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May 2002 Archives

May 31, 2002

Re the NYT photo spread

Re the NYT photo spread referenced below: that is the gayest thing I have ever seen in my life. Since when does the NYT involve itself in cheesecake (beefcake?) sex appeal? Especially in this post-9/11 world.

I mean, would they have such a photo spread for great American writers?

As a man and soccer fan (when it's trendy), I am offended.

I can only pray this

I can only pray this is a joke. The New York Times has an outrageously homoerotic and campy fashion spread with some of the US World Cup team as models. (free login req'd, but it's really worth it.) Just scroll through it. I have no words. Please ADM, is this a joke?! [via Becky]

OK so there is a

OK so there is a mitigating factor in the 24 absurd amnesia plotline, that is revealed in Television Without Pity's interview with Leslie Hope, who played Teri Bauer. Turns out Stephen Hopkins, the show's director and exec-producer, had amnesia himself once (bottom of the page.) But poor Leslie Hope. This interview makes it sound like she was one of the least experienced actors on the show, the one with the tiniest previous career, and now she's out of a job.

You may have heard that

You may have heard that Woody Allen is suing his former Sweetland Films partner and long-time dinner companion, Jean Doumanian. The trial started yesterday.

Just to piggy-back on Amy's

Just to piggy-back on Amy's Sum of All Fears post, here is the NYT's review, which goes out of its way to explain at great length that Ben Affleck is a bad actor, or at least the wrong actor for the part. (free reg req'd)

The end of the Cold

The end of the Cold War was the worst thing that could ever have happened for Tom Clancy. I mean, come on. Neo-Nazis? How can they EVER be as illogically creepy and ungodly as THE COMMUNISTS?! Roger Ebert does not seem to understand this. Or that Ben Affleck is a bad actor.

I know I just mentioned

I know I just mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, but I am going to re-iterate today my almost over-whelming fear that one of the best and most entertaining shows on TV in recent years -- The Osbournes -- is going to become tiresome dreck by the end of the next season. Why? Blame the kids. There they are on the cover of Interview magazine. There she is planning to sing at the MTV Movie Awards. The show's charm was the family dynamic of the anonymous Osbournes coupled with the cognitive dissonance of Ozzy at home. When all the Osbournes are famous and everywhere, signing book deals, appearing on magazine covers, and singing at nationally-televised events, the show, in my opinion, loses its appeal.

Since this blog is almost solely responsible for the success of the show, it hurts me a lot to make these statements, but I feel an ethical obligation to our readers to do so.

I am interested to know Amy's thoughts on this. I was going to wait until she wrote something about it, but I just couldn't take it anymore.

May 30, 2002

Shouties:I wanna give a big


  • I wanna give a big shout-out to AlphaTest.com, makers of excellent fine-pitch spring-loaded test probes. Seems that through some internet mayhem, every visitor to their site ended up here yesterday.
  • Shoutie also to the person who found our site by searching Google for "tobey maguire's sweet sweet ass." (amy discovered this)
If you have any shouts give me and Buc Wild a call.

Robots are making art, including

robotRobots are making art, including Japanese brush paintings. This NYT article (via tbl; free reg. req'd) explores recent developments in what I like to call "Ars Robotica: Robot Art".

Amy's Divas Las Vegas post

Amy's Divas Las Vegas post leaves me with one question: Was Cher abducted by aliens (scroll down) or by Abercrombie & Fitch's pre-teen department?

Fimoculous already blogged this, but

Fimoculous already blogged this, but it's too cool* not to mirror: Amazon has restaurant menus now.

I'm not sure it makes any sense at all for Amazon to do this (sounds like a job for Google), but I'm glad they did it.

*first time on this blog I've used "cool" to describe something.

VH1's new show Divas Las

VH1's new show Divas Las Vegas: probably a crime against humanity. I have selected some particularly grotesque photos just for you: Ellen DeGeneres performing "Shoop" without a trace of irony, Celine Dion looking like a ghoulish skeleton with her scary little rat eyes burning out of her skull, Cher as own frightening self, and Cher as Elvis.

Thanks (I guess?) to Whiskas for putting me onto this.

So, the X-Men have hired

So, the X-Men have hired Alan Cumming to play Nightcrawler in the sequel. I thought they'd pick someone younger and more spritely. Nightcrawler is cool, but he gave me the creeps when I was younger.

I know you've all been

I know you've all been waiting for the Television Without Pity recap of the season finale of 24. So there you go. Read it if you have a minute, but here is a highlight in case your computer screen is visible from your boss's desk:

"Nina hangs up, then kalls Kiefer to tell him that Spawn is dead and that the Coast Guard found her body. Kiefer slams down the phone, crouches to the ground, and kries. But it's not just a few manly tears. It's a full-body cry. They go to two commercial breaks in the meantime and he's still crying. He makes sweet agonizing love to the poured concrete wall behind him like he's Martha Graham with a Noguchi sculpture. Can we get a shot of his wedding ring? Thanks."

Also, TWoP points out that when Nina is racing around, killing janitors and deleting files in that secret control room, she using an iBook, not a PC. While sort of undermines the Bad Guys Use PCs, Good Guys Use Macs rule that was set up on this show. Maybe this is to foreshadow that she won't get killed, and will be back next season? Thank Christ, it's the only thing that could save this show next year.

Salon's got a piece on

Salon's got a piece on Tom Waits, who just released two albums on the same day.

Meant to blog this yesterday:

Meant to blog this yesterday: Millie Benson, a newspaper columnist and author of the first 23 Nancy Drew books, died the other day. (via medianews)

May 29, 2002

Meta-post. Ok, I want to

Meta-post. Ok, I want to be as clear about this as I can be: do not host your website with hispeed.net. They screwed everything up last week, and then they screwed everything up again in exactly the same way today. So, faithful readers of Amy's Robot, from this day forward, this blog will be hosted right here at adm.com.

Until it changes.

Sounds like Sharon Stone has

Sounds like Sharon Stone has been vamping it up at Cannes in an effort to find work. It's a little sad, but since she's only been a good actress in one and a half movies in her whole career, I guess we can't really feel too sad. Remember that time her rich husband Phil got his toe bit off at the zoo?

Salon has a review of

Salon has a review of the new Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette, which was written not by Amy Vanderbilt, who is dead, but by two women named Nancy. Apprently, the book doesn't lay down the law very sternly, and so therefore doesn't do anybody any good.

Fame Audit: Alan Arkin. More

Fame Audit: Alan Arkin. More wicked funny stuff from Fametracker, with a big shout-out to Eminem's appearance on the majestic Dr. Dre 2001 album. My favorite Alan Arkin movie is The In-Laws, with Peter Falk. Holy Mother of God that is one funny movie.

Looks like Ben Affleck got

Looks like Ben Affleck got a little carried away while serving as a guest commentator on a Red Sox broadcast the other day. He took some verbal swipes at some players -- calling one player's recent career "a mockery" -- but they swiped back: "A mockery? A mockery is his last four movies. That's a mockery," retorted one player.

Since I brought it up, let me just say what I think about Ben Affleck: He's not a good actor, and he makes a lot of bad decisions. Good thing (for him) this Jack Ryan gig landed in his lap. That'll keep him employed for years.

Good old E! seems to

Good old E! seems to understand the appeal of The Osbournes, maybe even better than MTV does. While MTV is scrambling to throw together reality-sitcoms based on Puffy, Brandy, and Kid Rock, E! is launching their (I am sure) totally irony-free reality show about Anna Nicole Smith this summer. She won't be as funny as Ozzy, but the horrific spectacle of it all should be off the charts.

May 28, 2002

So Eminem's new album. Which

So Eminem's new album. Which the NYT in the article Alan links here says has "unfortunately, addictively bouncing beats". (Does the NYT want to hate Eminem?) I saw Moby the other day on The Daily Show, and Jon Stewart asked him to comment on the well-documented diss in Eminem's new single. Moby has stated that he doesn't mind the insults related to his music, but told Jon Stewart that when Eminem claimed he was "too old", it hurt. Moby is seven years older than Eminem. Who is himself, I point out, two years older than I am.

Moby also added that while Eminem says "Let it go it's over, nobody listens to techno" in "Without Me", Moby actually "hasn't made a techno album in nine years." I am glad that Moby isn't trying to pass off his latest "music" consisting of treacly beats and large sections of other people's songs as techno, but his smugness and anal genre-nit-pickiness only redoubled my hatred for him.

CORRECTION: m@ pointed out that the (sort of awkward) NYT sentence I refer to actually reads: "The cartoonish excess of previous albums (as well as, unfortunately, the addictively bouncing beats) have been largely bypassed and replaced with real life." So the NYT likes Eminem and his beats, doesn't like the more boring content of the new album. hummph.

Some more NYT stuff:Review of

Some more NYT stuff:

(free reg. req'd)

Let's take a second to

Let's take a second to talk about Insomnia. Now, all sorts of people are saying it's quite good and so on, but I have to tell you that on a scale of 1 to 10, I am giving it a 6. Here's why:

  • The screenplay. Some sublety but, ultimately, we've seen it all before. Robin William's character's motivation, IMO, is never fully explained. Is it self-preservation? Well, nothing else about him really seems to show anything other than self-destruction. What about Pacino? When he makes the big mistake, why doesn't he just say, "I made a big mistake." People get away with much worse. I guess he wasn't thinking clearly after missing two nights of sleep?
  • The acting. Robin Williams was (like Madonna) flat as a flounder, and Pacino didn't break drastically enough from his usual style...I think director Chris Nolan may have been too intimidated to coax Pacino out of his shell. Pacino does this thing, pointed out to me by my friend S., in which he never looks at the person he is talking to. How annoying! I was thinking about it yesterday, and determined that he does it as a way of directing the audience's attention so that it is always on him, instead of making the scene about him and the character he is interacting with. Very selfish, Al. Very selfish. Hilary Swank came off us a puppy without much depth. It's funny to me that in a movie starring Robin Williams, Al Pacino, and Hilary Swank, the performance I liked most was that of the murder victim's teenage boyfriend. Sort of reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix in To Die For, but with a more foreceful personality.
I did, however, like the cinematography a lot. It captured the cold and thin atmosphere up there far better than the script, I think...so much so, that the warmth of most of the characters seemed out of place. Except for some aerial shots, all the location shooting was done in British Columbia, not northern Alaska, and you can pretty much tell. I think the movie would have gained something if the studio and Nolan had swallowed the tough medicine of shooting the film where it was set, instead of in the same town where they shot the X-Files for 5 years.

There were some strong moments in the film -- for example, half of the scene in which Pacino confronts Williams on the ferry, but all in all, the movie was (with rare exceptions) so conventional, I can't recommend it.

Amy and I saw it together, and maybe she will write more about it if she liked it more than I did.

Ass: The New Tits. (©

Ass: The New Tits. (© ADM) Some very important news on Salon today about the rise of exposed butts in fashion. Since everybody has pretty much already seen everybody else's nipples (flaming or not), and ADM tells me that Abercrombie & Fitch are marketing thongs for 8 year olds, we've apparently moved on to The Ass as the erogenous zone du jour. Highlight: the article claims that Kylie Minogue got ass implants.

May 26, 2002

Have said it once, will

Have said it once, will say it again: God bless the New York Times. Amazing piece of reporting on Sunday that gives a minute-by-minute account of what was happening inside the WTC from just before the attack to the collapse. The Times examined hundreds of emails and voice messages to reconstruct the account.

May 24, 2002

Is this blog working again?

Is this blog working again? Maybe.

In what might be the

In what might be the most ingenious piece of litigation I have ever heard of, some lawyers are thinking of running a class action suit against fast food companies for making us fat. While this totally offends my moral sensibilities in every way, and is essentially trying to present consumers as blameless victims in deciding what and how much they eat, I am thinking that maybe I should start eating at McDonald's. And saving my receipts.

A couple of weeks ago

A couple of weeks ago Fametracker did a "When Stars Split" report on Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, judging that Hugh has come out on top. The report is great and totally convincing--the last line reads "It's strange to think that one of these people got caught having sex with a hooker in a car, and that's the one whose career is going well."

I went to see About A Boy last night, and can tell you that this is the best role Hugh Grant has ever done. It's seriously like Nick Hornby could have been writing the role for him. Not the old sputtering foppish Hugh Grant who was totally unbelievable and lame, but this new Hugh Grant who is a little bit of a sneering self-centered cad, but is way more likeable and (I never thought I would say this after my 10th grade crush on him) attractive. My viewing companion thought that Marcus, the kid, wasn't quite enough of a weirdo, but the movie is at least three times better than I thought it would be. Ebert's review is really good.

Unfaithful, on the other hand, is the worst movie I have ever snuck in to see the last half-hour of in my life. Hey honey, our marriage is falling apart, but I know just what will bring us back into conjugal intimacy and trust! Infidelity, lying, murder, and police cover-ups! The good old NYC audience wasn't taking any of this crap, and openly laughed and made fun of it. Because that's the kind of community spirit this city has.

Salon has another piece about

Salon has another piece about Nina on 24, by the same guy who wrote that love letter to her a few months ago.

He describes that surveillance shot of Nina as "one of the most piercing moments in American film." That's quite a statement from a guy who, along with Bogdanovich and Ebert(?), is among the great commentators of popular film.

This blog was down yesterday

This blog was down yesterday because of some web-hosting issues, and we are still having problems today. Sorry about that.

Do not host your site with hispeed.net.

May 23, 2002

24. At the end of

24. At the end of Tuesday's episode, the season finale, I caught myself saying to Amy, "Well, this has given me hope for next year..." WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? How can I rationalize giving this show another chance? Just because it was nice to me on our last date, after I threatened to leave it? I have to be strong. I have to get through this.

Let me tell you what I liked: I liked Kiefer coming in with both guns blazing. That's what I had been yearning for for weeks. I just wished they had shown him really mowing people down, like in that episode when he rescued his wife and daughter from the terrorist camp. I liked Nina shooting everyone as if she was helping Alan Rickman invade the Nakatomi building. I liked Senator Palmer telling his wife where to stick it. It was the first actual moment of courage that character has shown all season. I liked the way the show set-up for next year, even if I'm not going to watch it. And, of course, I really liked Bride of Kiefer dying, because (let's face it) somebody had to, and this show is the first show in a long time to have the balls to do something like that (i.e., kill someone because it made sense in the story, instead of just because the actor was asking for too much money to come back next season. Other recent shows, I guess, that have done this is when The Sopranos killed Pussy, and maybe when the X-Files killed Deep Throat at the end of season 1.)

So, Bride of Kiefer is dead, but Kim, the daughter, lives on to track down her teenaged-kidnapper boyfriend next year. You can be sure that Rick will re-emerge, maybe chewing the fat with Kiefer about the good ole days when Rick accidentally ensared Kiefer's family in the circumstances which ultimately led to Mrs Kiefer's death. Yep, Rick Ol' Boy, welcome to the family. Pass the pepper.

One thing I thought was not good in the episode: Kiefer's extended sob-fest when Nina told him Kim was dead. Such spectacles do not resonate with the audience (or at least not with this audience) when the audience already knows that the cried-for character is not actually dead. It is exactly like that extended sequence in Die Hard (wow, two DH references in one post) in which Bruce Willis tells Al the Black Cop to tell his wife how much he loved her and how hard he tried, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Listen, Bruce, we KNOW you are not going to die. THIS IS A MOVIE. See what I mean? It lacks the emotional wallop that it would have had if we saw Kiefer reacting to something that actually happened. Oh, well. I guess the writers/director just wanted us to see Kiefer crying so it would motivate our sympathy for him when he shot a surrendered Frank Booth-ovic in the face 18 times two minutes later. However, I still feel the crying was not necessary because I am a red-blooded American, and I don't need to know you are sad over the supposed death of your overly-whiny daughter to justify your firing round after round into a heartless son-of-a-bitch-ovic like Frank. Get it? Shoot him in the back for all I care. Just terminate him with extreme prejudice and get it over with.

Interesting that this situation was mirrored in the new Star Wars, in which young Vader is motivated to the slaughter of not-so-innocents by the death of (spoiler here) his mother. And the scene in which young Vader transmutes his despair into rage almost exactly matches the scene in which Kiefer does the same in 24. However, since Kiefer Sutherland can actually act, and since Hayden Christensen apparently can't (more on this later), one can reach only one conclusion: Kiefer should have been tapped to play young Vader. (And it follows that Lou Diamond Phillips should be young Obi Wan.)

So where does this leave us for next year? I guess Kiefer will be back trying to get to the bottom of the apparently-German terrorists who motivated Nina's triple-agent-hood, and we can expect a lot of X-Files-like labyrythine plots that penultimately go nowhere and ultimately -- surprise! -- lead to the next season.

And so it goes. Will it entertain? Maybe, but only if you can detach yourself from any expectation that the story arc is going to be consistent, well thought-out, or anything other than superficial. Maybe -- just maybe -- the writers will take some time to actually tell their actors where their characters are going. As I've said before, that was the biggest flaw of this season. The way they handle this issue will, in my opinion, determine the quality of the show.

Alright people, just suck it

Alright people, just suck it up and go see Star Wars. I don't want to hear your bitching about "bad dialogue" or "watered down Judeo-Christian-Zen mythology" or "Jimmy Smits." The only thing I have to say to you is this. One word. YODA.

OK, a few more words. It was great and exciting and had some fantastic action scenes, but how much more of a creepy, leering skeeze could Hayden Christensen have been? That kid also looks in perpetual need of a Wet Nap for his greasy face. Whatever, Natalie dug it, I guess. One of my viewing companions said that his performance was so hammy and weak that at times he found himself wishing for Mark Hamill. Ow.

But Ewan McGregor saves the day. Seems he's the only person in this batch of Star Wars movies that has actually tried to create a real, complex character and, you know, ACT. I hope Ewan keeps some time in his busy schedule to prepare for that Kurt Cobain biopic movie that I am confidant he will one day star in. Fun fact! According to this completely non-kidding website about uncircumcised famous people, Ewan is uncut. Considering he has appeared naked in at least three movies, I guess we all knew that already.

May 22, 2002

Well, Fox has given us

Well, Fox has given us our lives back by temporarily releasing us from the cycle of cruelty, betrayal, psychic belt-whipping, and the subsequent honeymoon makeup phase that is 24. Until next season, when it all starts again.

This season finale episode was exactly the kind of emotional crack I need to ensure that I'd be right back with them when next season starts. It was fantastic. Kiefer pulling out the double-fisted guns, pointing them straight at Dennis Hopper's Evil Balkan heart, considering letting him go for a moment, and then pumping 300 bullets into him as he fell into the harbor... ah, it was beautiful. The surprise tragic ending (I WAS SHOCKED) really pulled the rug out from under the viewing audience. We're such fools. We eat it up.

Can't wait to see Blood Thirsty Kiefer out for revenge next season.

Sony is finally selling their

Sony is finally selling their robot dogs for a relatively reasonable price, and bundling it with cool software.

Well, we finally got the

Well, we finally got the archives working the way they are supposed to. So, I encourage you to check them out.

Another in a recent spate

Another in a recent spate of articles celebrating the return of the station wagon, which I think is the best of all worlds.

Kenneth Turan has an interview

Kenneth Turan has an interview with Alexander Payne (who directed Election). Payne has a new movie out, starring Jack Nicholson.

May 21, 2002

Finally, somebody is doing some

Finally, somebody is doing some decent deodorant research. Remember that time a few weeks ago when I didn't smell too good? Apparently, I just needed some diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid.

Maybe you're familiar with David

Maybe you're familiar with David Blaine, the New York street magician who has had specials on ABC a few times. (Remember, he buried himself under a sidewalk for a while? Then he climbed inside the giant ice cube?) Well, his latest stunt is standing on a pole for 35 hours, beginning today. The NYT magazine had a very good, very long profile of him on Sunday, and Salon's Cintra Wilson has a piece comparing him to Jackass's Johnny Knoxville.

The New York Sun has

The New York Sun has published animal stories ON THE FRONT PAGE in 16 of its 25 issues. Wow does that paper suck. 50 cents, 18 pages, at least 1 animal story, and plenty of wire service stories. One of their editors has already left. Quick, re-arrange the deck chairs! You're sinking! (via medianews)


So The X-FILES FINALE. This is a huge event, folks. Huge. Blee dee bleeee. And what will Marc Snow do now that he can no longer compose the Synthesizer of Psychokinetic Alien-Human Hybrid Babies theme?

Given the unquantifiable number of arcs that have been introduced and totally abandoned over the course of this show, there is no way they could all be wrapped up in one last episode. So, Chris Carter just decided to remake the Last Seinfeld Episode instead. Really, the courtroom drama structure is a really good way of rehashing the Story So Far, bringing back lots of old characters, and inadvertantly making the whole Chris Carter Star Wars/Bible/Aliens conspiracy story sound sort of stupid when it's all recapped in the space of 10 minutes. Oh well. Krycek! Wooo!

One line of Mulder's that I predicted that DIDN'T get said (unlike his entire "You're hiding the truth" speech while being dragged screaming out of the courtroom) was "Hey, Scully's gotten weirdly puffy and fat! Agent Reyes, will you be my new girlfriend? Ooo, and Doggett doesn't look half bad in jeans."

Added bonus: the touching Chris Carter New Agey last scene did not involve the word "starlight." And Agent Doggett and A.D. Skinner tongue-kiss.

OK, I know that I

OK, I know that I just watched the X-Files Big Finale last night and am teeming with conspiracy theories, but isn't it a little suspect that as soon as it becomes public that our government had some pretty clear warnings of imminent terrorist attacks before September 11, they immediately start reporting new threats of further attacks? Sounds like a diversionary tactic to me. Keep the public afraid, and they will put their trembling faith in their government. I want to believe.

May 20, 2002

Sorry you had to hear

Sorry you had to hear it from me: It looks like "The Job", the best network show in a while, has been cancelled. It's not on ABC's fall schedule. One thing is for sure: Amy is going to miss it.

Israeli geneticists have concocted a

Israeli geneticists have concocted a feather-less chicken that looks like a chicken from another planet. It makes me kind of sad and nauseated to look at this picture.

Paul Thomas Anderson, director of

Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Magnolia and Boogie Nights, has a new movie at Cannes. It stars Adam Sandler. I hope it's ok.

Note to Hype Williams: Just

Note to Hype Williams: Just because all your videos look the same, it doesn't mean you are talented. Give me a break.

Unbelievable. Yet another television critic

Unbelievable. Yet another television critic has exactly the same pathology about 24 that Amy & I do: the "24-is-my-manipulative-boyfriend" pathology I described earlier. In this review, the LA Times tv critic complains and complains, and then says, of course he'll be back next year. (Spoilers, if you haven't seen earlier eps.)

First the Osbournes, now Pamela

First the Osbournes, now Pamela Anderson/Kid Rock? Hmmm---I think this whole thing is mis-guided. It is only interesting to me when the filming takes place in a vacuum. Pamela and Kid ("Bob") are the most likely people in the world to alter their behavior because of an awareness of who's watching. Besides, they're both idiots.

Several other interesting items on the linked-to page.

Princeton University's alternative newspaper, The

Princeton University's alternative newspaper, The Nassau Weekly, published a top 10 list of the school's most beautiful women. Surprise! -- Controversy ensued. The actual top ten list, with photos, is available as a PDF file here. (sort of via medianews)

Kids are fat. Some high

Kids are fat. Some high schools are eliminating soda, chips, and other junk food from the school premises. (free reg req'd)

Can dead men sell hamburgers?

Can dead men sell hamburgers? Maybe. NYT article about Wendy's marketing, now that Dave is dead. Worst case scenario: re-invent him as a cartoon character, like KFC. (free reg req'd)

May 18, 2002

NYT article about the incredible

NYT article about the incredible real estate prices in Manhattan. Average purchase price of an apartment in Tribeca: $1,638,811. The average price in northern Manhattan has gone from $43,000 in 1996 to $140,475 last year. (via Babak) (free reg req'd)

May 17, 2002

Even though it's the top

Even though it's the top news story of the day, it's worth blogging the fact that the 1999 report that forecasted flying an airliner into prominent buildings is online. Initially, I thought it had been online for a long time, possibly since 1999, but I guess not. Search for the word "spectacular" on the page, and read that paragraph.

The Fametracker team, who are

The Fametracker team, who are slavishly devoted to augmenting your knowledge of celebrities and the media, have compiled this list of Aunt May quotes from "Spider-Man" that hit the editing room floor once they came up with the "you're not Superman!" one. Not every one of them is funny, but hey, I'm not doing any more work today, are you?

New-ish urban legend/hoax: Dear Abby/other

New-ish urban legend/hoax: Dear Abby/other columnists receive letters asking, "My daughter wants to attend a nude slumber party. What do I do?" Some of the columnists have replied to the hoaxical letters in print. (via medianews.org)

This weekend The X-Files ends.

This weekend The X-Files ends. I have really mixed feelings about this. So, apparently, does Salon. This article is all about how important this show was for lots of people, highlights a lot of outstanding moments and great actors who were featured in some of the best episodes (Michael McKean [where Mulder switches bodies with him], Luke Wilson [he-said, she-said version of the same case from Mulder and Scully--really funny], and Giovanni Ribisi [lightning boy]). But like me, the guy who wrote the article hasn't really watched it at all in the last two years. He provides a very funny recap of everything that's gone on in the past two seasons, so you can get caught up for the big finale.

Apparently there were a few flashes of brilliance this season, which I missed. The episode where The Lone Gunmen were killed off was called "Jump The Shark", indicating that Chris Carter at least has some sympathy for his beleaguered fans. By the way, on the X-Files Jump The Shark page, the deaths of Alex Krycek (wooo!) and The Lone Gunmen are very high on the list.

And remember even as recently as last season, when Scully's hair looked fabulous, like this? Instead of that blown-out, lank crap look she has now in the Salon photo?

May 16, 2002

Parking is serious business. Yep,

Parking is serious business. Yep, really serious business.

Ok, ok, one more.24. During

Ok, ok, one more.

24. During a conversation with Amy by the water cooler just now, I realized the following thing: 24 is like our emotionally-manipulative, slightly abusive boyfriend who we just keep coming back to.

No matter how cruel he is, and how manipulative, we keep thinking, "Oh, things are going to get better", mostly because when 24 first came into our lives, he was a brilliant flash of light who swept us off our feet and whispered sweet nothings into our ear for one hour every Tuesday night. Then things started going sour -- slowly at first, so we wouldn't notice. And when things really went bad (i.e., when the relationship, the show, and Kim Bauer all went off a cliff), we were so worn down, we couldn't break away. Besides, where would we go? Who would be there for us every Tuesday night? If not 24, then who? No one. No one is there for us like 24. Like Amy said, we complain to our friends about him every time we see him, but then (as I said) we're like, "No, you don't understand...He's actually really good...He's not like this all the time." Next year, things will be different. We know he's going to change.

Ok, here's my last post

Ok, here's my last post for the day, I think: a bunch of people dressed like their favorite anime characters. I have no idea how old these pics are, but they are still funny. Something about them reminds me of amateur porn.

I'm not sure if this

I'm not sure if this properly belongs on this blog, but have I mentioned this new project I'm working on?

I type unusual phrases from my dreams into Google and see if they match any pre-existing phraseology or consciousness. So far, I've come up empty:

PS: if you were that oldish guy with white hair, glasses, and a salt-and-pepper beard who was in my dream last night (the one at the mall), please let me know.

Whoa ADM, somebody hold him

Whoa ADM, somebody hold him back!

Major shout-out from The Onion in honor of every person I know who is enamored of continuous and arbitrary bitching.

Essay about the typography in

Essay about the typography in the new New York Sun, that crappy paper that debuted in NYC a few weeks ago.

Muslim's praying at BJ's Wholesale

Muslim's praying at BJ's Wholesale Club sparks store evacuation in Massachusetts. Full disclosure: I am a member of BJ's Wholesale Club.

In other cases of "Over-reaction in New England", an 8th-grade girl was suspended and further punished for hurling a potato chip at another student in New Hampshire. Full disclosure: I like potato chips. But not as much as I used to.

The Salon Personals "Catch of

The Salon Personals "Catch of the Day" features a GIRL WHO IS TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE. This is the picture this girl decides to post of herself while looking for her mate. Un-F'ing-Believable.

You know, The Onion and Salon feature the same "personals" database. But, The Onion has this list of "Top Murder Weapons by Income".

Speaking of fall line-ups, here's

Speaking of fall line-ups, here's the next round of Celebrity Boxing. Hint: it got shuffled after John Bobbitt got arrested for beating his wife (again).

Alright, I know that Salon's

Alright, I know that Salon's movie reviewers don't like anything. But they hated "Attack of the Clones". They think it's worse than "Phantom Menace". They think watching Buffy is a better use of your time. The whole review is really biting and funny, (and it's not even by Cintra Wilson), but here is an excerpt: "truncated sequences that don't string together into a coherent story, dialogue that may as well have been cobbled together out of pieces of wood instead of words, love scenes shot to look like douche commercials."

But if I don't go see it, that makes me a Communist. Drat.

May 15, 2002

24. Only one show left.

24. Only one show left. Hallelujah.

So about this second mole, "Yelena". Pretty exciting and surprising, generally good television, but why did Ira Gaines order Kiefer to shoot Nina way back in Episode 7 if she was a Secret Serbian? I guess the show is back to just going with blatant inconsistencies, but keeping the pace fast enough so you just accept it unquestioningly.

New meta-statements mirroring viewers' reactions to this show: Duct tape over Kim Bauer's mouth preventing her from speaking for most of two episodes now; Jack sighing with grim pleasure "It's almost over!"; Senator Palmer saying his confusingly manipulative wife [and entire family/campaign/story arc] is "sick."

Kim Bauer: "Bring it on!"
Senator Palmer: "Don't go there!"
Can we get a Nina: "Talk to the hand!" ??

Everybody's riled up about Quorn,

Everybody's riled up about Quorn, a meat-subsitute that is supposedly "a member of the mushroom family" but is really more like mold. (NYT, free reg. req'd.) (via Babak, mostly)

Ok, completing the troika of

Ok, completing the troika of fall line-up announcements, here's CBS's line-up, which actually looks interesting. Bonus: quick item about Fox's line-up. 24 has been renewed. (Also, ABC is giving Nightline an extra 30 minutes.)

May 14, 2002

Quick...Who's the creepiest actor of

Quick...Who's the creepiest actor of the last 25 years? I think I know...and so does Cintra Wilson, Amy's new writerly doppelganger. I loved watching him sweat creepily in Body Heat, and the story Jason Schwartzmann told about him on Conan(?) a few months ago was funny ("I thought he was going to hug me, so I hugged him. But, he was just stretching"). Does anyone have any alternate suggestions?

Hey Amy, yeah well not

Hey Amy, yeah well not only that you can get an original Playstation for FORTY-NINE DOLLARS. Syphon Filter!!

Hey are you done blogging so we can go home now?

ADM, Whiskas also mentions that

ADM, Whiskas also mentions that Playstation 2 has been reduced to $199. GTA 3!!!

The triumphant resurgence of Amy's

The triumphant resurgence of Amy's Robot is upon us.

Nicole Kidman and Tobey Maguire: public canoodling, even though she is eight years older and 14 inches taller. Tobey is so high-fiving Russell Crowe right now. Thanks Whiskas for the filthy confirmation of suspicions.

I guess I'm going to

I guess I'm going to be the first to say it. Maybe.

I am worried that The Osbournes is not going to be funny next year, except for Ozzy. Reason Number One: The kids are now celebrities, and since they aren't the most self-effacing teenagers to ever grace the small screen, I expect that their attitudes will only become more out-sized and make them even more contemptuous. Reason Number Two: Relatedly, when they taped season 1, they basically did it in a vacuum. Now there is hyper-awareness of the show as a cultural phenomenon, and the kids (and to a lesser extent Sharon) will be far more concerned with how they come off on TV. Reason Number Three: Reality television that costs $200,000 is by nature funnier than reality television that costs $20,000,000.

Mitigating factors:

  1. Maybe the show's decidedly brilliant editors/producers will save it anyway, by somehow dealing with bratty kid footage in a way that avoids staleness.
  2. Oh, I guess there's just that one.

Is Gwyneth Paltrow insane, or

Is Gwyneth Paltrow insane, or just needy and mis-guided? Nobody wants to answer that question. Look, when I was in college, we used to say, "How many Psi U's are you going to hook up with?" She has hooked up with too many Psi U's.

Here's ABC's fall line-up. Millionaire

Here's ABC's fall line-up. Millionaire is dead.

Maher out, Kimmel in. Finally.

Maher out, Kimmel in. Finally.

May 13, 2002

A & I are busy

A & I are busy at work today, so no time for blogging, really. Here's NBC's announcement of new shows for the fall line-up. Watching Ellie is clinging to life, supposedly, but as a replacement. When the other network's up-fronts are reported, I'll try to blog them here.

May 11, 2002

Some Boston big wigs almost

Some Boston big wigs almost got shot in Copley Square by a stray bullet fired during a police foot-chase. The story features the first person ever interviewed in a newspaper who "knew right away" that the sound of the bullet was a bullet, not something that "sounded just like firecrackers".

It turns out Pavarotti is

It turns out Pavarotti is a fat, drunk, nearly-crippled robot, at least he has been for the last 15 years.

This week's NYT magazine has

This week's NYT magazine has a trendy fashion spread featuring Alanis Morrisette. NYT.com has a companion piece: a Flash music video, featuring semi-animated versions of the mag's photos, as well as a soundtrack w/ a song from AM's new album. Note that (a) you need Flash to view it, and (b) there is a hi-bandwidth version that features better audio.* Just in case you don't feel like looking at the presentation, you can just check out this photo of Alanis as some kind of Navajo space warrior or something.

*Note on technology: wow, the hi-bandwidth version of the song sounds almost completely different from the low-bandwidth version. Like seriously, they are not even recognizable as the same song. Wei-ahd.

The Staten Island Intelligence squad

The Staten Island Intelligence squad (I am not making that up) busted a huge fake cd/video/rolex ring, which stored all its crap in an elaborate tunnel system under a bunch of stores downtown. The report says they confiscated $125 million worth of stuff. Does that mean $125 million worth of bootleg stuff, or $125 million of actual stuff? I don't know where I'm going to get Amy all those presents now. She loved that Stir of Echoes I got her at the Chelsea fleas.

The first version of this story on the wire had lots of details that later versions left out, so if I find a more detailed article, I'll link to it here later.

May 10, 2002

The 2002 USA Memoriad was

The 2002 USA Memoriad was held a couple of weeks ago in NYC. Here is the gripping, official account of these Mental Olympics. Events included "99 Faces and Names", "List of Random Words", and "Memorize This Unpublished Poem". Did returning champ Scott Hagwood fend off his challengers? Read the article to find out. (Thanks, Mav.)

New York City's effort to

New York City's effort to get the entire city to read the same book at once is struggling. Is such a project viable? I feel like it is. I have a little trouble understanding why the committee doesn't appease members/groups who feel ignored by saying "We'll do your book next time." What's so hard about that? I mean, we were able to get the whole city to see the same movie at the same time. (And, we'll do it again next week with Star Wars.)

May 9, 2002

In August, a musical version

In August, a musical version of John Waters' movie Hairspray is going to open on Broadway. Now that Divine is dead, who ever could play Edna Turnblad, Ricki Lake's mother? Why, Harvey Fierstein, of course. Here he is with Danny DeVito in the unfunny Death To Smoochy.

This artist in LA took

This artist in LA took it upon himself to modify a major highway interchange sign. Highway officials didn't notice the change until it got reported in the newspaper months later. Very interesting real-world scenario of "What is art?" There are pictures and a short film he made documenting the project.

This has already been blogged

This has already been blogged on Slashdot, but it's worth repeating here: it's an article about how a researcher in Maryland says computers controlled by speech are not viable because talking to your computer interferes with your short term memory, thus making it harder for you to do your work. He says that visual interfaces, such as the ones we use now (but more cleverly engineered) are likely to remain dominant.

My opinion: speech-controlled computers will help us perform every-day frequent tasks (such as turning lights on and off, setting timers, etc), and may serve as an adjunct to visual interfaces, but will not entirely replace them. I think it would be convenient to be able to select some text conventionally, and then say to your computer "Print" or "Cut" and have it follow your command. Imagine trying to tell your computer (orally) to select a certain amount of non-contiguous text. Then imagine trying to be the software engineer designing that voice interface. Forget about it.

An article in Salon reports

An article in Salon reports that California now has more mixed-race children than Black or Asian children. As one University of California administrator points out, that makes checking the "race" box on government forms absurd or impossible for many people. Richard Rodriguez, one of my favorites essayists, was recently interviewed on the Lehrer News Hour about his book Brown, about growing up not falling into the black-or-white racial categories that America has defined, and how more and more we are becoming a nation of brown people. Anyway, we clearly still have a ways to go in accepting people of mixed races for what they are.

Ok, omigod, 24 is like

Ok, omigod, 24 is like the worst television ever. OH MY GOD. How can a show go from being the best show, basically, on tv to the worst in less than one season? Lack of focus, I guess. And let me tell you what else: the show's writers made a fatal mistake in not plotting the story arc far enough ahead.* It is ultimately responsible for the seemingly arbitrary nature of the plot and subplots, and also for the confusing tone the actors take. If the actors are supposed to reflect their characters' true natures, they need to know what those true natures are. The show has become a colossal failure in the second half of the season because the writers painted themselves into too many corners, and the characters, through no fault of their own, acted themselves into too many corners. Now there is just no where to go but down. Really sad. Thank god there are only 2 episodes left.

*By contrast, David Chase and the rest of the Sopranos team is well-known for their extremely careful plotting of an entire season's story lines, and the show's quality reflects that effort.

May 8, 2002

Remember my previous thoughts about

Remember my previous thoughts about Spider-Man? Amy and I found out last night that Spidey made $8 million in New York City alone. That's SEVEN PERCENT of the movie's entire domestic gross! (By contrast, NYC is about 2% of the population of the USA). Pretty amazing. It's like the entire population of New York City gave 1 dollar to Columbia Pictures.

Oh, and: Here's Letterman's top ten from the other night..."Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having An Affair With Spider-Man". It's the first one that's made me laugh in a while.

Television Without Pity seems to

Television Without Pity seems to also be confused about the mysterious restaurant place where the evil Serbians take Kidnapped Kiefer on 24--Shout-Out!!

Cardinal Law was deposed in

Cardinal Law was deposed in Boston today regarding pedophile priests, specifically John Geoghan. Here's his deposition.

Noam Chomsky thinks that the

Noam Chomsky thinks that the word "Kalamazoo" counts as a joke in itself. Skip to about half way down--some good, short jokes.

Ok, I'm not a gray-haired

Ok, I'm not a gray-haired guy from the sixties, but something about not having your period on purpose seems not natural. Won't it cause long-term complications, like wearing your contacts for too long? I feel like it would. But what do I know.

The kid who delivered all

The kid who delivered all those pipe bombs sent a letter to his school newspaper (The University of Wisconsin Badger-Herald). He also sent them a Unabomber-like essay about nature and death. You can flip through his whole press kit here. All of this is alleged of course.

Winona also has a tiny

Winona also has a tiny freakish little head, and is definitely nuts.

Hey, people are getting killed

Hey, people are getting killed again on 24! Just blown away with almost no provocation or explanation! THANK GOD. Senseless violence is a clear indicator that the writers of a show have totally run out of ideas, but it keeps me from having to drug myself just to sit through this show.

While Kiefer is watching Frank Booth blow people away in Little Bratislava, the alpine bratwursthaus in the middle of L.A., or wherever they've taken him to, Lady Mac-Pimp-mer adds new depth to her character by smoothly whoring out Patty, the hapless, love-lorn, and buck-toothed speechwriter.

And maybe Nina will get to do something besides skulk around the CTU office looking pissed off before the season ends... didn't her character used to be interesting, and get to drive around and get shot at and ride in helicopters?

Oh, and Penny Johnson Jerald (the Lady Mac-Pimp-mer actress) was never in Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

May 7, 2002

And I thought confusing Vermeer

And I thought confusing Vermeer with Rembrandt was bad....here's a list of 70+ mistakes in Spiderman. (Ames, did you file that one about MJ's high heels?)

Winona: 62-y-o Pacino is her

Winona: 62-y-o Pacino is her "irresistable" and "incredibly attractive" insomniac buddy. Sandler is "most noble." Here she is in a "Free Winona" shirt.

I have to tell you something: I don't want to be judgmental, but I think W. is a little nuts. Don't tell her I said that, because I had a late crush on her, but I just can't help but think that, even though she dated Beck. WHY DOES SHE MAKE SO MANY BAD MOVIES?

(ps, re "dated beck" link: Beck dated Gina Gershon??!! What??) (ps2: Beck is a recent Scientology convert??!! What?? Oh wait, no he's not.)

ADM, I am with you

ADM, I am with you on the Will Ferrell post. He is a very good impersonator, but his funniness pretty much ends there. Bob Woodward in Dick was magnificent. James Lipton interviewing Charles Nelson Reilly was one of the funnier things on SNL in recent years ("'Match Game' was fabulous, no, it was brilliant. In fact, it reached such perfection, there is no word to describe it, but I'll make one up: Scrumchelescant.")

Good scripts turned bad. Turns

Good scripts turned bad. Turns out the guy who wrote Life or Something Like It, that stupid new Angelina Jolie movie, and Joe Somebody, that stupid Tim Allen movie, is actually smart...but HOLLYWOOD sucked the goodness out of his script. Interesting, familiar story about how you can write a perfectly good screenplay, and then it is killed by committee. Skip the first 3 paragraphs.

Will Ferrell is leaving Saturday

Will Ferrell is leaving Saturday Night Live to be a movie star. I know I am in the minority here, but I never thought he was that funny anyway. That cheerleader skit overstayed it's welcome longer than Bill Maher (see below). But I guess he did a good W.

Finally. Looks like Bill Maher

Finally. Looks like Bill Maher and his insipid show, Politically Incorrect, are on the way out at ABC. To be replaced by Jimmy Kimmel, host of The Man Show. PI has long been the most pretentious, most meaningless show on television, and Maher's obnoxiousness has over-stayed its welcome since almost the day the show premiered. When was the last time anyone said anything intelligent on that show? I'll tell you when. Never.

American workers have been especially

American workers have been especially productive this year, which certainly comes as no surprise to me. Amy and Alan have obviously been at the forefront of this effort to get our country back on its feet through dedicated, extensive, daily blogging.

Meta-news: Well, we haven't quite

Meta-news: Well, we haven't quite got the archive function totally figured out, but I took a minute to create an unformatted archive page that has every post up to now.

May 6, 2002

Remember when those mobbed-up guys

Remember when those mobbed-up guys pretended they were cops and robbed the Gardner Museum in Boston? Someone's making a documentary about it. One of the Rembrandts they took is so valuable, it is literally priceless. (NYT, free reg req'd)

Update: Here's the FBI's page about the heist. It says the paintings are worth up to $300 million. Amy notified me it is a Vermeer, not a Rembrandt, that is priceless.

Tragic political news that probably

Tragic political news that probably makes no sense to all us Americans: an openly gay conservative Dutch political candidate who has a pro-personal liberties, anti-immigrant platform has just been assassinated.

All right, here's the article

All right, here's the article you've been waiting for recounting Ozzy's presence at the White House Correspondent's Dinner.

Spiderman, as ADM recaps, was

Spiderman, as ADM recaps, was just about everything I could have hoped it could be. If anyone besides Willem Dafoe had played the Green Goblin, the hammy dialogue and talking to the mirror scenes would have been absurd. As it was, they were creepy and just a touch campy, and there were some really profound moments too. BUT: the scenes of Tobey Maguire displaying his new lean, muscular body were woefully inadequate. One scene? I was a little bit outraged.

Peculiar armed-robbery of comic books

Peculiar armed-robbery of comic books on the Upper East Side. The culprit was described as remorseful and exceedingly polite, except for, I guess, his rifle-brandishing.

More crime news: Funny police log from the Arcata (CA) Eye (via medianews.org).

Some outstanding celebrity gossip on

Some outstanding celebrity gossip on Salon today: Tobey Maguire being sewn into his leotard (oo!), Devo's deviant brainwashing tactics, and, best of all, the Osbournes are now friends with Kelly Ripa. This is like the Amy's Robot supergroup.

May 4, 2002

Spider-Man.Having waited my entire life


Having waited my entire life for this movie, it would have been easy for me to be disappointed. I wasn't.

Quick thoughts:

  • What I liked most about it was that it captured Peter Parker's sort of glee and continual surprise with his new-found abilities in a way that the comic book never quite did.
  • It's Willem Dafoe's campiest performance, I think, but there is something really brilliant about it. Occasionally, you get the sense that he can't believe the lines they're making him say, but then he seems to dive right into them with even more vigor.
  • The fact that Dafoe played Jesus a few years back makes it more fun to see parallels b/t Jesus and Spider-Man, parallels which Dafoe's character comments on almost explicitly. ("No matter what you do for them, they will turn on you.")
  • The movie's one false moment is when Macy Gray performs at a Times Square concert and is actually shown reacting to the events of the movie. The moment seems even more false when you realize that Macy is a Sony artist, and Spider-Man is a Sony movie. But, we already know Macy, despite airs of artistic integrity, will do anything to increase sales.
Salon's terrific review, by Charles Taylor (who usually hates everything), says everything else that I have to say about it, so I'll leave it at that.

May 3, 2002

Ten years ago, this guy

Ten years ago, this guy made his own Spider-Man movie for $400, as a way of getting James Cameron's attention, so he'd get a part in the then-rumored Spidey movie. No dice, but it sounds like a great movie, anyway: apparently, there is a scene in which he swings on a rope four stories up, net-less. Here's a picture of the guy with his Spidey suit, and here's some screen shots from the movie. (orig. story via slashdot.)

A consumer products panel recommends

A consumer products panel recommends that parents stop viciously mauling their innocent sleeping babies to death, and safeguard against roving street gangs of violent quilts, pillows, and comforters.

May 2, 2002

Followed an ad on Yahoo

Followed an ad on Yahoo (for the first time ever in my life) and came across these interesting Timex watches. One of them has an alphanumeric pager. The other has a GPS attachment. If you have Shockwave, you can push the buttons on a virtual model of the pager watch.

Wait a second. What??!! She's

Wait a second. What??!! She's still alive??

Shakira: "Did you say sweat

Shakira: "Did you say sweat shop? I thought you said sweater shop..."
Britney: "Did you say sweet? I thought you said sweat..."

Sharon Osbourne is one of

Sharon Osbourne is one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People. She also had a band surgically wrapped around her stomach to help her lose 95 pounds a few years ago. [Thanks Whiskas.]

Britney got caught smokin'. Obligatory:

Britney got caught smokin'. Obligatory: Oops!

Who better on the entire

Who better on the entire planet to play the spicy and flamboyant dance-instructor stud who seduces the sweet Jewish girl on vacation with her family in Dirty Dancing II? Of course!! Ricky Martin and Natalie Portman.

May 1, 2002

Ninth most popular story in

Ninth most popular story in India? Kissing and Hugging barred in public gardens. I guess it doesn't take a lot to me most popular, though. This pic of Kylie Minogue came in 10th, and it only got mailed 4 times. Plus she's Australian.

God bless the New York

God bless the New York Times. They just published a report about adult homes for the mentally ill in New York City. Pretty shocking stuff. I am going to quote at length here:

  • A yearlong reporting effort by The New York Times, drawing upon more than 5,000 pages of annual state inspection reports, 200 interviews with workers, residents and family members, and three dozen visits to the homes show that many of them have devolved into places of misery and neglect, just like the psychiatric institutions before them.
  • The Times's investigation has produced the first full accounting of deaths of adult home residents. At 26 of the largest and most troubled homes in the city, which collectively shelter some 5,000 mentally ill people, The Times documented 946 deaths from 1995 through 2001. Of those, 326 were of people under 60, including 126 in their 20's, 30's and 40's.
A federal inquiry has begun as a result of the Times' reporting. (Tx to Babak who emphasized this story.)

Bjork and Matthew Barney are

Bjork and Matthew Barney are going to have a baby together. Lord have mercy on us. Given the oddness, yet strange similarity, of each of their aesthetics, that is going to be one bizarre and stylish baby. [via Ash-Leigh]

Yesteday, Omaha was the second-most-emailed

Yesteday, Omaha was the second-most-emailed weather report on Yahoo. Today, Louisville is. Go figure. What's number one, two days in a row? Vegas, of course.

Plan your summer with this

Plan your summer with this guide to the movies. Who's going to see Stuart Little 2 with me?

NYC may be hosting the

NYC may be hosting the 2012 Olympics, and the New York Jets, on the West Side, via a new development plan.

About May 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in May 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2002 is the previous archive.

June 2002 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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