And they say American music is dead? -- I just received a frightening email from TicketMaster. It suggests I "won't want to miss these event(s) that matched [my] interests," and proceeds to list a Frankensteinian hodgepodge including: Earth Wind & Fire, Morrissey, Boz Scaggs, Pat Benatar, the professional soccer quarterfinals featuring Trinidad & Tobago playing Guatemala, something called the "Solid Gold Dance Party," Michael McDonald, Evanescence, and as a final blow, High School Musical: On Ice! Memo to Ticketmaster: I'd only pay to see Morrissey on a Smiths Reunion Tour, duh.


The apocalypse is upon us. -- Yes, that is Karl Rove, busting a move at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Watch his whole mind-boggling "rap" performance here...if you dare.
"If he's truly having fun, he's either the most thick-skinned 17-year-old in America or the one with the largest sense of self-delusion." -- Let's plumb the mystery of Sanjaya, shall we? The kid is turning into the Teflon Don of American Idol, voted back on (and above the bottom 3) every week despite his complete lack of chops, stage presence, or moves. Who are these teenyboppers swooning over him? The same kids who made High School Musical the #1 album last year, I guess. And I for one am starting to appreciate the guy's demented moxie -- he just keeps doing his dorky, camp talent night thing, despite the outrage of snobs everywhere. Actually, in the end I'd rather see him succeed than Haley, the Disneyfied divabot who also somehow sticks around every week. Whatever -- I'd buy a ticket to see Melinda and Lakisha on tour together tomorrow, but I'll keep watching Idol to see what happens to Fauxhawk Boy.


"Do not keep asking me, 'Is it decaf? Did you get that? I ordered decaf. Are you sure it’s decaf?' F+CK YOU. Yes, I got it." -- A grande, hot & foamy cup of delicious vitriol from a Starbucks barista, aimed at all the "silly, sad caffeine addicts who line up like lemmings for overpriced lattes every morning." Ouch!
"This is what a trans-fat looks like." -- Ah, the life of an Unpaid Intern. Up in Seattle, slaving over an alternative weekly paper, spending your days creating deep-fried, bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed hot dogs. And blogging it, of course.


Where's the outrage, Boston? -- These buttons shouldn't exist. They're souvenirs of the 70+ murder victims in the city last year, created by Clementina Chery at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. Louis was one of those victims too, and Clementina is his mother. Can you believe how much of her time, at this PEACE INSTITUTE she founded, is spent consoling the families of MORE MURDER VICTIMS? She should take those buttons and pin them all over Menino and O'Brien's offices...or maybe pass the basket around at a few suburban PTA meetings? Christ. The Institute also offers a Peace Curriculum for area schools, and is always looking for donations and volunteers...let's hope it puts itself out of business, soon.


"There is no known holy book that won't burst into flames as he approaches . . . Not even a wear-worn, dog-eared copy of Dianetics. Well, maybe they can swear him in on a Wall Street Journal." -- Is it Opposite Day on Capitol Hill or what? Sen. Schumer and the Judiciary Committee want none other than Karl "Toady In Chief" Rove to testify about PurgeGate, which has his inky black fingerprints all over it. What's more, there's noise about removing Alberto "Toad Prince" Gonzalez for the same political bootlickery. Sweet!


Better late than never, here's the Hey Baby, What's Your Sign? Edition of Ticket Stub:

* Zodiac -- I never thought this day would come, but I absolutely loved this David Fincher movie. The man who brought forth the brain-scarring nihilism of Se7en and launched its zillion low-rent imitators topped my list of uniquely loathsome humans for over a decade. Watching his movies was like having him spit in my face, or better yet hiring someone to spit in my face while watching and laughing from a hidden vantage. HOWEVER, with Zodiac he has managed to make me forget all that. Seriously. This is the best movie about a serial killer ever made, including Silence of the Lambs. Seriously. And it's not even really about the killer himself, which is what makes it better than SOTL -- it's about the lure of the unknowable stranger and how an obsession with unmasking him wears down, corrupts, and derails the lives of three investigators. Like his cryptic codes and taunting letters, the Zodiac killer is menacing but essentially meaningless and, like all evils, entirely banal. A man who kills for no reason is, by definition, impossible to confront or rationalize. Thus he makes a fine central void for the film, and around this black hole the police and press struggle mightily and in vain -- as Nat pointed out after every TV commercial for the film, they never caught the guy. The movie comes to certain conclusions, but that's beside the point -- the chase and the embellishments of the public imagination on these brutally basic murders is what compels. Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo are excellent as dueling manifestations of 70's San Francisco machismo, one flagrant and one subtle, both disillusioned by their failure to solve the riddle. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the op-ed cartoonist (!) for the SF Chronicle who became an amateur sleuth to follow the case, a Boy Scout who throws over his wife, kids, and career to stay on the trail. And the trail is what the movie is about, not the gory crimes -- although there are a few scenes of awful violence, best avoided. The film has a lot to say about the interplay of media and law enforcement, and celebrity, and the public's fascination with high-profile crimes, but it makes its points quietly. It's visually gripping, and that helps make a long slow unfinished detective story so visceral -- less viscera, more visceral! There are some tricks reminiscent of Spike Lee or Quentin Tarantino (which is to say Scorcese, really), but the murky moodiness Fincher is known for is here put to serious purpose -- he repeatedly places the central figure in partial shadow or partially offscreen, which makes the one shot of the Zodiac in action, closing in on his prey in blazing daylight, a stunner. Extra points for delightful but not distracting costume and set design, especially Chloe Sevigny's overalls and tortoiseshell glasses, which evoked my early-80's mom perfectly. Also for Brian Cox, of course. One point off for using Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" for the same creepy backdrop as "L.I.E.", which also stars Brian Cox...and hey, Donovan's daughter is in this movie...coincidence?! (A)
"Who the hell is going to enforce the immigration laws?" -- Apparently, another totally unqualified Bush crony named Julie Myers. This week's INS/ICE raid on a New Bedford sweatshop has left the Gov hopping mad, hundreds of workers flown out of state and detained, children and spouses left in the lurch, and the factory owner out on bail, of course. Perky apologist Myers is turning out to be the "Heckuva Job, Brownie" of 2007 -- check out the complaints about her Blue Mass Group dug up. Note the complete lack of immigration law experience on her resume -- no wonder this raid was such a success! Between this, Scooter, and USAttorneyGate, I'm thinking we're only a few big tornadoes away from bombing Iran, to draw attention away for our Dead, I mean, Lame Duck Prez.


I think I have created a perfect workday beverage -- that could easily make the leap to happy hour refreshment! It's the Mo-Tea-To, folks. This morning I felt like changing up my usual teatime routine of 1 Twinings English Breakfast + 1/2 packet of Equal + 1 packet True Lemon, which is awesome and is basically a hot Arnold Palmer toddy (minus the toddy). I selected instead a Mint Medley teabag -- after much experimentation, good old basic Bigelows tastes much mintier and fresher than the fancier, greener teas. A dash of sweetener and a True Lime packet brings forth all the breezy flavors of a mojito! Minus the grain alcohol, of course...but that's up to your discretion. Salud!
"The right-wing ideologues who have championed outsourcing, offshoring and union-busting, who have celebrated the same changes that have condemned American workers to lives of financial instability, piously lament the decline of family stability that has followed these economic changes as the night the day." -- Harold Myerson of the Washington Post socks it to the GOP and their two-faced "pro-family" stance, including a stinging last paragraph aimed at Giuliani! I cannot wait until people start to remember that before he was Mr. 9/11 he was the most ruthless, draconian, civil-liberties-crushing bastard this side of Dick Cheney...and if it helps, he's oft-divorced and has a lot of gay friends, so let that sink the nomination, please Lord.


The X Files at #4, not bad -- Check out Boston.com's Top 50 Sci-Fi TV Shows list, and be amazed: Futurama, Firefly and The Outer Limits all beat by Xena! Let the quibbling begin...I propose Tales of the Gold Monkey and Voyagers! be added posthaste.


"Come along and ride on a...fantastic voyage!" -- I hear Coolio when gazing into the incredible work of Jen Stark.
I had a very strange Socio-Roadside Sighting yesterday -- Driving home at about 3:15pm through our little residential suburb, when there are still some kids walking home from school, I saw two figures out of the corner of my eye waiting to cross the street. At first glance I registered, "Awww, a little teenage boyfriend and girlfriend, cute." I vaguely registered a young blond girl with a backpack, and a taller blond kid holding her hand, wearing silver aviators, a red corduroy jacket, long knitted scarf, track pants and sneakers. They were chatting contentedly, but as I drove closer they looked over at me as I stopped at the corner. Oops -- it was actually a girl of about 9 or 10 being walked home by her mother! Mom was sporting one of those shaggy, pointy hairdos and the aforementioned goofy threads...so much for adulthood, sartorial or otherwise.
"A 74-year-old Italian woman was shocked to find a live grenade in a sack of potatoes she had bought at a market." -- It's the headline of the day!
"I would not have had that last glass of wine last night or the curly fries I wolfed down on the way to work." -- Yum. On the occasion of her 6-year blogiversary, the mighty Dooce has opened a comment thread asking, what would you, if you could, go back and do differently in your life? Hundreds of entries so far, from the mundane to the poignant and back again. I have a few tweaks in mind...but why look back? Well, I would've loosened up considerably in middle and high school, I wasted a lot of time between about 1984 and 1991 being abashed. Je ne regrette rien!