According to this op-ed in the Washington Times, Fairfax County, VA is considering arming its citizens with radar guns, so they can help issue speeding tickets.
Related to the links in ADM's post below, I just wanted to make sure everyone is aware of Whitney Houston's recent visit to Israel, a place that she apparently feels some personal connection to. Liz Smith from the Post quotes her as repeatedly claiming "This is MY land!" while there (scroll down). Watch out, Sharon. -amy
NYT on Hummer camp. Go be a man, even if you're a woman.
Says one attendee, neatly summarizing the whole paradox of luxury SUVs: "This is too nice a truck to do this to."
Andrew McCarthy, last seen in
Pretty in Pink Weekend at Bernie's, has been fired from his guest stint on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Producers say he was "fractious", he says my boy Vincent D'Onofrio "threatened him" and tried to direct him. Ok, Andrew: Unlike you, Vincent has been working steadily in decent projects since you were sucking your momma's teat, so maybe you should listen to him.
Never thought this would happen: George Will on 50 years of Playboy. The column is interesting only in that it exists.
Just to finish a thread from the last week, North Pole solo trekker Pen Hadow has been picked up/rescued.
Report from the Amy's Robot Movies Viewed on Airplanes desk: The worst movie we have ever watched on an airplane with no sound is The Emperor's Club (or, as this clever review called it, Goodbye Mr. Holland's Dead Poets Society), even if it did feature our pal, and regular at our neighborhood branch of Zen Palate, Harris Yulin, who got tortured so mercilessly on 24 this season.
A study to be published tomorrow in Nature proves a claim we've all been making to our moms since we were 10: video games are good for you. A researcher at the University of Rochester found that subjects who played Medal of Honor or GTA3 three times per week performed better on tests of visual perception skills than those who didn't. (The complete study is available, if you're a subscriber.)
They caught the soccer-mom bank robber we mentioned last week. She's a 43-year-old riding instructor who fell on hard times.
Coming to London, Lord of the Rings: the musical.
Latest criminal defense by the insane: the Matrix made me do it.
24 has insinuated itself into comic strips. [thanks Mar-Z]
Remember, Homicide: Life on the Street is out on DVD today.
Who's that on the cover of FHM? It looks like -- could it be?? --- it is....it's WILLOW.
Excerpt from Lucky Wander Boy, about old videogames, at Salon. [click through all the ads]
Madonna has bought a house in London for 3.5 million pounds. So what, you say? Well, it's not for her. It's for a new center for the study of Kabbalah! [link fixed]
You know who can study there? Other celebrity followers of Kabbalah: Liz Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Demi Moore and Mick Jagger. Please. I love the idea of all these people hovering over their Torahs trying to make sense of it all.
I think she should have donated the money to a center for studying phony British accents.
NYT has an interesting profile of Henry Grimes, a jazz bassist from the old days who played with everybody, and then disappeared for 30 years. A determined social worker found him living in in a one-room apartment in LA, and now, he's playing in NYC tonight for the first time since 1968.
Atlantic Monthly has an interview with author Alston Chase, who says modernism has lead to a culture of despair and alienation, and violent acts against each other reflect that.
Imagine 90 tedious minutes of a man driving across America in a van. Imagine long shots through a windshield as it collects bug splats. Imagine not one but two scenes in which he stops for gas. Imagine a long shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats where he races his motorcycle until it disappears as a speck in the distance, followed by another shot in which a speck in the distance becomes his motorcycle. Imagine a film so unendurably boring that at one point, when he gets out of his van to change his shirt, there is applause.
Salon on Catwoman, who is, by nature, hot. Includes this great exchange from the tv show:
Great item over on Defense Tech about the administration's hard backtracking on claims of Iraq's WMD capability:
It doesn't matter whether or not Iraq actually had any of the toxins in their possession, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton said today. What counts is that Iraq had the "intellectual capacity" to build these unconventional weapons.
Rick Bragg, a Pulitzer winner for the NYT has been suspended, apparently because of "dateline integrity" issues, but it makes me think they want to look into some other stuff, too.
Some NYT stuff:
Still more on the Vince Gallo fiasco Brown Bunny: NYT critic AO Scott files an audio report from Cannes in this interactive feature. Click on the button for Brown Bunny to hear his analysis. He quotes Roger Ebert as saying it's the worst film ever in the Cannes competition.
And, according to the Guardian, Chloe Sevigny (his co-star and ex-girlfriend) broke down and wept at the premiere. The consolation? The French liked it, and Chloe suggests the BJ was for real.
Hang in there, Vince.
As ADM says, I may be on vacay, but there is one thing about 24 that just can't wait: MIA KIRSHNER. Remember, my sisters and brothers in Kiefer, you heard it here first. Finally, the mind games, the emotional manipulation, the non-lesbian assassin characters, and everything else unpromising from last season is over. Maybe next year the continuity people will even remember that Kiefer had back tattoos during the first season. -amy
I cribbed this from Salon, but here's the NYT delicately explaining the meaning of the word "cameltoe", in the context of an article about Fannypack, Brooklyn's up-and-coming hip-hop girl group with a hit single named after the fashion mistake:
Cameltoe is slang for a fashion faux pas caused by women wearing snug pants; the term suggests a visual analogy. The song is a cautionary tale, intended to help victims -- help them, that is, by ridiculing them -- into recovery.Turns out the song is a product of the guys who ran NYC's underground hip-hop label Indie 5000, which I'm not sure is still active.
According to the NY Post, a beautiful blonde is robbing banks in New York and Connecticut: six heists in two days.
It's probably Brittany Murphy.
Update: Interestingly, the Daily News describes her as looking like "a soccer mom". They have a picture, too.
LA Times has a look at Fog of War, the new Errol Morris documentary about Vietnam-era figure Robert McNamara.
More on the Vincent Gallo movie: it's really a disaster. Vince says this is the worst week of his life, and critics say it's the worst movie ever at Cannes. Says one: Vincent Gallo's monumental folly has already become a defining moment in Cannes history. Awestruck future generations will ask: "Were you there the night they screened The Brown Bunny?"
This almost-scary picture of him says a lot.
I never thought I'd say this, but I feel a little sorry for him.
Maybe somebody can explain this to me. It seems like massivec*cks.com [definitely not safe for work] has somehow spammed/messed with some blogs -- We're getting referrals from there, and it's showing up in Blogdex. Any ideas? I don't have enough evidence to even guess at what's going on, but it's something strange.
Here's a jacket with a taser-effect built-in. Designed by Advanced Research Apparel: "A pair of slits in the outer lining shows the electric arcs that course across the entire middle layer. It's an impressive display of the jacket's power." Wow. I want a jacket that has power. Here's a video of someone getting zapped by the jacket.
Who said this, our prez or monkeys on typewriters? "All up and down the different aspects of our society, we had meaningful discussions. Not only in the Cabinet Room, but prior to this and after this day, our secretaries, respective secretaries, will continue to interact to create the conditions necessary for prosperity to reign."邑ashington, D.C., May 19, 2003
Jon Stewart has angered prickly Catholics by joking about the Pope's hat: "He's a hat choice away from being Grand Wizard of the KKK", joked Stewart. William Donahue, the president of the Catholic league called him "an anti-Catholic bigot." Give me a break. As a Catholic, I'm more offended by Donahue's comments than Stewart's. Here's the story. [scroll down]
VG definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer, and Buffalo 66 was the beneficiary of that. Can you sustain it if you're almost crazy? We'll see.
I guess it'll be blogged everywhere, but here's the big one: Jayson Blair interview in the New York Observer. Doesn't sound very contrite. Sounds a little scary: "So Jayson Blair the human being could live," he said, "Jayson Blair the journalist had to die."
While the whole rest of the world was watching either Hitler or American Bachelor on Sunday night, I was dutifully watching the two-part season finale of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. That show is the most subtle unsubtle show on television: as soon as you start groaning about how blunt all the supposedly nuanced character development is, they do something reasonably clever with the plot that you could almost but not quite foresee. Summary: Seems people connected to the blackmarket anthr*x trade keep dying, but not because of the anthr*x itself. Vincent has to chase everybody down, dragging Blonde Scully along with him, coming across exhibitionists, voyeurs, the sickly, the rich, and the psychotic.
The show takes an almost explicitly Sherlockian twist when it turns out that his Australian female nemesis (Olivia D'Abo) from earlier this season was maybe behind the whole thing. The original episode where she was introduced was maybe the best ever. Her most recent ep suffers from trying too hard, but it's still engaging.
I bring all this up now because one of characters in the show is a hyperbolization of Steven H*tfill, the scientist who was a "person of interest" to the FBI during the Anthr*x investigation. As in reality, the character is a marginal, angry researcher who stages a fiery press conference to lash out at the people investigating him. In the ep, Vincent does something that indirectly leads to the scientist's death. Well, coincidentally, a car ran over H*tfill's foot the other day. The twist: the car belonged to the FBI team surveilling him.
It's no secret that the Star Wars kid was mentioned in the NYT the other day, but did anyone notice the uncalled for rudeness of the URL?
Maybe somebody should say something.
Pen Hadow, a British outdoorsman and guide, has become the first person to reach the North Pole alone and unaided. [nyt]
Movie news from the Post:
Is this 2003 or 1997? Scott Weiland was arrested for drugs. Again x infinity. Is it the curse of GNR?
Everybody's getting their Buffy tributes ready. Here's Salon's. [click through ads]
Cornell West talks about the Matrix. (Don't forget: he's in it.)
Interesting things heard on 1010 WINS this morning:
Update on "the Star Wars Kid", the kid who was videotaped practicing his lightsaber skills on the school camcorder. A couple of bloggers, feeling bad for him, are raising some money to buy him an iPod and some other stuff. We purposely skipped blogging this a while ago, but I like the twist the story has taken.
Long Day's Journey Into Night delivers on all the best-show-on-Broadway hype it's getting. Some reviews suggest that our old friend Philip Seymour Hoffman is a relatively weak link in the 4-person cast, but I strongly disagree: it was his big scene in Act III that made the people in my row get misty. Also, the show runs 4 hours, not 4-1/2, in case that makes a difference.
The most amazing thing about this play is the intense sense of foreboding and anxiety it produces in anticipation of the gut-wrenching things you know are coming, even in the lighter opening scenes. I felt like I was watching a scary, creepy movie instead of a study of familial dysfunction. This play also inspired a new round of Who's Older:
Slate has a short piece about nostalgia for 80s, which is really about nostalgia for the period in the 90s when people acted fond of the 80s. The link is worth following just for the fantastic pic of Diamond Dave.
Interview with Salam Pax, Iraqi blogger. [via fimoculous]
LA Times reviews the made-for-tv movie about Martha Stewart. They say it accomplishes the impossible: it's boring (and riddled with cliche). Who plays Martha? Cybill Shepherd. The review is funny and well-written, if a little mean to Cybill.
I missed this in my review of the networks' fall line-ups: ABC is going to have a new show called "Karen Sisco". That name ring any bells? It's the character Jennifer Lopez played in Out of Sight. Remember? The lady marshal? And guess who's going to play her on the show. This is weird, but great: CARLA GUGINO, the mom in Spy Kids! I am going to watch this show, even though it will be dumb and probably short-lived.
I found out about this from Media Yenta.
Ok, now this is truly a wonderful opportunity for another round of Who's Older?
Usually we like to give a three-year difference between the two candidates, but I'm ignoring the rule this time, because it's interesting. To see something even more interesting, check out how old the daughter on Spy Kids is, and do the math.
LA Times attempts to calculate the number of civilian casualties in Baghdad in Gulf War 2. Their estimate: 1,700 killed, 8,000 injured, plus maybe 1,000 more in undocumented deaths. The Times says not all the deaths were at American hands. [reg req'd, probably]
NYT profiles Marvel. Turns out that only 21% of their revenues comes from comic books. 50% of it comes from toys, and the remainder is from movie deals/licensing. Although their business model seems more solid than it did in the early 90s, I predict the bottom will fall out of Marvel again. As the article points out, frenetic interests in things like superheroes are faddish. Marvel is already down to making movies out of secondary and tertiary characters ("Ghost Rider", anyone?) and it dilutes the brand every time they make a sub-par movie (like Daredevil, which was successful but didn't exactly have people clamoring for a sequel). I think maybe they'd be better off choosing 2 or 3 franchises (X-Men, Spidey, maybe one other) and concentrating on those, instead of trying to get all these characters on screen.
Anyway, the article confirms that they're making The Punisher. Don't forget they already made that movie once. With Dolph Lundgren. It doesn't seem like they've learned from their mistakes: this time around, they're using a first-time director and Thomas Jane will star. Do you know who he is? Exactly.* Punisher is a compelling character -- he has Batman's motivation and Wolverine's attitude -- and could probably catch on. So why not get a name director and a big deal actor to play him? Well, we'll see how it goes.
*He was good in Boogie Nights as Marky Mark's coked-up friend in the second half of the movie.
Ron Jeremy was arrested for sexual assault against a 20-year-old girl in a Michigan strip club, but he was let go for lack of evidence. Lack of evidence? I thought the evidence was obvious.
Boston Globe reports on Air China Flight 112, which served as a sort of genesis of the SARS outbreak: out of about 100 passengers, 1 died and 21 others got sick, flying on to other countries, unaware they were infected.
NYTimes.com introduces its new movie section, which features 5,000 reviews and a lot of good articles about movies.
The reviews include every one since 1983, and reviews of those movies considered to be among "the 1,000 best". Apparently, Blazing Saddles is among the thousand best. Here's their not terribly positive review of it.
100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt put a time capsule into the ground in Portland, Oregon. In 10 days, his great-grandson is supposed to open it. Problem: no one knows where it's buried. (nyt. link fixed)
Boston Globe says looting of Iraqi museums wasn't as severe as first thought.
They cite a Marine investigation team's report that says the team "has so far recovered 951 artifacts -- many from Iraqis who ostensibly took them for safekeeping -- and have located 39,453 ancient scrolls and manuscripts, as well as a hidden safe house and two bank vaults believed to contain 616 pieces of the Treasure of Nimrud and 6,744 pieces of gold and jewelry." Initial reports placed the number of missing artifacts at 170,000.
34-year-old female teacher "kidnaps" a 15-year-old student to have sex with him in a Vegas hotel.
NYT says when it comes to cosmetic and soap products, "almost every product out there labeled organic isn't." One watchdog perused the aisles at Whole Foods Market and says, "Even with a Ph.D. in toxicology, I can't tell whether these are any different from what you'd find in a drug store."
For tips, check out Organic Style magazine.
NYT discusses what it's like to date someone who has a blog and blogs about you.
A related piece discusses the other NYC blogs, most of which are pretentious. Exhibit A: one blogger says all the bloggers are "a virtual literary clique". Exhibit B: "I don't just go to a restaurant anymore. I go with a critical eye. We're professional reviewers." Puke.
Mariah vs. Eminem, round 3(?): he threatens to use rambling voicemail from her on his next album; she threatens to -- well, she doesn't really threaten anything, apparently because she's too busy staring at the ceiling in a Xanax-induced daze. Em's flackers say: these reports are the most erroneous reports ever.
Jingoism has reached such a state that Miramax is considering withdrawing a poster that features Joaquin Phoenix flashing a peace sign. This mirrors the possibly even more absurd withdrawal of the Amanda Bynes poster a few months ago, which featured the same gesture. It's funny that the peace sign seems to be becoming almost as offensive as the middle finger.
Ebert gives four stars to Owning Mahowny, the new Phillip Seymour Hoffman movie.
Salon takes a closer look at saving Pfc. Lynch, the female POW from West Virginia. The story is reminiscent of one Salon ran a few years ago which debunked a lot of Columbine myths. One allegation: a few days before the rescue, hospital staff attempted to drive Jessica to the American checkpoint only 1 km away. But, when they got close, they were fired upon, so they had to turn around and go back to the hospital.
Oddly, the piece is framed as a satire, as if to avoid being offensive. [click through ads]
More on the same story from the BBC.
Amnesty International is investigating claims that US and British forces tortured Iraqi POWs. Amnesty has all kinds of related stuff on their website.
Fox has announced its fall line-up. There's a show called Skin that is described as "Romeo and Juliet meets the porn industry." Get ready for Joe Millionaire II, and also, Jason Bateman returns to TV.
Here's a more detailed report. It thoroughly describes, for example, a new show starring hey-it's-that-guy Luis Guzman (another friend of ours) as the owner of a donut shop in -- where else? -- SPANISH HARLEM, aka Spa-Ha, an official co-location of Amy's Robot.
What's funny about Fox's line-up is that usually the shows announced at the upfronts sound great on paper, and then turn out to be just as stupid as everything else when they finally air. In this case, all of Fox's new shows sound stupid already, which isn't a good sign.
We already posted all the other networks' line-ups.
Chicago Tribune reports on our friends over at Television Without Pity. It says they're having financial trouble. On the bright side, Michelle Dessler, my almost-girlfriend on 24, visits the site.
Message to Michelle: call me. We're already in love. We read the same websites. [tx nephi]
As part of our continuing service of covering the Series Finales of shows that we don't really watch anymore, we bring you DAWSON'S CREEK:
Apart from the not at all subtle shout-out to both this blog and Jessica Lange's illegitimate baby in Tootsie (one of our favorite movies) in the choice of name for Jen's illegitimate baby, not much to cover, in a meta, cultural commentary way. Virginia Madsen, the first celebrity crush of some of our readers, guest starred. Overall it was emotionally satisfying (even to TWoP). In the excerpts from the cast and crew party that were shown, all the actors spoke very briefly about how great doing the show was for the last six years, and then went into enthusiastic detail about how much they looooove making movies. They love it! Movies! And are sick to death of this show! Thank god it's over.
Judging from her recent movies, Michelle Williams looks like she might have a meaningful career, post-Dawson. And Katie Holmes... well, things were looking good during her late '90's The Ice Storm/The Wonder Boys phase, but now I'm not so sure. Maybe she'll help Robert Downey, Jr. stay clean.
The NY Daily News tracked down Mimi Fahnestock, the intern that President Kennedy slept with. She's 60 and lives in NYC. Why would anybody sleep with a 60-year-old intern? That guy was fucked. up.
Not that I'm trying to mess with anyone's life, but
here's the church website she administers...well, it's pretty easy to find the church website she administers.
If you're thinking of getting your tongue split for cosmetic reasons, or to engage in some bogus form of personal expression, don't do it in Illinois, where it is almost illegal. [via Mar-z] -amy
Yeah, tongue-splitting seems to be the subject of mass hysterical finger-wagging lately. I'm not really sure what set it off, but it seems like parents don't really feel like dealing with the general moral baseness of our society, so they're seizing on this, since Marilyn Manson got boring and Emimen is Beaver Cleaver. -adm
Robert Stack died. Nobody knows how.
Been wondering what Stephen Glass thinks about Jayson Blair? Find out.
Lots of Matrix stuff in this post.
Wait. WHAT?? Steven Soderbergh was dating Jules Asner?? WHAT??!! They got married this weekend? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??
Important footnote: Jules' last name exists because she was previously married to -- yep -- Ed Asner's son.
The other day, we mentioned the Bureau of Labor Statistics report on metropolitan consumer expenditures (NYers buy more meat, etc). Here's the actual report from the BLS, which we finally tracked down. Here it is as a PDF.
*thanks to the economist at the NY office of the BLS who emailed it to me, and thanks to rungu who kept the story alive.
THE END IS NIGH according to a Japanese cult who wear white robes and were trying to capture an electromagnetic seal. Their cults are so much cooler than ours. [via Dylan] -amy
New low for TV? This guy in England is going to play Russian Roulette for Channel 4. Random person is going to place the bullet into the gun. Guess he's trying to one up the televised autopsy from last year.
Our old pal Hugh Jackman (aka Wolverine), super-tough manly man who women want and men want to be, is going to star in a Broadway musical The Boy From Oz this fall. Check out his pose on the posters.
Microsoft: What a bunch of idiots. This stupid iLoo story won't die. First it was real, then it was hoax, now it's real again, except they killed it. The whole idea is disgusting and stupid anyway. That Klingon interpreter story has been recalled, too. Who's writing all this stuff? Stephen Glass? Jayson Blair?
After announcing plans to do so just last week (I think), Verizon has activated the WiFi hotspots built in to their payphones in Manhattan. So, you can get wifi all over the place now, if you're a Verizon Online customer (which at least one of us is).
Good news for the Amy's Robot team: according to the American Psychological Association, "personality is not set by age 30". So now I know I am free to get more bitter, hostile, and depressed even after August 11.
What do people in big cities spend their money on? The Bureau of Labor statistics researched the question for 2 years, and issued a report, which the Times summarizes. NY'ers buy steak, Bostonians buy cigars, and San Franciscans buy books. I'll track down the full report later. Meantime, there's a graphic accompanying the NYT article that explains. -adm
Salon posits that Spike ruined Buffy. [click through the ads to read]
All these liars. At Slate, Neal Pollack issues corrections and clarifications on his own work.
NY Post says profits at bars and restaurants are down since the smoking ban took effect. Bloomberg says, Give it time.
News from the Upfronts:
NY Daily News has a discussion on the impact of building the Second Avenue subway line, which will take more than 12 years. In a word, the impact will be severe.
You can download the MTA's full report. It has detailed reports on the environmental and economic impact of all the stations, including the one that will be underneath my apartment.
We mentioned the reverse-sexual-harrassment case involving Demi Moore the other day. Well, Smoking Gun has documents related to the accuser here. Seems he's not the most stable guy: he has a string of restraining orders on him for threatening everyone from the phone company to the co-workers of a girl who stood him up.
The Guardian publishes readers' poll results for the top 50 novels by women (JK Rowling appears 4 times); Feminista magazine has some good commentary on their similar list they did to coincide with the Modern Library's list of the top 100 20th century novels (92 of which were by men) from a few years ago.
LA Times on gay references in X-2. The most obvious one, I guess, is the family meeting in which Bobby tells his family he's a mutant. The article seems to equate unrealized sexual feelings with homosexuality, and when it does, it's a reach.
NYT on TV: Nothing's funny. Only two shows in the top 10 are sitcoms.
Here's an account of an X-2 gag reel shown in a Hawaii Q&A session with cast and crew. Most of the jokes would be rated R, it seems.
Reminder that networks are set to announce their fall schedules this week at the "upfronts". This will get you prepared.
There's this thing called "Operation: Strangelove" in which you show Dr Strangelove on a co-ordinated date. The next one is May 14. Well, guess what: at a screening in in Battery Park City, there's going to be famous people there. Well, one famous person and a couple of almost famous people. The famous person is Janeane Garofalo.
I'm going down there because I have to ask her out.
LA Times has a big story on Tobey Maguire, who was dropped from Spider-Man 2, then re-hired (largely because of his girlfriend's father), then went through a bunch of other Hollywood stuff and is now "chastened" by the whole thing.
Did you see an email petition recently asking you to protest the stoning death of a Nigerian woman? 5 million people signed it, but: It was somewhat fraudulent, say the NYT and the Guardian. Although the woman exists, there are problems with the details of the petition, and Amnesty never endorsed it, as the petition claims. (Snopes has an update on this, too.)
NYT turns in a 7,300-word investigation of the "journalistic fraud" perpetrated by Jayson Blair, a 27-year-old reporter at the paper.
Crisis for British intelligence: their most highly-placed double-agent in the IRA has had his cover blown. It seems this guy was responsible. The agent, whose codename is "Stakeknife" is allegedly responsible for 40 murders. He ran the internal security apparatus for the IRA, and was being paid $128,000 a year by the Brits. The case has been brewing for a few weeks, but exploded today when the London newspapers revealed the agent's identity.
Amy's Robot exclusive on the CWRU shooter case: in 1978, Biswanath Halder, the alleged shooter, apparently sued NCR Corporation for racial/ethnic discrimination when they didn't hire him even though he applied 26 times. NCR won the case. The opinion wasn't published, and it's not on the Internet, but you can probably find it if you have Lexis. (The docket number is 78-3421 at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.)
Want to point out that this is slightly reminiscent of the Mad Bomber case, in which a disgruntled, litigious guy snapped and raged against ConEd in NYC in the 1950s, although that went on for years.
Thanks to my friends who helped me track all this stuff down.
Okay. Pay attention: For over a year now, we've been getting countless visitors to this site who are looking for "Amy Osbourne", who is the Osbourne child you never see on TV. We get these visitors even though we've only mentioned Aimee once, and not even by name. We get these visitors because one of us is named Amy and we used to write about the Osbournes a lot.
The problem is Amy Osbourne is spelled AIMEE OSBOURNE. People can't seem to figure this out. Nonetheless, finally, we are now offering you what you've been hounding us for all this time: a picture of Aimee Osbourne. In fact, if you go to WireImage.com and search for Aimee Osbourne, you'll find about 1 million pictures of her.
Now leave us alone.
The distinctive structure of the Frank Gehry-designed Case Western business school building, with hallways that dip and swerve, complicated the job for police. "As the SWAT team entered the building, they were constantly under fire," Lohn said. "They couldn't return fire because of the design of the building. They didn't have a clear shot." Lohn said a SWAT team engaged in "firefights" throughout the building with Halder and finally cornered him in a room.
The NYT has more on this theme.
Don't forget that this isn't the first time the building has been the subject of some controversy: After a flap over the building's cost last year, the major funder (Peter B. Lewis) said Case Western is "a diseased university that is collapsing and sucking Cleveland into a hole with it." He followed this up by refusing to contribute to any Cleveland charities until the board of CWU resigned.
Elizabeth Neuffer, one of the Boston Globe's war correspondents, died in a car accident in Iraq yesterday.
Ebert on the new Neil Labute movie.
Here's this year's list of most popular baby names. Emily and Jacob are the winners.
Reports of "suspicious packages" on NYC subways have led to 1,035 delayed trains this year. Every one of them was a false alarm.
Life imitates bad art: This guy says Demi Moore hired him and tried to seduce him, then fired him when he turned her down. He's suing.
His former job? Hugh Hefner's butler. Bruce W's reaction: "Stay the f*ck away from my family."
Now that Dawson's Creek has mercifully entered its final Countdown to Lame Series Death, they finally start up with the musical shout-outs, like last night's use of freaking Wedding Present covering "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Gee thanks music programmer guys, finally.
Hello, Canada? Yeah, hi, it's me. ADM. I'll be right there.
NYC documentary film-maker was seriously wounded in a suicide bombing in Israel last week. He was making a film about Israeli's going on with life despite the threat of terror. [nyt]
24: It's all been worth it, people. This week we got to see:
Well, there's always next week.
The Iraqi blogger known as Salam Pax is alive and has posted a new message today via a friend, his first since a couple days after the war started. The gist: "Let me tell you one thing first. War sucks big time. Don稚 let yourself ever be talked into having one waged in the name of your freedom. Somehow when the bombs start dropping or you hear the sound of machine guns at the end of your street you don't think about your 'imminent liberation' anymore." He's in a district of Baghdad called Karada. He has great, detailed first-hand accounts of stuff you probably haven't seen anywhere else.
Since it's likely the server may be overwhelmed in a couple of hours, I've mirrored his post here. (Hope that's ok with him.)
Attention ladies: Irresistable catch Joey Buttafuoco is available again.
NY Times on the most exciting play on Broadway now, cast-wise, Long Day's Journey Into Night, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Dennehy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robert Sean Leonard. It's 4-1/2 hours long. Amy's Robot review is forthcoming.
Slate(!) on Aphex Twin and Intelligent Dance Music. The article is off-base, I think, because it spends a lot of time talking about how Aphex Twin cleverly hones his reputation by "[turning] other artists' records into advertisements for himself." Hmm.
LAT on Matthew Barney, who's been getting a wave of press lately, I guess because the Cremaster cycle has ended.
As has been previously reported, Oliver Stone and Baz Luhrmann were in a race to make an Alexander the Great movie. Baz now concedes that Stone won the race, but he's still going to make his version (later).
Spy Kids 3 teaser trailer is out! It has to do with video games. Sylvester Stallone is in it, and George Clooney returns. If you're like me, you'll keep yourself in a media blackout about the movie so you don't know anything about it besides what I just told you.
Here are some movies that Spy Kids 2 is better than: The Godfather, Chinatown, Rebel Without a Cause.
Stephen Glass, disgraced journalistic wunderkind and subject of an upcoming movie, has written a fictionalized autobiograpy and will appear on 60 Minutes to tell his story. Despite his fabrications, he's a gifted writer, so it should be a good read.
Interesting how this story parallels that of Jayson Blair, the young NYT reporter who was responsible for much of their sniper coverage and was caught plagiarizing last week. I imagine he won't be cashing in on his sins anytime soon. [tx to romenesko for some links]
Maureen Dowd on Ali G's interview with James Baker. Unusual for Mo, the column is basically just a summary of someone else's jokes.
NYPD has pulled a body that seems to be missing Upper East Sider Svetlana Aronov out of the East River. Her little lap dog washed up in the city, too. You think the doctor/husband did it? Yeah, me too.
Update: It's her.
The first time I heard the radio ad for Dance of the Vampires, I thought, "This is a joke." When I realize it wasn't, I thought, "This is going to be the worst musical of all time." It closed a few weeks after it opened to calamitous reviews.
So, you'd think that would mean the idea of Vampires on Broadway would be dead, right? Well, enter Elton John. Elton John has a new idea for a musical. And guess what it involves? Vampires. Lots of vampires. Anne Rice's vampires, to be specific.
Wrestling news: Remember Macho Man Randy Savage? Remember his hot "manager" Miss Elizabeth? Well, she died last week at the age of 42, in the home of another former wrestler, Lex Luger. Cops found him with -- surprise! -- a lot of illegal bodybuilding drugs. No explanation for Elizabeth's death yet, although Luger was charged with beating her a few weeks ago.
There's this show on the WB called Everwood, which I imagine not many people are watching. Nonetheless, on an episode the other night, a character had an abortion, which doesn't happen very often on TV. Ms. Magazine's blog has reaction, and also (perhaps more interestingly) a discussion of a scene in which an adult woman tells a 9-year-old girl it's ok to look at and like Penthouse magazine, for various reasons.
Been wondering about the status of the Jeffrey Jones child porn case? Looks like it's headed for a settlement. His lawyers are back-pedalling ("Whatever occurred here is an aberration in his life and it will never happen again"), and the settlement could involve jail time.
Update: Pete Townsend has been cleared in his childporn case.
Email spam just turned 25. Also, the origins of the usage of "spam". -amy
Can't wait to see how much gripping ridiculousness they can squeeze into two hours.
The Fickle Fame issue of Fame Tracker's Galaxy of Fame issue (because all we care about here at the Robot is famous people) features many celebrities whose stars seem to be falling. Past their 'best before' date. Slightly washed up. As many of them have been featured heavily on this site (J. Lo, tATu), we thought you should know. But we still back Chewbacca all the way.
Slate's ad critic on Carrot Top and those grating AT&T commercials: "Perhaps the real message of his work, then, is a critique that makes a mockery not just of the entertainment industry, but of the very notion of meritocracy in America揺is success being the most damning evidence to date that the marketplace of talent is a sham."
But, he says, if the ads stopped tomorrow, he would remember 1 800 CALL ATT for the next 15 years.
NYT on the strange case of Havelock Woo. Is he who he says he is? One wife says, "That's him!" Another wife says, "That's not him!" If Havelock Woo isn't Havelock Woo, then who is? The jury deliberates.
Our hero Kiefer Sutherland saved the day at a Hollywood party the other night. Michelle (my favorite) fell and hit her head. Kiefer to the rescue! I wish I was there so when she woke up and had amnesia I could tell her we were married.
Remember how the Old Man of the Mountain collapsed, causing emotional distress and identity confusion for millions of New Hampshirites? Or 1 million New Hampshirites anyway? Now you can buy pieces of it on eBay. [tx Whiskas] That's the true spirit of libertarianism and free markets. I looked for the pieces on eBay: this was the closest I could find. -amy
Was anyone else confused when everyone was calling the lady they arrested today "Mrs. Anthrax"? I thought her name was "Dr. Germ". Turns out Mrs. Anthrax and Dr. Germ are two different people. Dr. Germ, who I thought should have been the Queen of Hearts, is not even on the list. I don't care what anybody says: If somebody is nefarious enough to have a nickname like "Dr. Germ", they should be on the most wanted list.
So I'm putting her on the Amy's Robot most wanted list, along with Salma Hayek and Jude Law, otherwise known as "Dr. Big Tits" and "Mr. Hottie".
Excerpts from Sid Blumenthal's new memoir of the Clinton years are up on Salon. [Click through the ads.]
More on the Ashleigh Banfield saga: NYT follows up with her. Amazing that she just got started on network TV in 2000. As we mentioned earlier, she was the rising star through 2001 and 2002, and is getting benched now. ""They just fell in love with a new toy and they played with it and played with it and played with it until the paint came off," said one longtime NBC News correspondent.
Richard Helms, 1970s era director of the CIA, has his autobiography published (posthumously). NYT has a review by acclaimed spy writer Joseph Persico.
NYT discusses "nutritional genomics" -- what your genes want you to eat. Helpful, but I don't need the Human Genome Project to tell me my genes want nachos.
Sorry for not mentioning it the other day. Tribeca Film Festival has started. You can get showtimes, tickets, info, etc., at the official site. I'm a little worried that they're growing too fast too soon, and won't be able to sustain it.
Newsweek says the White House is seeking to "reclassify" information gathered for the first 9/11 report because it is politically embarrassing for our prez, even though the info in question was discussed in public hearings. Even Republican senators are miffed.
This doesn't bode well for the new report, says Newsweek: One investigator, a former congressmen, was rebuffed last week because the administration must "determine if the president wants to invoke executive privilege to keep the material out of the panel's hands." [emph added]
Appropriately, the article also mentions that our prez is planning to delay the 2004 Republican convention in NYC until the first week of September, so his acceptance speech could "meld seamlessly into 9-11 commemoration events due to take place in the city the next week."
LA Times has a couple of interesting articles about trends in this summer's crop of superhero movies. This one discusses how the movies aren't entireley escapist, since they contains scenes and ideas very similar to what's going on in the world right now, and this one is Ang Lee talking about The Hulk. Along the way, someone points out that Rambo III ends with a dedication to the Taliban, and Lee half-jokingly describes his movie as "Sense and Sensibility with a green monster."
Strangely, Apple has a page up about X2's screenwriters, neither of whom have had a feature film produced before. One is 28, the other 23. Apple's article, which reads like a magazine piece (and at one point posits that mutants are sort of similar to Mac users) is the most detailed account I've scene of the creative process behind X2.
See below for our coverage of the final product.
NYT has an interesting, though not particularly well-written freelance review of Cirque du Soleil, which is out on Randalls Island right now (in the blue and yellow tent that you see if you drive by on the FDR). The review is sort of filtered through the eyes of Professor Ame Wilson, who went undercover to write her dissertation on the Cirque du Soleil. She says it's like the Cirque is on acid this time around (I thought that was the point) and it's like "the apocalypse has come to New York".
There is a strange line in the article where the author writes "Dr. Wilson turned out to be a leggy beauty with a cloud of blond hair and a brand-new belly-button piercing..." I have no idea what this line is doing in a theater review. Anyway, maybe the slideshow of the show makes up for it.
The Progressive has an interesting interview with my celebrity girlfriend, Janeane Garofalo. She alternates between sounding eloquent and like a 17-year-old girl, although mainly she comes across as well-spoken and having a good perspective. She talks about backlash against celebrities who have spoken out. "It's ridic," she says.
Guy goes out for dinner before going to see "Rent". INS agents and NYPD burst into restaurant, wave guns, check IDs, and detain people for a couple hours. All perfectly legal thanks to the Patriot Act. First-person account of this ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
X-Men 2: We saw it, we loved it. First impressions:
So that's it. Go see it.
NYC's new magazine Radar is out--Fametracker reviews. They pretty much diss it because it's a wannabe thinking man's US Weekly, an aspiration that I have no problem with. [maybe Whiskas and Babak should think about doing a blog together.]
The other thing they need to do is reconsider their in-your-face design. It may be eye-catching, but garishness tends to turn people off who are undecided about your product. Nobody wants to be visually confused by a general interest mag.
Here's an interesting quote from the Fametracker piece and Radar itself:
Radar's editor writes: "By tapping into the voice of an ascendant generation, Radar aims to be one of those rare titles -- like Rolling Stone in the '60s, Spy in the '80s, and Vanity Fair in the '90s -- that captures a cultural moment by getting there first." (Note: apparently the 1970s did not have a generation-defining magazine.Well, I think the generation-defining magazine of the 1970s was Highlights, which, incredibly, still exists. -adm
Related to NYC and NY State's budget and tax skirmishes, Pete Vallone from the NYC city council has suggested that the city secede and become its own state. And those Quebecois thought they were so revolutionary. [via Whiskas]
Was purposely ignorning this story before now, but this is too spectacular too ignore: the debut of Tina Brown's TV show was watched by only 74,000 people on Wednesday at 9 pm. Geez, I've produced shows that were seen by more people than that. Guess what, Tina? That's two flops in a row. We don't love you anymore. My prediction: it'll be cancelled in three weeks. [via medianews]
Unexpected twist in NYC smoking ban: at restaurants and bars, customers are ordering and eating food, stepping outside "for a smoke", and leaving without paying their bill.
David Lee Roth issued a press release (which I'm still looking for) that says he stopped a knife-wielding intruder at his house with a shotgun over the weekend. Problem is, police say, it didn't really happen the way Diamond Dave says it did.
DLR's official website begins and ends with a non-skippable movie* of him playing Indian ragas or something with all these almost-naked, almost-Indian, almost-belly-dancing ladies around him. And a genie. So no press releases there. We love ya, Dave.
You want a quick "Who's Older?" challenge. Ok:
*Amy reminds you that this isn't the first weird home movie for Dave: don't forget about "No Holds Bar-B-Q" in which he showed off his imaginary karate skills. He talks about it and his other creative projects in this great interview with the Onion AV Club.
As neuroscience advances and brain scans become more sophisticated, the Boston Globe points out that some privacy advocates are concerned about brain privacy. Could employees be scanned for violent or depressive impulses? Could soldiers be screened for homosexuality? It sounds like a Philip K. Dick vision of the future, but some predict this will be a bigger ethical issue than genetics.
We sent this article in to Slashdot, and they posted it.
Well, great news for Ashton Kutcher and readers of Amy's Robot: Ashton Kutcher has not only split with Brittany Murphy, he's also got a new girl. So, at least he got out of that vortex of addled trash before it was too late. Another bonus: now Brittany can get together with Colin Farrell and they can accidentally on purpose kill each other.
Related in concept, Jack Osbourne has "spoken out" on what led him to rehab. No surprises there.
Well, great news for Kiefer Sutherland and readers of Amy's Robot: 24, our show, has been renewed FOR TWO MORE SEASONS.
Washington Post on "runners", people who run from police station to police station reading accident reports, looking for -- and then calling -- people who might want legal representation. Not necessarily the kinds of people you'd expect: One evening [a runner] sits at a booth at Denny's, wearing a baseball cap that reads "WWJD?" and explaining why -- unlike all the other runners -- he doesn't sweat the competition: "God is my source."
David Pogue discusses Apple's new music store in Circuits today. He sees it as a revolution. The piece also functions as a love letter to Steve Jobs. There are more journalists' reactions to the service on Apple's site, and here's a great, insightful article from Fortune about the whole enterprise.
There's also this interview with Jobs about the service in Time. In case you've always heard about how mesmerizing Jobs is when he talks, but you've never really heard him, you should read this interview. Somebody needs to do a linguistic analysis of the way he speaks and see if they can figure out how he hypnotizes people into thinking Apple is the greatest thing since Genesis.
Here's our coverage of the music store, which needs a new name.
NYT has a weird health headline today: "Saudi Arabia Awakens to Perils of Inbreeding". Apparently, marriages are being arranged with first-cousins, causing problems.