and white made me annoyed. My fave moment was probably when Jennifer Garner stumbled and kiddingly and perfectly said, "I do my own stunts!"

Salma Hayek and Keira Knightley were too pretty for words.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Shocking news: Couple for the 'Bachelor" TV show break up!

I guess TV love wasn' t meant to last forever. Romance Is Over for 'The Bachelor' Couple:
Humphrey Bogart said it to Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca" and now Dr. Travis Stork can say it to Sarah Stone: "We'll always have Paris."

Stork, an emergency room physician, chose Stone, an elementary school teacher, in the finale of ABC's "The Bachelor: Paris" last week.

The couple told The Tennessean in a joint interview Monday they are no longer a couple.
As I always say, emergency room doctors don't make good boyfriends. Kleenex anyone?

Brokeback cry babies

I've taken the liberty of compiling some of the more stupid explanations on why Brokeback Mountain did not win best picture:

1) Author and "Brokeback" co-screenwriter Larry McMurtry thinks that because most Academy voters are from urban areas, they had no interest in a film that took place in rural Montana. Um, ok. From Fox News:
"Members of the Academy are mostly urban people," McMurtry, who won the adapted screenplay prize with Diana Ossana, said backstage at Sunday night's ceremony. "We are an urban nation. We are not a rural nation. It's not easy even to get a rural story made."

2) Brokeback director Ang Lee's brother, Lee Kang, weighed in and thought it was some sort of American bias that did the film in. Via Fox News: "When the locals are voting, they will have this, whether you call it nationalism or something else." Hey Kang, what the f**k you talkin bout?

3) Hollywood doesn't want to seem out of touch with "mainstream America" so they deliberately chose racism over gay sex. Come on, we all know that Hollywood was over racism once O.J. was aquitted.

4) Instead of admitting defeat and conceding that some (at least a majority) of Academy voters actually thought "Crash" was, on the merits, the "best picture" of the year, The Advocate tosses the all-to-familiar homophobia card on the table (hat tip Gay Patriot):
Apparently Jack and Ennis also pushed the limits of acceptance for many Academy voters, comfortable enough with the film’s artistry and storytelling to reward its director and writers with Oscars but squeamish enough about its themes to opt for a different movie about intolerance as Best Picture.

Thus, according to The Advocate, the only reason Brokeback could have lost was Hollywood's squeamish homophobia. Not, of course, because Crash just happened to be a better movie.

Maybe Lee Kang is right, there was some sort of American bias (still not sure what the hell he means, but ok); or maybe it was red state v. blue state voters or urban v. rural; maybe it was even a hidden homophobia running rampant through the underworld of Hollywood. But maybe Crash won on the merits. Maybe the Academy voters, after watching both films with their homophobia and racism checked at the door just thought Crash was a better picture. Is that really so hard to accept?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oscar post mortem

I didn't see the entire show (in fact, just the last 90 minutes) but will share with you my few comments.

1) Although he's tall, slim and looks buff, Oscar is still in the closet. Brokeback Mountain was snubbed in most of the major categories, no best actress win for Transamerica and Capote has best actor, but was probably the least gay movie of the three.

2) Jon Stewart probably pissed off enough of the Hollywood elite to go the way of David Letterman and Chris Rock.

3) George Clooney's head is that much bigger now that he has an Oscar. He may be the next most self-important person in Hollywood.

4) Reese! I'll admit, I'm a big fan of Reese Witherspoon. Her performance in Walk the Line was amazing and no one can say that she didn't deserve this award (I must also admit that Joaquin Phoenix's performance as Johnny Cash was excellent as well). AND her acceptance speech was what acceptance speeches are supposed to be.

5) Dolly Parton looks ridiculous.

6) I liked Brokeback Mountain, but I must agree with the Academy . . . Crash was a better film overall (even though I thought the Matt Dillon saving the woman in the car wreck thing was a bit much). I still think that Sandra Bullock deserved a nomination for her bit part in Crash. Aside from being a very un-Bullock performance, she got your attention with her little tirade.

7) What the f**k was Charlize Theron thinking with that big bow dress?

8) I never realized how hard it actually was to be a pimp. In any event, although the song sucked, I did like how the Three 6 Mafia made almost every person in the audience cringe. Everyone shown on camera had a somewhat horrified look on their faces during the best song acceptance speech.

9) Good for Reese and Philip Seymour Hoffman for thanking their moms.

10) I so wanted Jennifer Garner to fall and have one of her boobs pop out. Not because I dislike Mrs. Affleck, but more because he boobs looked so nice in that dress!

10.1) It ended at 11:30!!!

Some more after-Oscar thoughts here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

1 Day til Oscar

Ok, one day away to the Oscars. Rather than root for someone (although I am behind many a performer) but rather than root strongly for someone, I somehow always seem to find myself adamantly rooting against certain people. Like Jennifer Aniston at the Emmys for instance. So who will I be strongly rooting against tomorrow evening? Unfortunately, that distinction falls solely on the sad little shoulders of Michelle Williams. Which is a little weird because I do like her, and am so happy for Jen Linley from the Creek. And I hope Katie Holmes is seething as Tom Cruise pokes her with a scientology prod or something. But back to Ms. Williams, to quote good old Zachary Roman, "She may win an Oscar for having a sad face." She was mopey at her wedding, she was mopey during her marriage, and she was mopey when she found out her husband was the homogay. So she was mopey and sad, and then added a stitch of anger. Pretty one note. I was more partial to Anne Hathaway. As were snubs Thandie Newton and Laura Linney in The Squid and the Whale, whom I haven't mentioned yet in this Oscar tribute. She, as always, was great. So, sorry Michelle, but I am rooting against you pretty hard. Here are the rest of my priorities and wishes for what will probably be a ho-hum ceremony.

5. A loss for Michelle.
4. Thandie is in attendance and divine. Keira too.
3. Dolly Parton brings the house down.
2. My father, who last year bowled me over with pride when he said, "If she [Hilary Swank] doesn't win an Academy Award, then I don't know what you have to do win one." gets involved. After a breakthrough in conversation like that last year, I am encouraged.
1. Jon Stewart keeps the political to a minimum.

And now, I will throw a shout-out to the Pot's fave performance/biggest snub of the year, Sandra Bullock in Crash. She was surprisingly good, and amazingly bitchy. Although I think the Pot liked her yelling at her husband "I just had a gun pointed in my face!", pre-falling down the stairs, I enjoyed her speech "I am angry all the time and I don't know why." It resonated with me... for some reason.
Happy Oscars! Fingers crossed for a tolerable broadcast.

Friday, March 03, 2006

2 Days til Oscar

So everyone is doing The Best of, so I will be doing The Worst. Here are The Worst Movies I Actually Paid Money To See, 2005. I was thinking of calling this The Worst Movies Thad Got Good Revies, but not all of them were positively received. Can you spot the one with middling reviews? If you want to know what were my fave movies of the year, it would just repeat the movies of the actors and actresses in my past two posts. Sans one film. Which one?

This one.

#5 Narnia. Granted Tilda was awesome and even younger brother Edmund was enjoyable. But this was movie was a mess. Tried to be The Lord of the Rings. Failed miserably. Talking lions are only tolerable for so long. Ugly children are tolerable even less. I never wanted the bad guys to obliterate the good and righteous ones so badly.

#4 Howl's Moving Castle
I remember I was painfully tired when I saw this. I almost left because I was going to fall asleep, which was a combination of being tired and Howl being a poor movie. Normally, I am fan of Japanimation. Princess Mononoke? See it. Best thing about Howl? "Stroll Through the Sky" on its Soundtrack. Trust me. It is glorious. I am terribly upset I don't know how to link it. First 15 minutes are fun; then the movie is too surreal for its own good.

#3 King Kong
Who was giving this movie rave reviews? The dialogue was laughable. Really. I actually laughed. Jack Black? He sold out and then he sold out again, and again, and again. I never wanted someone in a movie to die so much as I wanted Kong. It seemed like he was on top of that Empire State Building for an hour! Oh wait, he was. And next time, don't obviously steal so much from Jurassic Park. We get it, dinosaurs are nasty buggers. Naomi Watts? Let's keep her out of pictures from now on, k? Jessica Lange, she is not.

#2 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know the Pot kinda liked Grandma Georgina and she did have some zingers for a crazy old bird. But this movie was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Tim Burton is an egomaniac for making this and thinking he got it more right than the original. I read the book, and although the Wonka factory was a freak show, the book was not, and therefore the movie, should not have been. Here is Violet Beuregarde and here is Veruca Salt.

#1 Bewitched. I think I will leave it at that. It wasn't my choice, tho.

Save the teachers

Rest assured, the Kettle will be kept safe. From the Asbury Park Press:

Legislation to give private-school teachers the same legal protection against violence enjoyed by public-school teachers was approved by the state Assembly Thursday.

Sponsored by Assemblyman James Holzapfel, R-Ocean, the bill would amend a 1983 law that upgraded simple assault, usually a disorderly persons offense, to a third-degree crime if the attack is on a public-school teacher, administrator, school board member or other school district employee.

Private-school teachers and other employees are not covered by the 1983 law, a point emphasized by the state Supreme Court in a January decision.

Holzapfel's bill would make the third-degree charge apply also to attacks on private-school teachers and other staff members.

The proposal heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

3 Days til Oscar

Without any ado, we shall have my picks for best performances from the gentlemen this year. Because there were more than five that I really wanted to include, I have grouped some together, and perhaps forced a justification. You can be the judge, starting with...

#5 Two Men I normally loathe: Joaquin Phoenix and Jeff Daniels, whose performance in Walk the Line and The Squid and the Whale made me rethink my gut reaction. I don't think I gushed enough about Reese yesterday, so I will pick up here. Walk the Line is the love story of the year. Yes, everyone would fall in love with Reese in this movie, as she is heavenly. But Joaquin keeps Johnny intensely flawed, but entirely endearing. Although I hold true to my contention that Joaquin can really only play delinquents, he has delivered and surpassed my previous favorite role of his, Jimmy in To Die For, which, interestingly enough is Nikki Kidman's best movie. Joaquin was wonderful, gives a helluva jailhouse concert, and I can now forgive him for ignoring me the time I saw him in a pizza joint in the East Village. But he still makes me feel like I need a shower. Which brings me to Jeff Daniels in The Squid, etc. Was there ever a reason to care one way or the other for Jeff Daniels? No. Until now. He embodies every pretentious pedantic hack so well that you want to suffocate him. But he does it admirably and with an air of both self-deluded humor and tyranny. Trust me; that is accurate.

#4 The gays. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote, and Heath Ledger, Brokeback. Let's get Heath out of the way first. I realize I am at odds with many in not really seeing the bravery of this performance. If it takes such extreme bravery, allegedly, for a straight man to portray a gay character, isn't that contributing to the stereotype the movie is striving to break? Still, let's keep this quarrel-free. Who knew the kid with horrendous hair had this in him. It was a deeply felt, shockingly silent performance, and he said a lot in the fewest words possible. I wish he made me cry a little more, but he can herd my sheep whenever he wants. Moving on to the most diverse man in movies, PSH is finally getting the recognition he has earned time and time again for the past 12 years. The transformation is admirable and he owns this entire movie. Interestingly, the voice seemed to go away after the first 10 minutes or so. I may be more partial to Brandt from the Big Lebowski, but so be it. (PSH has played a million gay people, and is never as self-congratulatory as the Brokeback juggernaut. Big risks? Happiness, anyone?)

#3 Screw the 40 Year-Old Virgin (get it?), Vince Vaughn is the funniest man of 2005. Effortlessly hilarious in Wedding Crashers, he stole the movie from Owen Wilson and at the same time, set the standard for the idiot beer-swilling post-fratboy type appearing in too many movies.

#2 We're getting there... Jonathan Rhy-Meyers, Match Point. The more I think about this movie, the more compelling I find it. Not only was the arc of his character pretty wild, but it was the slickness of it all that made it damn fun. I have to say, this was quite the performance of a dashing, leading man on par with a Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Jude Law, Leonardo type, etc. Definitely turned me into a fan, and hoping his choices continue to be as interesting.

#1 The Men of Crash. I realize this is a long blog for the 4 people who are maybe reading. Matt Dillon was an asshole and a half and GOOD, too! Terence Howard is better and more complicated every time I see this. Even Ludacris and Ryan Phillipe?!?! Who knew. But it is Michael Pena as Daniel, who you might have been referring to as Puerto Rican, not a gang-banger, locksmith Dad, who remains the most memorable and poignant.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

4 Days til Oscar

The Oscars are a mere 4 days away. Today I shall post a tribute to my favorite ladies of the year! (who should also be your favorite) Granted, I have not seen The Junebug. I have a hunch she would place. And I am not including the little girl from Crash, even if she made me bubble over with warm, fuzzy feelings. I dont know if I just haven't seen enough good movies, but I was struggling to come up with 5. So be it. Anne Hathaway, from Brokeback just missed the cut. She was fun. The Pot and I enjoyed her smirk when Jake finally stood up to her jerk of a dad. And her scene on the phone with Heath was the best scene of the movie, in my humble opinion.

In descending order at #5, we have Tilda Swinton in Narnia. Granted, I took a lot of flack from the Pot for seeing this, as he claimed he wanted to, even though I don't believe it. The movie actually sucked, and included the ugliest, most annoying children ever. But Tilda was amazing as the Ice Queen and looked pretty good, too. She was slick and vicious and calculating and fierce and hott. All the best components of a villainess.

#4 Scarlett Johansonn in Match Point. OK, I might have even wanted to cheat on a wife with her. Kudos for actually playing a character largely unlikable (that is real bravery in Hollywood, Heath and Jake). She was utterly mesmerizing in a surprisingly non-Woody Allen drama.

#3 Keira Knightley, Pride and Prejudice. Ok, I am a total sucker for the literary period piece. So, this one had my name written all over it. Headstrong, but not annoying, she shatters her image of magazine cover girl, and proves she has a brain, or can at least pretend to have one, along with a razor sharp wit. The scene where she and Mr. Darcy become the only two in the room, dancing and talking is astonishing.

#2 Thandie Newton, Crash. Maybe anyone hanging upside down in a car about to explode and fighting for the one man she utterly despises to save her life is just fodder for a jaw dropping scene. But it is not only this scene and the fight scene with Terence Howard in the bedroom. Later she swallows her pride and apologizes and quietly asks her husband to come home. Thandie has finally shaken that whole Beloved debacle.

#1 Far be it from me to jump on the award starlet bandwagon. I don't think I have been this behind the frontrunner since Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry. Well, I guess Charlize in Monster, but Reese is perfection in Walk the Line. She has sass, admittedly, and finally seems to have become a mature actress, rather than schlumping in generic romantic comedies. If she ever puts out on album, I would be the first to buy it. If Walk the Line continued for another hour, I don't think I would have minded at all. If I ever go on tour, I want Reese beside me. Congratulations, Tracy Flick

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