Tuesday, November 27, 2007


A British teacher at a school in Khartoum, Sudan, was arrested on Sunday and could face 40 lashes or six months in prison if formally charged and convicted. What terrible offense did this woman commit?

She allowed a group of 7-year-olds to name a teddy bear.

Gillian Gibbons' students voted to call their class bear "Mohammad", an option put forth by a boy of the same handle. The trouble for Gibbons is that "Mohammad" is not just the name of that little egomaniac, but also the Prophet of Islam...and rumor has it that Muslims tend to have fairly strong opinions about its use and application. Parents complained, Gibbons was arrested, and the school ("Unity High School", naturally) has been closed until January.

Whenever I learn of such heartwarming and perfectly reasonable occurrences like this one, I can't believe that there are people in the world--not too many, praise the Holy Ghost--who think that religion is a bad thing.

They Want You Back

Without clicking through to the article below, how many members of the Jackson Five can you name? I'll play along:

Obviously, Michael. After that, everybody knows Tito, because he had the funniest name and is the go-to reference when making fun of the obscurity of the Jacksons who aren't Michael or Janet. La Toya? No, wait, I already said Michael. I think there was a Jermaine in there...and maybe a Marlon? No--Keenan Ivory. And lastly, let's say...Action. That's five, right? Pencils down.

Time to check your score as you learn that--according to Jermaine (hey, one right so far!)--the Jackson Five is going to reunite.

(What? One of them was named "Jackie"? Jackie Jackson? That's ridiculous.)

Unless this story merely represents a desperate attempt by Jermaine to seek attention (which is unlikely because he was just on the British version of "Celebrity Big Brother", after all), fans of broke and/or allegedly child-molesting middle-aged men trying to relive their teenage years through song and dance better start clearing their calenders. As Jermaine told BBC Radio, a reunion is something that the Jackson Five "owe[s] to the public"...and that's a pretty mean thing to say about you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

He Got the Hook-Up

As we all learned from Hoop Dreams, athletic ability can be the key to escaping a life of poverty and opening the doors to a brighter future for African-American youths...but even for the most talented among them, this is still far from a guarantee.

As we all learned from Black Supaman, Master P doesn't know how to spell "Superman".

How are these two things related? The son of the aforementioned one-time rap impresario and multi-millionaire, Lil' Romeo--himself once a somewhat successful hip-hop performer--has been awarded a basketball scholarship to the University of Southern California [FUN FACT: USC is Metroville's alma mater, of which he only becomes ever more proud]. According to SI, Romeo, currently a senior guard at Beverly Hills High School, signed his letter of intent "at a news conference held at a posh hotel near Beverly Hills".

So it was pretty much exactly like Hoop Dreams...except with insanely rich kids with ridiculous stage names instead of impoverished kids who struggle to afford shoes, Beverly Hills High School instead of the Chicago projects, and an infuriating happy ending instead of a depressing realistic one.

Let me hear you say UUUUUGH! (Na-na, na-na!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Internet? Never Heard Of It.

If there is one upside for me personally to the Writers' Guild of America Strike (currently at eight days and counting), it's that it has given me a perfectly reasonable-looking excuse for not updating this blog. It's a phony excuse, sure, but it's reasonable-looking nonetheless.

In lieu of any original content (unless you're counting this paragraph and the one previous), enjoy the above video from unitedhollywood.com, which quietly suggests that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers maybe are being something less than completely honest with their claims to the WGA that there is no money to be made from online content.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sox on a Plane

Full disclosure: I have been posting about the Red Sox way too much lately (I even managed to tastefully work them into a Robert Goulet obituary). After yesterday's mention of Jonathan Papelbon's less-bananas-than-expected appearance on Letterman, I figured that would be the end of the assault for a while.

No sooner has I made that prediction when, lo and behold, in my inbox arrived EXCLUSIVE! candid photos taken inside Tom Werner's plane as it transported a number of the Red Sox players from Denver to Boston following the team's World Series victory over the Colorado Rockies.

What am I supposed to do? Not post the pictures? They are "exclusive", in capital letters, and with an exclamation point. My hands are tied.

I’m pretty sure David Ortiz isn’t following FAA passenger regulations, here, but who’s going to tell him? And how did Jason Varitek get those guns past security?

Barack Obama is not averse to public displays of affection. Oh, wait--that’s Julio Lugo.

Mike Lowell, Trophy Hog.

Professional Athletes—They’re Just Like Us! They collect autographs! (Or at least the rookies do.)

Sleep tight, Kevin Youkilis. You earned your nap.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"Hate Does Enter Into the Equation"

While I was watching Game 2 of the World Series with a group of fellow Red Sox fans, my friend Dave hypothesized that the inside of Jonathan Papelbon's head was "a swirling nightmare."

I was somewhat hesitant to watch Papelbon's appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman" Wednesday night for fear that the Red Sox closer might have said something that proved Dave's (my friend, not Letterman) theory to an unsuspecting national audience beyond that of baseball. To my relief, Papelbon handled himself with surprising restraint (even his inevitable dance was brief and relatively low-key), not even letting a real hint of his madness slip out until halfway into the interview (you'll want to jump to the 5:00 mark in the above clip if you don't have time to bask in the whole enchilada).

Despite what the world beyond Red Sox Nation may now think of you now, Jonathan (and there's a fair guess as to where Yankees, Rockies and Indians fans already stood)...we still love you.

You batshit insane sonuvabitch.

The Thing You're Staring At: The Movie

From The Net to Hackers to Pulse, I think we can all agree that movies about the internet are both awesome entertainments and virtual guarantees for box office success. But one thing that's always been missing from the genre is a film that focuses specifically on blogging, arguably the most cinematic activity in which a person can engage.

Thanks to Nora Ephron--living proof that having a hand in one decent romantic comedy equals a free pass for churning out two subsequent decades and counting of soul-deadening claptrap (including her own contribution to the fine canon of films that deal with people sitting in front of computers)--the cavernous void of blog-movies ("bloovies"?) is finally set to be filled with her adaptation of Julie Powell's book Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen...in which Meryl Streep will play Julia Child.

While the idea of Meryl Streep playing Julia Child--although not necessarily appealing--is, at worst, strange, and certainly not sphincter-tensing, it appears to have nothing whatsoever to do with blogging. Not so fast. If you merely glance over the above-linked Variety article, you might miss this bone-chilling aspect of the film's plot:

"[The] frustrated temp secretary...chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd."

You see, it's not just a movie about cooking. It's a movie about blogging about cooking. If I had to take a shot in the dark, I'd wager that it also might include a few montages set to bouncy music featuring Amy Adams' voiceover saying the things that she is typing while an ever-increasing amount of the aforementioned "food crowd" stare at computer screens in various locations and look amused.

If that prediction hasn't activated your gag reflex, you're probably my mom. Enjoy the movie, Mom!