Friday, February 29, 2008
Team sports movies are great in several ways. Let me list a few:
1. Hot topless men. Exhibit: most college football movies.
2. Movies like Miracle notwithstanding, another thing going for team sports movies is a diverse cast. But by "diverse" I do NOT mean white guy learns inorganic Bojangles hip-hop dance move from black guy, giving suburban viewers false sense of colorblindness back at home. Exhibit: Save the Last Dance (yes, I know it's not a sports movie, but that's precisely my point.) By diverse I essentially am talking about the whole sub-genre of sports movies that involve a. girls /boys pretending to be boys/girls to get on a team (exhibit: Ladybugs), and b. Asians. Exhibit: Bend it Like Beckham, and my most favorite baseball movie ever - Mr. 3000. (Don't laugh)
3. Believable injuries. I hate watching action films because in my lifetime, I've never heard of or seen entire city blocks taken over by speeding cars that eventually explode into three stadium-sized balls of fire...in other words, the fatalities of action film are totally unbelievable.
Taped up wrists and ankles, a limping linebacker, broken fingers, drug addiction, being shot by a crazed fan...all believable! Exhibit: Jerry McGuire; Any Given Sunday
4. Cool nicknames. I've always hated my nicknames ("Anne the Man," "Fishy Ishii,"), envied those of my friends. For example, I grew up with a lot of Filipinos, who are categorically allergic to their Christian names. There's a whole school of abstract Filipino calculus in which a random phoneme repeated twice will produce one's nickname. If all else fails you're "jun" which is short for "junior." and not a common native Tagalog name as I'd believed for over a decade. Anyway, when you play sports on film, you get to be "The Natural," "Babe," "Mr. 3000," "Rocky." And for that matter in real sports too - Godzilla, Big Papi, Walrus (I'll admit these nicknames are also poor examples of phallic wish-fulfillment, but hey, if it ain't brain, I'll give them brawn. Why not.)
5. The last five minutes of the game. Really, have you ever been disappointed by the end of a sporting event in a movie? Exhibit: OK, other than Waterboy.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I walked through the distinctly Asian-but-squeeky-clean-and-not-pungent aisles of dried laver, shrimp, toasted teas and fruit-sweetened sweets and drinks when at the end of one aisle I came across something of a regular addition to large-scale stores - flatscreen TV's running ads for one product line.
The ad was for a Korean packaged ramyun with the Korean flag in the brand. The spokeswoman was wearing a traditional hambok (sp?) and repeatedly uttered "hanguk" in her exortations for the "authentic" yumminess of ramyun by this company. She spoke demurely, politely tilted her head in honorific deference to dear viewer, carefully set metal chopsticks and a miniature ladle on the low cherry wood table alongside a small plate of kim-seaweed, kimchi, and cured mung bean sprouts.
I turned away and kept walking when suddenly, I heard the most death-defying sound ever. I thought it was a hurricane. I thought the cable was pulled from the TV. Maybe feedback. Maybe, maybe the terrorists just stormed through the San Gabriel Valley, for mankind. For the kids. What was that sound?
I turned on my heels, braced myself in the air with surfer-posed hands. Darted my head around at the stack of red bean drinks, at the stack of "well being"-rice cakes.
"What was that?" I panicked.
I looked back at the tv screen and what I beheld brought tears to my eyes. Tears of pride.
Miss Korea circa Chosun Dynasty was slurping her noodle soup with abandon, the furrow in her brow encouraging a bead of sweat down her bridgeless nose. Her shoulders pulled up like the bowl was almost too big for just one woman.
When she was done she looked up with the porcelain perfect face, as if her world wasn't just r-zocked by that ramyun and she said, "ah..."
I love ramen, and this ad deserves a Peabody Award.
Monday, February 25, 2008
So, a friend just sent me this picture claiming the woman depicted to bear my resemblance. It's the Baroness from G.I. Joe.
While I don't totally disagree, the fact that this has clearly been drawn from the P.O.V. of someone looking up at my "agony is ecstasy" facial expression is especially frightening, if not the facial expression itself.
For what it's worth I usually take my glasses off if I know I'm going to "make it count." Certainly for Snake Eyes.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I am going to name drop.
It's not often you randomly meet a famous person you actually like. I think the default is that you end up liking the celebrity you've just met because they were nice enough not to grimace and whisper "let's get the fuck out of here" to their friends when they catch you staring, mouth agape.
I went on a date with a guy once who told me very proudly that his step-brother rented out a boat to "Pierce Bronson's family" (sic) one summer. "Yeah, Pierce Bronson's the real deal. Real nice guy."
But sometimes you actually see someone you liked before meeting. So it is that I chanced to meet Morley Safer - one of my favorite news correspondents. Look at him! His face is the perfect vehicle for big issues. I bet his mouth is lined with muppet felt. A happy confluence of form and content.
Speaking of form and content, I met the 70-something 60 minute correspondent at the 120 minute reception for this book:
A book I highly recommend. It's like Wodehouse and Stendhal having fun with suicide and an ad firm. Though I'm biased in that I'll love any book that makes this much fun of graphic designers and maintains what I consider now to be the lost art of "knowing when to finish." [I'm talking to you, Heartfelt Novelist. put. down. the. pen. It'll be ok.]
From The LA Times:
Yet the road from her alma mater to the El Rey stage actually stretched about 12,000 miles: She first became a bona fide Japanese pop star in the land of her ancestors.
And now, she's bringing the music of her native land to Japan in a way most J-pop acts can't -- with an American-bred affinity for soul and R&B music.
Right. Ok. link
In other race-related news: Are Asians voting for Hillary because Obama's black?
From TIME Magazine:
But Wang also suspects that race lurks among the possible reasons behind Asian immigrants' reticence to back Obama. "The images of African Americans that get exported to other cultures is not often positive," says Wang, who teaches about pop culture and race. "It's not unusual to find new immigrants who have never had a meaningful, personal encounter with an African American. So there's a very uninformed bias," says Wang.
"Obama is a different kind of African American," he adds. "His background doesn't date back to slavery; he's half-black, half-white; he grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii. In other words, he's not Al Sharpton. But those nuances get lost when someone comes from a foreign country. To them, it doesn't translate."Who's letting journalists write this crap?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
About 43% of women and 31% of men in the U.S. between ages 18 and 60 meet criteria for sexual dysfunctions, according to a 1999 report on the sexual behavior of more than 3,000 U.S. adults.
Orgasm researchers hope their efforts will help some of these people -- eventually. For now, reports are more likely to include the words "parasympathetic nervous system" than "try this at home tonight."
So...more women have sexual dysfunctions than men, but the number of dick drugs advertised on TV outweighs poony pills 10 zillion to 1. If that's not gender bias, I don't know what is. BTW, I love that someone gets the title "orgasm researcher."
On a related note, here's a joke I came up with this morning in my half-awake state:
What do you call a teacher who'll take bribes?
What do you bribe him with?
From The LA Times
Kon Ichikawa has just passed away. (Above image from Ten Dark Women, which was basically a hyperbolic version of Brecht's life story.)
Ichikawa was really second to none. Fires on the Plain, Burmese Harp, Ten Dark Women...all amazing amazing films. I am memorializing him by playing "Porno 3003" by Pizzicato Five, featuring Kyoko Kishida (star of Ten Dark Women) talking about the film.
Monday, February 11, 2008
When I saw Baby Dee perform a couple years ago, she scared me into total awe. Here's a piece on her in The Stranger, which includes some interview and an MP3, "Teeth Are the Only Bones That Show." Her new album Safe Inside the Day just came out from Drag City (first time she's not self-producing), and has a surprising number of commercial musicians contributing, including...Andrew WK?
This news article made me think. What would be a good name for a discount organic Chinese grocer?
(Anne does eyebrow dance. Huh? Huh?)
OK, maybe not. But here's another example of where ostensible wit is sometimes a dead-end: I came up with the punchline to a joke, but can't for the life of me figure out the best, most succint way to phrase the set-up. The punchline:
Which reminds me, I was sorting out my deductibles for my tax return, when I came across a receipt for one LEATHER THONG. Hu-whut? It took me a few minutes. First I thought, maybe I'd accidentally taken a friend's receipt. Or maybe I picked it up at that bikers bar to write Butchy McDikestra's number on the back. No and no. Curiouser still, the receipt was from Modell's Sporting Goods. A sporty leather thong? Somehow that made it more wrong. I mean, a plain leather thong? Maybe. A breathable leather thong with a Nike swoosh right where the T intersects? Ew. And then it hit me. Early last year I'd bought a pair of nice beach sandals with contoured leather insoles, aka leather thongS (emphasis on plural 's'). Relieved I hadn't lapsed in judgement and memory, I wiped my forehead (with a stained leather handkerchief, naturally) and threw the receipt away so as not to incur similar confusion from my accountant.
MINT! I had some in a Vietnamese salad the other day and it was awesome. Threw some in my pasta pomodoro. Awesome. On top of berries. Awesome. All by itself. Awesome. Put some on my face. Boyfriend said it was awesome.
I think basically the only thing it doesn't go with is stuff that's really salty...which is good because had I my druthers saliva would be replaced by Tabasco sauce. Mint's gonna lower my blood pressure. I just know it.
Watching 60 Minutes last night, my friend admitted to something I find rather depressing.
I can't stand Hillary because she looks and sounds just like my mom.
He said. And man...he ain't kidding (I've met her and the resemblance is uncanny). But it's sad. I have a sad suspicion many men resent the sort of matriarchal pant-wearing tacky-meets-unassailable Momma's-boy mom-ness about her.
My question is for all you Momma's Boys out there:
Does the thought of someone like your mom being president bother you?
...wait, no. Better question. This one for everyone:
What if your mother were president? I don't mean, 'what if your mom were politically powerful,' or 'what if your mom were Hillary Clinton,' but your mom. The woman that is your mother right here, right now. If she were president? [And if you don't have a mother, all my condolences. Picture an important woman friend 13 to 40 years your senior.]
If my mother were president, we'd make linguistics a compulsory course, because it would be the only way to understand the non-language she speaks. We'd all be surrogate parents of abandoned cats, and dogs. Congress would receive care packages every week filled with socks, sample medication, packets of ramen and a handwritten note with hearts instead of dots over the 'i's. At the beginning of every work week she'd have a State of the Union performance of Monday, Monday.
Buy some mint for your mom, folks.
As I read coverage of this interview (both by Stereogum and the ensuing comments board, half of whom more or less poo-pooed her averageness), I realized there's no way the child of a legend can live up to public expectations...which got me thinking, as fascinated as we are by celebrity, it is much like family business - odds of surviving more than a generation are very bad. To that effect, average kids are a high compliment to legends, because legends are generally, well, shit parents. Think about it. Frances' parents were drug addicts. One of them shot himself in the head, the other is still trying to figure out the Molly Ringwalk lipstick trick from The Breakfast Club...I'm actually kind of relieved Frances is into shopping and not leather diapers.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I got down on myself the other day for not being as funny as I used to be. I decided it was because I became self-employed. There is no room for funny when you work freelance. So now, I'm resolving to be funny again for the lunar new year (yes, it's THAT easy for me...cough...). I mean there's no reason to be serious.
Did someone say election year? (Anne looks around herself) I don't see anything.
War, global warming, injustice? (Anne starts daydreaming about gay porn)
Anne's being scissor-cut by financial insecurity? (Anne looks up "scissor-cut" in thesaurus)
To start things off, I wrote something to my (and your) friend Aaron this morning, to cheer him up. Consider it a sort of warm up.
It was the twilight of their lives. After retiring, Bess took a volunteer job cleaning up the stacks of their local library, Jeffrey had picked up gardening. It was Autumn and the golden pair was sitting in their doilied living room half-watching TV after having finished a dinner of tortellini soup and a new recipe for peanut butter pie left over from the weekend.
"Oh Bess. Isn't it a great life we have here?"
"Oh, Jeffrey, you said it."
"I'm glad we made that peanut butter pie."
"Tommy and Lisa wouldn't have had it otherwise, no sir!" Bess said with an anachronistic sarcasm not quite a guffaw.
Their favorite grandchildren had just come up from West Haven to pay them a visit; made a humorous attempt at teaching them what Bess kept calling "the emails." It was as satisfying for the kids to have been able to teach something for their first time, as it was for the grandparents to learn something after so many years of assuming they'd seen everything. Now it was just them. Sitting, relaxing.
The peanut butter monster showed up...
"Bess, hon. Did you start another peanut butter pie?"
"Well no, Jeffrey. You're talking about that smell?"
"I thought I was just having a senior moment."
But then it rumbled to high stinking peanut butter heaven again. This time it was audible too. BRRBRBBRLLL. Like someone was simmering a pot of peanut butter chili, except it smelled like peanut butter chili. Then, before either of them could get on their feet, Jeffrey was catapulted into the air with the force of a peanut butter geyser exploding through his anus, ripping through his army surplus kakhis and coming to life as a tetrahedron. Chunky. Very chunky.
Bess, though not characteristically religious, started saying the names of holy saints, starting with Jesus Motherf***ing Holy Christ, and started to run with the legs of an 18 year old before finding herself cornered between the wall with wood siding and the wall with crown molding. The peanut butter monster, whose real name was Bielzenut McBaal, had rendered Jeffrey into a blooming mess and now turned his attention to her.
"I am Bielzenut McBaal," said Bielzenut McBaal.
"What do you want from us?" said Bess.
"You, Bess. I want YOU!!!" Bielzenut said, as he spiraled out of control like an amateur lasso, whipping Bess with pelts of whole peanut that didn't get crushed on their way to becoming butter.
I didn't have the energy to finish this story (though I invite you to try), and I'm sorry for anyone this offends. For those offended, I'd like to say for the record, that there is in fact, no such thing as a peanut butter monster, nor do grandparents ever favor any particular set of grandchildren. This is a total fiction, and that's what makes it ok to laugh.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Another friend told me if he heard another person say "it's high time we had a woman in office" he'd puke.
I thought the election would be a safe topic of conversation with one wealthy unemployed slacker friend who'd never said a word about politics before, but at the mere mention of Super Tuesday she guffawed, "as if America would ever let a black junior senator be president. I'm not wasting my vote on anyone but Hillary."
I decided not to take sides publicly.
And now, I've just voted, and though I won't say for whom, I can tell you it was a tough decision. The last thought that went through my head as I walked into that smelly polling station (really. It smelled like chicken livers and baby poo.):
In the past, I'd voted for Nader and I'd voted for Kucinich. In other words, I could give two gay donkey balls about electability. Shit, the word doesn't even register on my word processor (though neither does "Kucinich").
So why do I care who has a better shot of beating McRomnebee all of a sudden (and please don't bother trying to sell me the GOP. Even McCain, who is supposedly the avatar of independents falls well short of my very low threshold of basic human rights)? Well, in typically solipsistic fashion, the democratic candidates have sufficed only to prove that they are more or less the same. I have as little and as much faith in all of them. So why not go with the more likable one, right? (Sigh)
Voting has never felt as unfulfilling as it did today, and that too, is probably a symptom of aging.
Iraq the vote.
Monday, February 4, 2008
In Le Métro, I heard the most amazing music ever. It was a group of men ranging about 25-60 years in age. To my unfamiliar eyes they looked like Eastern Europeans of some kind, singing what was the most beautiful chorus I'd ever heard underground, to an orchestra of alto strings and a cimitar. The song nearly brought tears to my eyes.
They were selling CD's but I went Algernon and thought it'd be online. I rushed my way past them to my quai, throwing into their bucket what later turned out to be 7 Euros in coins, or 20 million US Dollars.
Fast-forward to today: Anne, desperately searching for any evidence of this orchestra, finds this:
This, folks, is the band, and that was the song they sang, and even though low-res video on YouTube does it no justice, you'll have to trust it was an emotional experience to hear these men sing it in their perfect perfect harmony.
It turns out they are called Les Musiciens de Lviv (Ukraine), and the song they're singing is "Tamo Daleko."
Tamo Daleko turns out to be a really sad song Serb soldiers sang during World War I in memory of those lost or faraway. link
And here's a more traditional rendering of the song:
Note: having no idea what is actually being sang or what's posting in this video, I was totally taken aback by the 1 minute mark in the above clip. I never thought I'd see two totally unrelated versions of a Disney rape scene in one day (ibid: previous posting about Art Comix).
But the irony doesn't stop there. Here's the latest Ukraine-pop version of the same song:
Anyway, I went agoogling for something I could link to, but mis-remembered the name of the exhibit as Art Comix, and queried "art comix."
I would have needed at least ten guesses to come up with the first and eponymous search result.
I don't know what surprised me more, the fact that the DPRK didn't have mobile phone service already available, or that it's going to be allowed at all. The Financial Times reports that the Egyptian mobile carrier that won the service contract with Dear Leader's government will likely never see a profit from this, but hey, maybe they'll have those awesome Raï ringtones.
I got back from Paris this week happier than ever to return home, only to be disappointed by Brooklyn, and then to fall into such a sensitivity as to tear apart friends for reasons that only materialized in the thinnest air next to space.
...which then makes me wish I were back in Paris.
and bring everyone from Brooklyn with me.
PS: What an amazing football game last night, eh?