November 20, 2010

Harry Truman.


33rd President of the United States of America
1884 - 1872


Harry S Truman was the 34th Vice President of the US until April 12, 1945 when he succeeded to the presidency after Franklin D. Roosevelt died less than three months into his historic fourth term in office.

Harry Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri to John Truman, a farmer and livestock dealer, and his wife Martha Young Truman. The young Harry was interested mainly in music, reading, and history and maintained a close relationship with his mother. He served as an officer in World War I and as battery commander of an artillery regiment in France. Upon returning from war he married Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace on June 28, 1919. The couple would have one child, a daughter, Mary Margaret.

Truman operated a haberdashery in Kansas City that went bankrupt during the recession of 1921; he managed to pay off the debt by 1934 shortly before entering the US Senate. From 1922 to 1924 he served as judge of the County Court of eastern Jackson County and in 1926 was elected presiding judge for the court, a position for which he was re-elected in 1930.

With the backing of Tom Pendergast he won the 1934 US Senate seat for Missouri. In 1940 Truman won in the Democratic primary for the Senate by 8000 votes. In September of that year he was elected Grand Master of the Missouri Grand Lodge of Freemasonry, a win that he would later say assisted his win in the general election. He gained national visibility by fighting waste and corruption in World War II through the 'Truman Committee', an effort that would culminate in many billions of dollars worth of savings for America and much attention for Truman.

In 1944 Truman was chosen as Franklin Roosevelt's running mate, though he has always maintained he was reluctant to pursue the position of Vice President. Roosevelt-Truman scored a 432-99 electoral-vote victory in the 1944 Presidential election. Truman was sworn in on January 20, 1945 but he would serve less than three months as Vice President.

On April 12, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away. Offering his consolation to the widowed Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman asked, "Is there anything I can do for you?" Mrs. Roosevelt responded, "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now." (From 'Eleanor & Harry: The Correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S Truman')


The official White House biography of Harry Truman notes that "as President, Truman made some of the most crucial decisions in history". Shortly after he assumed office - just a few weeks later, in fact - the Allies realized victory in Europe on his 61st birthday. In August 1945 Truman authorized the use of atomic weapons against Japan after the Japanese turned down the Potsdam Declaration. On August 6, 1945 the US B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima. On August 9, 1945 the US B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped atomic bomb Fat Man on Nagasaki. The Japanese agreed to surrender on August 14 and Eleanor Roosevelt noted that Truman had "made the only decision he could". The White House biography states that "In June 1945 Truman witnessed the signing of the charter of the United Nations, hopefully established to preserve peace."

Truman strongly supported creation of the United Nations and instituted the 'Marshall Plan' which was designed to assist with the rebuilding of post-war Europe. He also signed the National Security Act of 1947 which, among other things, created the CIA and the National Security Council. On May 14, 1948 Truman recognized the State of Israel, eleven minutes after it declared itself a nation.

During the 1948 presidential election, Truman strongly backed civil rights and issued Executive Order 9981 which racially integrated the US Armed Services. He then embarked on a 'whistlestop' campaign tour, criss-crossing the country on a train from the rear platform of which he'd deliver brief speeches at every stop. He opened the election with only a 36% approval rating but final tally showed him with 303 electoral votes while nearest rival Dewey held only 189.

Truman's second term in office saw him announce the detonation of the first US hydrogen bomb on January 7, 1953, offer strong support to NATO, and intervene in the Chinese Civil War in June of 1950. The August 1948 statement of Whittaker Chambers (former Soviet spy and senior Time editor) that there had been an underground communist movement in the US government gave rise to Joseph McCarthy and his attack on the Truman administration's credibility. Truman disliked McCarthy and countered by stating that McCarthy's organization was "trying to create fear and suspicion among us by the use of slander, unproved accusations and just plain lies."

On June 25, 1950 the North Korean People's Army invaded South Korea, precipitating the Korean War. Truman urged the United Nations to intervene and, when the hastily-deployed American troops proved to be few and under-equipped, decided on a roll-back policy; that is, conquest of North Korea. Early victories led to an unfortunate stalemate at the 38th parallel, essentially where the war had begun. General MacArthur wanted to attack Chinese supply bases north of the Yalu but Truman rejected the plan and, when it later leaked to the press, fired MacArthur. The least politically popular move of his career would prove to be the firing of MacArthur. Truman's approval rating plummeted and he endured impeachment calls. The Korean War remained in stalemate for two years until a peace agreement ended the conflict and restored borders.

In 1948 Truman had ordered a controversial addition to the White House: a balcony known as the 'Truman Balcony' which quickly proved the only stable part of a deteriorating House. The White House partially collapsed and was closed for extensive interior renovations from 1948 to 1952 with only the newer West Wing remaining open. Truman and his family moved across the street into Blair House and he walked to work each day. On November 1, 1950 Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate Truman at Blair House. A mortally wounded White House policeman, Leslie Coffelt, killed one of the nationalists before dying himself.

The Truman administration continued to be dogged by accusations of Soviet infiltration and bribery scandals among senior officials. Truman decided not to run for a third term - being that he was the president in power when the 22nd Amendment (making a president ineligible for election a third time) was ratified in 1951 he was still eligible - and instead retired to Independence, Missouri.


~ this history lesson was brought to you by 'We Didn't Start The Fire', Billy Joel, and the letters U, S, and A. ~

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_S._Truman
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/
http://search.time.com/results.html?N=0&Nty=1&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=Full+Archive&Ntt=harry+s+truman&x=0&y=0
http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/harrystruman

November 18, 2010

WE DIDNT START THE FIRE
BILLY JOEL

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye"

Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock"

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai"

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

"Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

CHORUS:
We didn't start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...


I have always believed I would have retained a lot more of what I was taught in school if everything had been set to music. My ability to memorize song lyrics is baffling and, in most cases, useless. But if physics theories had been sung by New Kids On The Block... well, I might be a genius today.

Of course some songs do teach you things. One of the most thorough pop examples in relatively recent history is Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start The Fire' which walks you through the major events of the 20th century up until the point Joel wrote the song. It doesn't explain the events or give any context but memorizing those lyrics gives you an intense rundown on a fairly active little segment of history. And while listening to the song in a fit of nostalgia the other day I came up with the idea of expanding my mind by way of historical readings via Billy Joel. Basically I'm going to research every single thing mentioned in 'We Didn't Start The Fire' and blog about my findings. This will tidily combine pop culture, music, and learning in one handy package. Which - as apparently only Sesame Street, Maria Von Trapp, and Billy Joel understand - is really the key to knowledge retention.

The first step: Writing out the song in it's entirety.

During this phase I realized two very important things. Firstly, the trouble wasn't in the sewers. The trouble was in the Suez. So it's not a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's the Suez Canal. Secondly, there aren't Belgians in the condo. The Belgians were in the Congo. I suppose either way constitutes some sort of invasion but Belgians in the condo strongly suggests waffles and I suspect the reference is slightly more pressing than breakfast.

Having thus cleared up minor confusion, I am armed with accurate lyrics and the power of the internet. Let the history lesson commence!

November 9, 2010

Such a little thing to ask for, really.


You know what this is, right?
An Addams Family pinball machine. I've been asking for one for... I don't know, ever? This gorgeous machine would look utterly perfect in literally any room in my home. And I would play it constantly. (Unlike my CSI Xbox 360 game which I only play periodically because I get frustrated when I can't swab Catherine or, also, you know, solve the crime.)

Item of note: the house this particular pinball machine is sitting in is not mine. That is somebody else's house. Some total stranger's home has MY PINBALL MACHINE sitting in it.

Seriously, people of the internet - take up a collection! Donate to this worthy cause and I'll let you come over and play for free. (Airfare to and from New Zealand is on you, though.)

November 2, 2010

Will Cotton

American painter Will Cotton specializes in dreamy fantasy worlds comprised of candy and spun sugar, frequently inhabited by lounging naked girls. The wildly idealized settings - as fairytale impossible as the witch's Gingerbread House in 'Hansel and Gretel' and very reminiscent of that tale minus the attendant threat and wickedness - are rendered in a hyper realistic style and the result is utterly intoxicating. His girls look like angels in some confectionery heaven; perhaps they are the grown-up versions of those children 'nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads' I remember hearing about every Christmas.

Frosted

Cotton Candy Clouds

Consuming Folly

Candy Stick Forest

Appenine

Sugar Beach

October 20, 2010

George Eads for Superman


Join the campaign.
Do the right thing.
Vote George Eads for the Man of Steel!


It's just the right thing to do.

October 8, 2010

If I don't stop listening to Men At Work's 'Who Can It Be Now' I think Balthazar will issue a moratorium on all 80s music just to preempt any further repetitive obsessions.

How did I not listen to this song when it first came out?
How did I miss it?
How is it that every single time I play it (daily, hourly) it is the most perfect song for that moment?

It has to have been used in a CSI episode at some point. That's the only thing that could explain the deep subliminal attachment, really. Or perhaps it featured in The A-Team? Everything in life is directly connected to pop culture and if you don't believe that you are still living in a cave or frozen in time. And even then we have pop culture for that scenario. Encino Man? I'm just saying.

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the awesome of Men At Work.

October 1, 2010

Stephen J. Cannell Productions Logo (1987)


RIP Stephen J. Cannell

The man who wrote and produced the 80s visual accompaniment to much of my childhood:

The A-Team

21 Jump Street

Hunter


Thank you. And you will be missed.

September 27, 2010

In Which I Post A Photo Of Anjelica Chosen At Random And Compose A Poem About It



Watching The Dead
admittedly
for the first hour I thought I'd die
of boredom
until something
in the idly meandering narrative
speared me
I suspect it was solely you
and that wrenching confessional
of a climax
The Dead
rather aptly named
for what doesn't kill you
will destroy you
which seems a fitting tribute
for all the best stories
quietly told

September 21, 2010

Guess what starts again this Thursday?

I'll give you three clues.





Still stumped? Have a bonus clue.

September 14, 2010

So that happened.

Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs.

In order to fully comprehend what a dress made of meat looks like go ahead and take a look at the full-length 'glory' of it and then examine it in close-up.

I'll just say "ew" and be done with it. I don't even eat meat so I can't fathom the mind-set behind slathering my entire body in layers of dead animal. Would it smell? Would it feel squishy and cold? Just, ew. Statements I get. Fashion I get. Controversy I get. But honey, a dress made out of meat? Look, at least next year be equal opportunity and wear a dress made out of lettuce. Or tofu.

But the Lady's first dress (she wore three) of the evening was a stunning Alexander McQueen gown of taffeta and gold and Renaissance portraiture that was an absolute dream. It was like a clothing version of the Louvre. Truly, utterly gorgeous.

One day very soon the most shocking thing Lady Gaga will be able to do is leave home in sweatpants and flip-flops. Or, I suppose, have somebody else wear her to an event.

So that happened.

Twitter told me tonight that "Something is technically wrong". This cracked me up. I can't quite tell if the wording is deliberate or stupid but it makes me wonder if there are other error messages that read "Something is actually wrong" and "Something is literally wrong" and "Something is basically wrong" that pop up at random just to keep things interesting.

Also, Tumblr continues to suck all meaning out of life and yet be indescribably addictive. I suppose this statement could be true of many addictive things, actually. Heroin. Meth. The Real Housewives of _______.

And finally, I hear rumors that this - season eleven - will be Marg Helgenberger's last season on CSI. You know, rumor schmumor. Until Catherine is actually killed off by some miniature-making intestinal-bow-tying serial killer (is it just me or are the killers getting a bit too... arty?) or Marg herself steps up and says, on record, "It's been fun but I am out of here", I refuse to believe anything. Because I heart Catherine. CSI, hurry back.

I've started watching China Beach again. It's amazing. It's just so... good.

So that happened too.

September 9, 2010


Hint: Boy George.

I found it online in a forum where they were discussing the fact that Boy George tweeted that "the chameleon joke has been done to death" and since everyone wanted to know what chameleon joke he was referring to, some helpful soul posted the above image.

I did laugh. I did. And now, Boy George, it's going to spread like wildfire all over again. And there will be t-shirts made. And they will be awesome.

September 7, 2010

And now lyrics from Scott Walker's '30 Century Man'.

Play it cool and Saranwrap all you can
Be a 30 Century Man
You can freeze like a 30 Century Man
Like a 30 Century Man

I have... questions.

Arguably the most pressing is "Saranwrap?"

From the Imagined Future History Books...

"In the 30th century men saranwrapped all they could. Additionally they froze goods for use later and this practice, along with the use of copious amounts of saranwrap, would be what set 30th century men distinctly apart from their predecessors. Presumably this shift in sensibilities was due to the pervading filth left over from 20th century men who were notorious scallywags and ne'er-do-wells who did not saranwrap much of anything, and thus allowed mold and dirt to hold sway over a staggering majority of households and office fridges in their day. All that changed in the 30th century, however, and the neglect of prior years would give way to a new world order of cleanliness and preservation through freeze-wrapping."

September 4, 2010

My life has become wildly dramatic now that I've decided everything around the house needs to be done to the Inception soundtrack.

Level where I'm making my bed -----> Reality.

Level where beach-side hotel bed makes me -----> My dream.

Level where the Labyrinth goblin army eats my bed -----> David Bowie's dream.

Level where I am the Goblin Queen -----> Jim Henson's dream.

Limbo.

September 1, 2010

And now a Haiku.

Cold outside and dark
The heater alights my leg
I am without meme

August 29, 2010

My attention span for this meme is waning. I love Anjelica but I do not love memes, as it turns out. But for the sake of completion I am going to push through the final six days in one epic post.

Starting now.

Day 25: Oscar Nominated Role That Should Have Won An Oscar But Didn't

(If the following answer surprises you in any way, welcome to The Crypt! It's always nice to have newcomers visit.)

Lilly Dillon. The Grifters.


Day 26: Favorite Interview

All interviews with her are thought-provoking and highly entertaining. Like when she said the host's desktop screensaver reminded her of female anatomy. Or when she said she liked playing witches because in reality she's so pathetic. Or the time she was followed around by a reporter for a sort of 'day in the life' piece and was recorded as sighing happily when informed by a friend that her (now late) husband would be getting her rubies for her birthday. Or how somehow it became public knowledge through interviews and articles that she doesn't like wearing bras. Or the time she said drugs are fun and that not admitting as much is what's so stupid about anti-drug campaigns. Etc. She's endlessly quotable. So I can't pick a favorite.


Day 27: Favorite Animated Role (if applicable)


Indeed IMDb informs me that she has featured in not one but five animated features. Three Tinkerbell movies, Kaena: The Prophecy, and Spirit of the Forest. I haven't seen any of them. But based solely on character names alone, I'm going to pick her Tinkerbell role of Queen Clarion as my favorite. Because this is my Crypt and I am the Keeper.

Amended to add: SIX animated features. I neglected to mention her work as Gothel in 'Barbie as Rapunzel' (thank you, Commander). But my favorite name is still Queen Clarion.


Day 28: Film Idea You Would Create For Actor/Actress


I would give just about anything to see Anjelica Huston play a vampire. An icy, bloodthirsty, regal vampire who's sort of half Lilly Dillon and half Viviane from The Mists of Avalon with a dash of Maida from The Ice Pirates and Eva Ernst thrown in for good measure. But undead. And utterly remorseless in her thirst. In some dangerous tale of predatory thrills.

Also there is a character in Jim Thompson's novel The Getaway (forget the film versions for the purpose of this discussion because neither the Steve McQueen original nor the Alec Baldwin remake have ever delved into the true darkness of the novel and properly explored the truly grotesque lengths to which the McCoys had to go in order to get away) called Ma Santis who is the matriarch of a family of accomplished criminals. She is described as being "a rawboned giant of a woman" and "now at age sixty-four, and after more than twenty years in prison, Ma was as completely unreconstructed as she had been at fourteen". I think Anjelica would own and define Ma Santis and I would love to see her bring that particular character to life.


Day 29: First Role of Actor/Actress

According to IMDb her first role ever was in 1966's Casino Royale with an uncredited turn as 'Agent Mimi's hands'. But her first starring role was in her teens in one of her father John Huston's films.




Day 30: Upcoming Role You Are Most Excited For


All of them. Really, I just love watching what she does onscreen. Talent is mesmerizing.

But I admit I'm interested in The Big Year (a comedy about bird-watching) and Live With It (in which I believe she plays Joseph Gordon-Levitt's mother).

And voila!
Thirty days of Anjelica Huston.

August 24, 2010

Day 24: Favorite Cast

August 22, 2010

Day 23: What Would You Do If You Met Them In Person


But after that I'd be cool.

August 20, 2010

Day 22: Favorite Fan Video

No.

Just no.

August 18, 2010

Day 21: Favorite Genre of Film for This Actor/Actress

Villain.

Or witch.

What?

Oh fine... wicked drama.

August 15, 2010

Day 20: Favorite Scene From Any Film


From The Royal Tenenbaums, of course.

And as a bonus, my favorite scene from a TV show featuring Anjelica. In this case, from Huff.

August 14, 2010

Day 19: Best Onscreen Kiss

I'll have you know I resisted the urge to use The Grifters in this category and you can all thank me for that. (Both for spoiler reasons and for... um, yeah...)

Instead, I'll go with the blindingly obvious.

Morticia and Gomez: the greatest love story ever told.

August 12, 2010

Day 18: A Film You Wish They'd Never Been Involved In

(I'm using the 'day' part of this meme loosely. As in 'Day: Whenever I Get To The Next Topic In Sequence'.)

I find this topic slightly cruel; not everything can be an undeniable work of art. And John Cusack once explained his presence in Con Air (a film I unashamedly love, truth be told) by saying that you make the big blockbuster movie to finance all the little indie gems you're dying to film. They can't all be exquisite and little-seen works of unique vision or gritty ground-breaking noir or whatever. And I enjoy Anjelica's performance and presence in just about everything - no lie, now. For serious. But there are one or two... you know...

Okay, I'll just say it.

WHY!?
My EYES!!
I would also put Daddy Day Care in this category.

August 10, 2010

Day 17: Favorite Supporting Role



August 9, 2010

Day 16: Favorite Leading Role

(You're tiring me out, meme. You kind of keep asking the same questions. AND I JUST KEEP PICKING THE GRIFTERS. You're forcing me to do something totally radical, meme. Remember that you asked for this.)

This isn't Anjelica. But doesn't it LOOK like her? I think she would have made (would still make) a really quite unbelievably sinister Jadis. No disrespect at all to Tilda Swinton who was by far my favorite part of the recent Narnia movie. All I'm saying is... doesn't this look eerily like Anjelica? Or perhaps isn't this a bizarre photoshop mystery? As far as I'm aware she's never played the White Witch but if she had it would be a leading role and it would be singularly awesome. And since the White Witch is my favorite Narnia character... Look, it's weird is all I'm saying.

You made me do it, meme. Because I can't pick The Grifters for everything. It's like denouncing everything else she's done which is equally brilliant. And yet... The Grifters! I hate you, meme. You're like a Teen Beat questionnaire. You're so pointless and repetitive and yet I... can't... look away... must know... Joe from NKTOB's... favorite... color!

August 7, 2010

Day 15: A Letter To Actor/Actress
Take Two


Dear Anjelica,

You are fucking incredible.
Don't stop.

Love,
Gabrielle
Day 15: A Letter To Actor/Actress

How many fan letters have I actually written in my lifetime? (Applying to Starfleet Academy doesn't count. Technically that was an application, not a fan letter.) I think... one. And it wasn't strictly speaking a fan letter. I wrote a fan review of the resurrected (and short-lived) 'Hunter' TV show and submitted it to whatever network was airing it and in response I got an autographed photo of Stepfanie Kramer. Okay, not to say I wasn't stoked - I so was! Autographed photo of Stepfanie Kramer! None of you know who she is! You're all lame! - but the point is that it was actually a submitted review, not a fan letter. I'll count it, though.

Anyway. Anjelica.

I haven't written her a quote/unquote fan letter and by god even if I had do you really think I'd post it here for all of you mad mortals to gawk at?

Or, you can look at this way. Every single post I write about what a great talent Anjelica Huston has and how lovely I think she is and how much you really ought to see one of her movies or another, etc, is, in effect, a letter about how much I appreciate her and what she does. So you've already been reading it. And it may never end.

August 6, 2010

Day 14: A Role Actor/Actress Could/Should Have Been Cast In

For godsakes.

I just don't have the energy to hunt around for a role that she could have played instead whoever actually did play it. I'm sure there are many she could have brought something fabulous to. BUT DO I HAVE THAT KIND OF TIME?

Look, she was up for the Kathy Bates role in Misery but was already committed to The Grifters and I really think she made the best choice there.

I personally think it would have been extraordinarily fun to see her in The Witches of Eastwick alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon giving ex Jack Nicholson a hard time but then again I really like Cher and think the movie was pretty great as is.

So I'm flagging this question.
Day 13: Favorite Onscreen Coupling

Well, really.
Morticia and Gomez Addams obviously.

August 3, 2010

Day 12: Favorite Outfit

Sublime.

August 1, 2010

Day 11: Favorite GIF

I made this one of Anjelica as the Grand High Witch from The Witches putting her face back on because it cracks me up every time.

avatars myspace with Gickr
Make your own animation

But the best ever GIF I found on Tumblr (all kudos to noracharles for creating it) and you really must see it. Right before she won the Oscar for Prizzi's Honor. Best reaction ever.

July 30, 2010

Day 10: Favorite Quote in Character


"Nor do I think it's very intelligent to keep an electrical gadget on the edge of the bathtub." - Etheline Tenenbaum, The Royal Tenenbaums

And...


"And our credo: 'Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.' We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. Not just pretty words." - Morticia Addams, The Addams Family

July 28, 2010

Day 9: Favorite Quote (Outside of Film)

I want to post a quote about how she decided to act the final scene of The Grifters because it's awesome but it's also very spoiler-y and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who still hasn't seen the film so instead I'll chose this:

"People say, 'Why is it that you love to act?' And you want to say, 'Well, most of acting is sitting in your trailer, either bored or worried about the scene coming up.' A lot of it is about things you don't really like, so it's a wonder why acting is such a huge draw, why everyone loves it so much."

And also this:
Huston: "There have been times when I wanted children, and other times I've been grateful not to have them."
Graham: "They have a lot of germs. You can't live with them without catching them."

Seriously, I'm dying. That's hilarious to me. (Though, okay, technically not strictly an Anjelica quote.)

How about this:
"I like foreboding parts. But it's because I'm such a coward."
Day 8: Favorite Performance That Was Not Nominated For Oscar

(Oh meme. *facepalm*)


Morticia Addams.
Obviously.

July 26, 2010

DAY 7: FAVORITE PHOTOSHOOT

Only ONE?!?

The Bob Richardson one with the horse. Has got to be. My favorite photo. Ever. (Why am I talking. Like Kirk?)

But this...
David Bailey on an epic Vogue assignment with Anjelica and a young Manolo Blahnik is also utterly perfect.

July 25, 2010

DAY 6: FAVORITE OSCAR NOMINATED PERFORMANCE

She's been nominated three times - Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Grifters, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Enemies: A Love Story, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Prizzi's Honor.

And she's brilliant in all of them. I'm choosing the role she won for just to help me narrow it down because seriously, they're all amazing.

Maerose Prizzi in Prizzi's Honor. Maerose is not the lead - that would be Kathleen Turner's Irene - but she is far more pivotal and fascinating. Kathleen Turner acknowledged as much at the time. She knew Anjelica had the plum role with Maerose but she agreed to play Irene anyway so she could work with John Huston. Everybody involved had to have known that Anjelica would take the Oscar if anyone did - not only is Maerose key but Anjelica owned her.

July 24, 2010

DAY 5: FAVORITE ROLE IN OTHER CATEGORY

I decided to go ahead and create my own category since the meme doesn't actually specify 'genre', see. I mean 'genre' is something tangible - horror or science fiction or romantic comedy - but 'other category' is sort of amorphous and intangible. JUST LIKE THE CATEGORY I'M NOW MAKING UP. 'Villainesses'. Take that, meme.

Eva Ernst, the Grand High Witch of The Witches. The kind of role that gives kids nightmares and reminds adults that scene stealing is an art and only the best of the best can do it without trying. Also, what sort of accent was she sporting? I don't know but it is made of AWESOME.

July 22, 2010

DAY 4: FAVORITE DRAMATIC ROLE

(Because all roles aren't ultimately dramatic, meme? You're killing me.)

I'm not clear on the rules here - since I've already chosen Lilly Dillon in The Grifters as my all-time favorite role, does that negate choosing it as my favorite dramatic role too? I mean is that a bit repetitive?

Well allow me to repeat myself, then. Lilly Dillon in The Grifters. If you haven't seen this film yet, go get a copy right now. It's amazing. And she'll break you in two with her performance.
DAY 3: FAVORITE ROMANTIC ROLE

(You know, the wording of these does my head in - favorite role in a romance? Favorite role that features her character in a romantic situation? Favorite role in a movie that embodies romantic notions? It's a meme, I know, get over it.)

I'll assume this means 'movie in which her role is romantic in nature' and therefore exclude things like Ice Pirates and Choke from consideration.

I choose the smart and sexy Marcia Fox from Manhattan Murder Mystery. Anjelica is the epitome of tantalizing long-legged wit in this. No wonder both Woody Allen and Alan Alda fall all over themselves drooling through the film. True, Morticia and Gomez Addams have the greatest romance ever but The Addams Family is not a romantic film by nature nor is Morticia simply a romantic interest. Whereas Marcia Fox is introduced solely to befuddle the menfolk and sexily propel the murder investigation forward.

July 21, 2010

30 Days of Anjelica

DAY 2: FAVORITE ROLE IN A COMEDY

I assume this means actual comedy film and not just role that is somehow comedic by virtue of how weirdly bad the movie is or how certain moments make me laugh even though they are not, in and of themselves, comedy.


Oh shush. You seriously expect me to choose between Eleanor Zissou and Etheline Tenenbaum? Please. The Life Aquatic and The Royal Tenenbaums are masterpieces and for every arch bitchy thing Eleanor is, Etheline's stoic warmth balances it until you see that these two are, in fact, perfectly realized sides of the same coin. I wrote a whole essay on this once. About how Eleanor and Etheline, despite how differently they look and behave at first glance, actually fulfill the same anchoring roles in each film. Don't get me started on it again here. I'm picking both because I love both.

Though I will give you that possibly Eleanor edges Etheline out in the humor department. Except for that "In any case I don't think it's wise to keep an electrical gadget so close to the tub" moment. And the awkward sexual admission at the dig site. Okay, nevermind, they're both hilarious.

July 20, 2010

30 Days of Anjelica

This is based on a Tumblr meme several tumbleblogs are featuring - oddly enough also about Anjelica (or not oddly considering I'm following them) - in which you choose your favorite actor or actress and then answer a question a day regarding them for thirty days. I choose Anjelica Huston.

DAY ONE: ALL TIME FAVORITE ROLE


After a lot of internal debate I'm going to go with my gut instinct on this one and choose Lilly Dillon in The Grifters. I could easily have chosen Morticia from The Addams Family (because she owned Morticia) but there's something about The Grifters... something about her portrayal of Lilly... that tough-as-nails brashness, the vulnerable fear in the unforgettable oranges scene, the unapologetic clawing for survival... Lilly Dillon was a tour de force for Anjelica and a performance I never tire of. Ever.

July 11, 2010

This is funny to me.

Maybe it's because I've been sick for three days and therefore not eating at all (it takes a serious illness to get me off my food, I tell you - me and food are TIGHT) but listening to Balthazar talk business on the phone is inexplicably hilarious right now.

He's so INTENT. And then he says things like "I'm sorry I didn't listen to the options at the start and just pressed 1 so I don't know which city you're in" which is SO FUNNY.

And when I crack up, he gives me this suppressed smile/frown hybrid of vague annoyance that only makes everything funnier.

Clearly I need food. Stomach bug, are we through yet?

July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Anjelica Huston.

Speaking at the 11th Annual Costume Designer's Guild Awards.

Raw and brilliant as Lilly Dillon in The Grifters.

At the 1975 Academy Awards with Jack Nicholson.

I adore this woman. She's legend, inspiration, and the unforgettable real deal in talent. She has true style and ability. Respect.

Thank you for all the gorgeous performances and photos thus far, Ms. Huston.

Here's to many many more.

July 7, 2010

She'll Be Back.

Direct quote on the inking of Marg Helgenberger's new contract with CBS ensuring Catherine's return for CSI's 11th season: "Just for you, Torchy-poo."

Everything in that sentence except the quote is true.


Still, she's clearly not impressed that you hoped for Catherine's ultimate demise, Torch. Bad blood between you now. Bad juju.

July 5, 2010

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Tonight I introduced Balthazar to one of my all-time favorite movies.

It never fails to seduce me. I might have watched it twenty times. Critics didn't get it. You only really understand it, I think, if you don't expect anything of it and let it slowly woo you or if you've been to Savannah and have therefore already fallen in love.

Every time I am reminded of that city my heart gives a little throb of longing. Savannah, one day I will return to you. And it will feel like coming home.

July 4, 2010

The Signs Were Happening All Over The Village.

Today, while doing that thing I do, I contemplated the ability to spin gold from shit. This is similar to the skill set of Rumplestiltskin. Except without the blackmail aspect.

I sometimes read the back of DVD covers (or, okay, full disclosure: VHS covers) in video stores (side note: why are they still called 'video' stores when so many pointedly refuse to stock VHS any more?) and wonder whose job it is to write unbearably upbeat and glowing film synopses. Oh. Right. Well let me tell you if you are forced to write enough of them you will inevitably come across a film that is comprised of pure unadulterated shit. Therein lies the quandary, see. Do you wax honest and save future viewers the torture associated with watching what will doubtless be the visual equivalent of Chinese Water Torture or do you, you know, do your job and blow sunshine up the collective asses of the public sector?

If you want to get paid, you do the sunshine thing.

Thus poor people holed up in a DVD slave camp somewhere are probably right now sobbing and rocking back and forth after being forced to write "Eddie Murphy, not surprisingly, carries the show... he manages to inject some poignancy into Norbit's and Wong's characters... It's not Shakespeare but the laughs are as big as Rasputia's muumuu". But my own personal watershed moment came when I had to celebrate the filmic legacy of M. Night Shyamalan in written form.

Sometimes kids, when you're a grown-up, you have to do things you don't like.

Don't point out how brilliant The Sixth Sense was. I never saw it unspoiled. Some critic wrote about the twist and thus negated the entire film for me. I had some like for Unbreakable. I endured Signs but the plagiarized Wicked Witch ending hurt. I wanted to like The Village because of Sigourney Weaver and it would have been good if it was simply a study in human nature versus denial and how you can't hide from what you are, etc, but oh no it had to have a twist. I refused to watch Lady in the Water because M. Night was in it. I can't talk about The Happening because Mother Nature is still pissed about her representation and awaiting her end of the gross so, you know, there are legal difficulties there...

Should we start a refugee camp for the cinematic ideas ill-used by M. Night Shyamalan? A place where abused ideas and scripts could go to recover and perhaps, with treatment, be given a fresh start in the gentle creative care of some new helmer. Somewhere they could reach their full potential.

I swear The Village was a good drama poorly treated and forced to masquerade as a stupid thriller. I think it should be remade. That is what Hollywood does, isn't it?. I suppose Scorsese could adopt it. Leonardo DiCaprio could take over from Adrien Brody and it could be set in Boston instead. Or Tim Burton could make it a madcap gothic adventure and cast Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. I guess every director brings their own personal flair to a project. It's just too bad that M. Night's is vampiric in nature, draining all life out of whatever he touches.

July 2, 2010

For My Sister, Who Has Been Ill


When you are better, Torch will take you to see The A-Team! (Spoiler: You won't see any of the above dance moves in it.) Three cheers!

In honor of you, here are five life lessons The A-Team taught us. We learned something, suckas! Don't say we didn't.

Everything Five Things I Need To Know That Can't Hurt To Know I Learned From The A-Team.

1. Fools deserve your pity.
2. Drink your milk, it's good for you.
3. Be a team player.
4. It's great when plans come together.
5. There is no such thing as too much jewelry.

Suckas!

June 30, 2010

Here There Be Vampyres

(Because bastardizing three of my favorite things results in punny titles.)

On this, the precipice of the film version of Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse, I pause to do my vampiric duty in shaking my head at 'kids these days' and reminiscing (in my rocking chair on my porch while yelling at the kids to get off my damn lawn, naturally) about the vampires of yore.

First, I can no longer use the word 'twilight' without grimacing. For that alone Stephenie Meyer really ought to be held accountable. That is a crime. Twilight was once a lovely word. Evocative, moody, perfectly suitable for that time between evening and nightfall. Now... grimace.

To be fair, in my pre-teen day the most popular vampires were probably The Lost Boys. Kiefer Sutherland and his merry band of leather-jacketed vagabond hellions. Daredevil delinquents rabble-rousing to a pounding soundtrack only to ultimately be offed by the Coreys Deux. Still, all things considered and the 80s being the 80s, The Lost Boys remains a classic even if its mythology is questionable and its actual vampires less undead than gratefully dead -RAWK-. I would take Kiefer and Co. over Edward Von SparklePout any day. Then again, I have both taste and age on my side. Comparatively, I mean.

Reaching farther back, past the sheen of pop culture, I remember when vampires were monsters. They were never, I think, intended for swooning mass consumption by a largely underage audience. Anne Rice is partly to blame for their rebirth into the erotic but despite the beauty and ambiguous sexuality of her vampire anti-heroes, she still understood that their nature was first monstrous and only secondly alluring. The appeal was always underscored by the horror. They could not find true pleasure in anything but blood. Deprived of everything human, they yearned for the life held in veins, companionship and some form of redemption or even death and instead found insanity, loneliness, and damnation. And that is the truth of the vampire, clothed though it may be in the marble flesh of seeming perfection.

Before Anne Rice allowed her vampires to question and brood and be lovely in spite of their hideous nature, vampires were monsters pure and simple. Every culture has a vampire folklore underpinning it and though they all manifest differently and are called by different names, the through-tale of corpses rising after death to feed off the blood of the living has been a staple myth for centuries. Literature first embraced the vampire as a better-dressed and more articulately elegant version of a zombie but they always brought death, destruction, fear, and suffering. They were never a loving force or a protective one but were shadows come to life, night terrors feeding off your very pulse. A host of celluloid vampires pay homage to this time-honored tradition: offering vampires who are truly monstrous creatures, undead and stalking and impossible to escape. If they look beautiful, it is only to ensnare their human prey. Beneath they are calculating threats. Nosferatu, The Shadow of the Vampire, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Salem's Lot, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Hunger, 30 Days of Night.

Along with eroticism, vampires have long been associated with doomed romance. The love born of the monstrous ends in disaster. Mina is forced to kill Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Catherine Deneuve's Miriam is ultimately destroyed by her decayed lovers in The Hunger. The vampire as threat, as animated blood-seeking corpse, as destructive force, as monster is the point. No matter the beauty, no matter the epic span of the romance, the vampire is the unholy undead. No good can come of the alliance between corpse and mortal.

And ultimately what is lost in this generation's feverish adoration of the brooding, sparkling, loyally abstinent boyfriend-vamps of Twilight is the horror. Each generation has it's take on vampires. No two, like decaying snowflakes, appear alike. Yet all, until now, even Anne Rice's beloved Lestat, have been some kind of monster. There has been something in them to fear - either overtly and outright (as with the predatory shrieking creatures in 30 Days of Night) or subtly (as with Interview With The Vampire's quietly woeful Louis). What is there to fear in Twilight except an elite group of vampires in Europe who challenge the status of the do-gooder Cullens or the revenge-driven fury of Victoria? This generation sees vampires as accessible, as matinee idols to worship or as potential boyfriend material. The monsters among them are aberrations, not the norm.

That, to me, is the tragedy. Because whatever else vampires gave us, they gave us nightmares. They fueled our fear of cemeteries and sent prickles up our spines in the dark. They hunted us. They terrified us even as we were drawn to them in fascination. And we loved it.

June 28, 2010

Bond. *cough* James Bond.

I've been ill recently so have spent inordinate amounts of time buried under duvets on the couch watching Bond films back to back.

Ten things I've learned from Pierce Brosnan's Bond:

1. Straighten your tie after nearly being garroted.
2. Defy authority but only in a way that ultimately serves Queen and country.
3. I absolutely need a camouflage-shield for my BMW.
4. I need a BMW first.
(What happened to the Aston Martin? I prefer the Aston Martin.)
5. If your phone can't drive your car, you're doing tele-communications wrong.
6. Media moguls are generally up to no good.
7. Cuban genetic reconstruction technology is virtually Trek-like.
8. If you shoot a villain in the head but don't kill him, you'll turn him into an invincible super-villain.
9. Don't trust women.
10. Unless they're foreign spies like you.

Life lessons for the 90s version of the first world double-o agent in all of us.

June 20, 2010

"I love it when a plan comes together."

Me too.

I love that the plan of making The A-Team into a movie came together in ways too beautiful to eloquently explain here. One day I will write a full 'proper' review but for now suffice it to say that I enjoyed The A-Team (film version) enormously.

I am a long-time fan of The A-Team. I own four of the five seasons on DVD. I have watched every episode countless times. I not only love it when a plan comes together, I know what happens when Hannibal gets on the jazz or BA pities a fool. So I had my concerns and doubts about this film version of my beloved cheese-tastic 80s hit.

But as a fan, I loved it.

I believe I clapped with glee at more than one moment. It was both cheesier and more awesome than I could have hoped for. And the much-maligned casting choices ended up being eerily spot-on. Particularly in the cases of Liam Neeson's Hannibal and Sharlto Copley's Murdock. BANG on. But let me say that I was pleasantly surprised by Bradley Cooper's version of Face besides and Rampage Jackson, while no Mr. T, did enough justice to BA Baracus to earn his place. (Truthfully, if we are honest, Mr. T holds his place in our hearts through sheer force of character and not due to any mighty thespian chops.)

The movie was a stupid amount of fun. It isn't serious. It is full of insane and madcap highly-improbable scenarios. Many many bullets are shot but precious few hit actual human targets. And there are plenty of wink-wink insider jokes that enhance the experience for long-time fans but won't negatively detract from any of the weird and wonderful action moments flying by onscreen for those newbies in the audience.

Okay, so this ended up being a sort of on-the-spot review. As such I will therefore say that The A-Team is not meant to be taken seriously. Like the show it is light and fluffy and stupid and cheesy and totally enjoyable. You will laugh - it is seriously hilarious in more than a few scenes - and you will catch your breath at some of the more insane action moments and then, seconds after leaving the theatre, you will all but forget everything you just witnessed but you will be left with the lingering feeling of having had a good time. And you will say "Yeah, I enjoyed that. I can't remember it but I'd totally watch it again. Or watch more." Just like the show.

It manages to be both a big-screen bombastic blockbuster and just like the show. Which, come on, hats off to the creators, is no mean feat. Look at Miami Vice. It can go very wrong, is what I'm saying. The A-Team, while not breaking any new ground, takes it's source material and goes very right with it. That is to say it doesn't re-invent the wheel or actually invent anything at all. So all that's left for it to do is have fun.

Just like the show.

June 16, 2010



All credit goes to rustyangel for showing me these and totally ruining any chance of me being productive in my free time ever again.


You know how everybody online has destroyed LOL by using it as punctuation even when they're not even remotely laughing, certainly not out loud, and may not even be smiling? And kids these days? With their texting and LOLing? Well I hereby invoke the term with all the beauty of its original meaning intact. I LOL @ the above video. True story.

June 15, 2010


Anjelica Huston's blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
(She was dating Jack Nicholson at the time. They really were a hot couple. Sort of rollercoaster, reportedly, but definitely gorgeous.)
I love this photo. She has such an effortless chic about her.

June 11, 2010

ode to sex and the city 2

it is fitting
that there are four of you
so-called 'girls'
in this film
for there are also
i'm told
four horsemen of the apocalypse.
which you surely are.
(though you would call yourselves
'horsegirls' of the apocalypse.)
and oddly such a thought comforts me
for at least it lends a purpose
to your ill-advised cavorting
on my screen.
please do not do this again.

the end.

June 9, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

How strange that this never occurred to me until Homie of the Beareth pointed it out: I'm a girl with a dragon tattoo.

I'm also not ignoring you beautiful mortals who bite me (even just to trash Catherine). I simply can't comment in my own Crypt. Perhaps under this new commenting regime I will cease to exist if I am able to bite my own vein. I suppose there is a certain perverse logic to that.

But then what of this?