Wednesday, December 28, 2016

So another voice from my childhood is gone. 

I wasn't one of those teenage girls getting hot flashes over George Michael back in high school. I mean, I thought he was handsome and charismatic and talented and had a great voice and everything, but his 1987 Faith album was so huge when I was in high school--one single after another released for like a solid two years--that by 1989 I was all Faith-ed out. I also didn't have much time for the stuff in the Top 40, since sometime around 1988 (freshman year of high school) I had followed Duran Duran down the musical rabbit hole that led me to discover darker, edgier artists and I became hooked on bands like The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Siouxie, The Smiths, and early Blondie. 

But then Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 came out. The first single, "Freedom" (the famous one with the supermodels in the video) was released during my junior year of high school, and--while I really dug that song--it wasn't until the beginning of my senior year in September 1991 when I first heard the excellent "Waiting For That Day" that I reconsidered my foolish notions about George Michael being "too commercial" for my taste and developed a new appreciation for him. 

Every time I listen to it, it feels the same as it did when I first heard it at age 17. It just devastates me. 

Something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
I know I'll never see your face again

Years later (1998-ish) when my sister and I shared an apartment for a few years and she had his Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael double album, I started to get sort of obsessed with his musical catalog. While no amount of time could make me feel nostalgic about "I Want Your Sex" (I've always thought that song was corny as hell and, like, the opposite of sexy) I found that I started to take a liking to some of those old songs from Faith, like the title track and--especially--"Kissing a Fool."  

And going further back to that period of post-Wham, pre-Faith, there was "A Different Corner," which George said was not a song about the end of a big, sweeping love affair. Rather, the lyrics were inspired by the sort of relationship that comes out of nowhere; one of those super-intense, short-lived flings that leaves you completely shattered and bewildered and wondering what the hell just happened when it's over. I think we've all been there at some point. 

There is a glaring omission on that "Best of" album, a Wham song that I think has always gotten short shrift--the 1986 single "The Edge of Heaven,"--so much better than "I'm Your Man," the other Wham single from the same time period with an almost identical video that somehow people seem to favor. But they're all wrong. "Edge of Heaven" is the jam.

But enough pontificating. George Michael is gone, and it sucks. It's gotten to be a cliche that 2016 is killing all these great artists, but as the saying goes, cliches are only cliches because they're true. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

"And so this is Christmas, 
And what have we done?"

Well John and Yoko, I'll tell you what "we" have done: we oops--the electoral college went and installed a reality show trainwreck to run the country into the ground. 

Happy Christmas! 

But I'm not here to talk about Herr Combover and his VP, The Antichrist. I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say about them in the coming months, but right now I'm trying not to think about January 20th. 

Right now, at this moment in time, Obama is still the president and we have a whole twenty-nine days left of his administration before Armageddon. So let's enjoy it while we can! Crack open the eggnog, raise a glass, and let's party like it's 2016 because--to paraphrase Prince (RIP)--"They say two thousand-one-seven party over, oops! Out of time."


Anyhoo, here's a Christmas song. It's not what you'd call festive, but it's a damn good song, and The Killers are such a kick-ass band that I continue to be amazed and incredibly thankful that they're still around and making real music in a world where an untalented hack like Kanye West is considered a "genius" and a recycled Britney Spears knockoff like Katy Perry is considered an "artist." And the video stars Owen Wilson, a truly underrated and underutilized actor who needs to stop making crap Ben Stiller comedies and stick to Wes Anderson movies where he can shine (to be fair, they were in The Royal Tennenbaums together and that was brilliant, but that was also Wes Anderson. But I digress. Again.). 

Merry Christmas, or "Happy Holidays" as we liberal types like to say when we want to piss off the Sean Hannitys of the world. 


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"Save me from tomorrow...."

We're setting sail to the place on the map
From which no one has ever returned
Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
By the light of the crosses that burned
Drawn by the promise of the women and the lace
And the gold and the cotton and pearls
It's the place where they keep all the darkness you need
You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby
You will pay tomorrow
You're gonna pay tomorrow
You will pay tomorrow
Oh, oh, oh
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
Oh, save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
I want to run and hide right now
Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
They will leave you drifting in the shallows
Or drowning in the oceans of history
Traveling the world, you're in search of no good
But I'm sure you'll build your Sodom like you knew you would
Using all the good people for your galley slaves
As you're little boat struggles through the warning waves, but you don't pay
You will pay tomorrow
You're gonna pay tomorrow, yeah
You're gonna pay tomorrow
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no, no
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools
Where's it comin' from?
Oh, where's it goin' to?
It's just a, it's just a ship of fools
All aboard....

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Donald Trump is a Fart in a Mitten

Yeah I don't know what that means either, but I remember someone writing that about Paris Hilton back when she was a thing, and I thought it was funny. 

I also wrote that because there is a fairly good chance that someday DJT himself will stumble upon the phrase "DONALD TRUMP IS A FART IN A MITTEN," because if there's one bitch who stays up Googling himself at 3am, it's The Donald. That's a proven fact.

I was watching a clip of some rabid Trump supporters last night, and something dawned on me. It wasn't a particularly smart or insightful revelation, but here it is: Remember when Charlie Sheen had his public psychotic break a few years ago, and he had that disturbing fanbase of aging fratty white dudes cheering him on?  

This is all I could find on Google for "Charlie Sheen fans."
Still, I feel like it's a pretty fair representation. 

And these douchebro types were all like, "WOO HOO! Finally a guy who says what I think!"

An example of Charlie saying what they're thinking: 

"Ugly wives?" "Loser lives?" Ummmm......America? Does that sound like anyone else we know? 

I guess what I'm saying is--seriously, America--don't do it, don't fucking elect this blathering orange turd. And don't you dare be a dick and vote for Gary Johnson or do a write-in vote for your penis or whatever. VOTE FOR HILLARY. Stop crying about Bernie Sanders not getting the nomination. I don't care that Hillary is not who you want, because guess what? You know who I want to be President?

I want Simon Le Bon. Yep. I want Simon Le Bon to be President and Debbie Harry to be Vice President and the two of them can come to my house and bring me a pony and then Simon and Debbie can fly me around in a helicopter and we can wave at everyone and throw Duran Duran albums and candy to the adoring throngs below and land on the roof of the White House and have a picnic and both Simon and Debbie will tell me that I'm their favorite author ever and that they're going to declare Thanks, That Was Fun, like, the National Novel of America, whatever that is (I assume it's a special honor they'll create just for me) and that they want me to help them make all the important decisions and come to all the fancy White House dinners and help pass a law that requires everyone everywhere to become vegan. 

Also, there are unicorns.

Pictured: America under a Le Bon presidency. And that's the castle where John and I live with all our rescue cats.
 Plus my pony.

Realistically, however, that's not going to happen this time around. Maybe in another four years, who knows. But this election? I voted for Hillary.

And now here comes the obligatory video that every Duranie posts on election day. But for me, it has a deeper meaning (see above). 

Because Bon. SIMON Le Bon.

"Hi guys, by the way..."

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


Ever hear of real estate porn? This is hiking porn. Or mountain porn. Or...okay, maybe I'd better stop with the porn comparisons because if we're going by Rule 34, there is most definitely some kind of outdoorsy mountain folk backpacker porn (in the literal sense) in existence and I don't want to know about it. 

But whatever. Here are some cool pictures from my latest hike at Sessions Mountain/Holbrook Canyon.

Going up--my favorite part--because I've discovered how tricky it is to descend steep mountain trails

"Up, up, up, can only go up from here..."
(Yes I'm quoting Shania Twain)

This is my second favorite shot

This is my favorite-favorite shot

Getting there....

"On the top of the world, looking down on creation...."

Getting over a lifelong fear of heights

Back at the bottom and rock hunting at the stream that winds through the canyon

There are quite a few log bridges that cross the stream at various points. It reminded me of that scene in Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. I resisted the urge to break into dance. 
I was too busy trying to stay upright. 

Yes, there are bears on and around the mountain, one of many reasons I'm joining a local hiking club. Traveling in a pack, it's less likely I'll end up bear chow when I'm but one of many options in the bear buffet to choose from (as opposed to traipsing along solo and becoming a potential ursine appetizer).

I'm a big fan of Wild (the book and the film) but it wasn't until moving to Utah that I really "got it," the whole rugged mountain hiking camping fever. My Dad was a big backpacker and hiker in his younger years, so maybe it's in my genes after all. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

I read it in the papers, I see it on my TV....

The UK breaking up? 
The EU in a state of flux?
Donald Trump is still a thing?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


And before you assume that I'm just a typical "librul" who's going to blame the Orlando massacre on the NRA and guns....well, it's not that simple. Yes, I hate guns and the NRA and--perhaps most of all--the NRA-fellating politicians who made yet another mass shooting possible, but my hate doesn't stop there. I hate Omar Mateen with the fire of a thousand suns, and I don't know why people act like you can't be against the religious fanatics AND the gun-fuckers. See, I can hate both: radical extremists who kill in the name of their shitty backwards medieval ideologies (and I'm not only talking about Muslim extremists here; ever hear of a murderous little Christian cuntrag called Eric Rudolph?) and I--as always--despise Wayne LaPierre and ALL of his whores in Washington who issue statements sending "thoughts and prayers" to victims of mass shootings (HEY ASSHOLES, WE'RE NOT PAYING YOU TO "PRAY"!) while doing absolutely not a goddamn thing at all because there's nothing more important than that sweet, sweet gun lobby money.

But again, I want to assure all my fellow tree-hugging liberal types that it's perfectly fine to hate that (now dead) festering hemorrhoid named Omar Mateen. Really, it's okay. Look at the facts and tell me you can't hate his nasty, selfie-obsessed troglodyte ass:
Okay, being a moron isn't as bad as being an abusive, racist, homophobic religious extremist murderer, but I'm really sick of stupid people, even though stupid people aren't inherently evil (usually).

Now, let me issue my own statement to All-American Joe Gun-Fucker who's worried that this Mooslim shooter is going to spoil all the fun for him and the rest of his buddies at the rifle range: 

Dear Joe, 

Rest assured, Obama (unfortunately) does not want to take your guns. But I do. Yes, this little peace-loving, tree-hugging feminist hippie wants to take that AR-15 assault rifle you love so much and help you to "know" that instrument of death in a Biblical way, specifically by shoving it sideways up your poopshaft and forcing you to sing Lady Gaga's "I Like It Rough" at the top of your lungs. 

Then, you will recite the following statements with that loaded weapon buried deep inside your rectum: 

"Feel the Bern!"
"Black Lives Matter!" 
"Donald Trump Blows Goats!"

After that intimate experience, you will no longer have time to worry about the libruls taking away your guns. In fact, after the surgical removal of said weapon from your love canal, you will be too busy nursing your prolapsed anus for the rest of your natural life to trouble your simple little mind with issues of gun legislation. But look at the upside: You get to spend the remainder of your days in bed watching Duck Dynasty

See, everybody wins! 

I leave you with these truths, which I hold to be self-evident, that all gun-loving psychos are pretty much created equal.....


Monday, June 06, 2016


Remember this asshole?

Note: I wrote this up a few months ago, but since then I've been so consumed with our move (hello, Utah!) that it got shelved for a bit. However, today--June 6--happens to be Simon Reid's birthday, so what a perfect time to post this, no? This date has stuck in my head not for sentimental reasons, but for how apropos it is that this sociopath was unleashed upon the world on 6/6/66. Not only does he bear the mark of the beast, he is the beast.  

After all these years, I still get numerous comments and emails regarding my original Simon Reid post from way back in 2008. Most of the messages are along the lines of "Saw your story on TV, glad you guys nailed that dickweed," etc, but a lot of them--especially over the past year--have been people checking in to report their own encounters with Simon.

According to the latest scoop, Simon Reid is now living in Spain and hanging out with British and American tourists hiking the Camino de Santiago, which is a Catholic pilgrimage-type trail that winds through part of Spain. Apparently Martin Sheen made a movie about it a few years back, and the trail has seen a surge in visitors since then.

Anyhoo, the first I heard about Simon's Spanish exploits was when I got an email last summer from a very nice young couple in Texas who had just returned from Spain, where they'd hiked the Camino trail and spent some time hanging out with a friendly Brit named Simon Reid who claimed to be a "retired surgeon" (hahahahahahaha--oh, my sides) who had come to the Camino trail to connect with his spiritual side, or something. He had a woman with him, of course, but the nature of their relationship was unclear. (From what the Texas couple said, I got that this was yet another girlfriend Simon was stringing along.) For authentication, they attached a photo of themselves posing with Simon and his mark outside of a cafe.

The most recent report I've gotten is an email from a woman who (from what I can deduce) was tentatively involved with Simon for a short time while visiting Spain in March 2016, but was scared right off the lot when she Googled his name and found out all the dirt on his sketchy lying ass.

Among the torrent of bullshit he fed this would-be girlfriend? 
  • He claimed to be a retired British commando sniper-turned-trauma surgeon who served in Afghanistan. 
  • He claimed to have developed a form of leukemia caused by removing thousands of plutonium tipped bullets from patients. 
  • Oh, and he has a maths degree from Oxford.
Excuse me for a minute. 


It's the sheer audacity of Simon's ridiculous bullshit stories that has me amused; I am not making fun of this girlfriend, or anyone else who has been swindled (emotionally or financially) by Simon Reid. No one knows better than I do how frighteningly adept this fuckhandle is at winning your confidence and portraying himself as a chivalrous, fun, self-deprecating, honorable man. He's a textbook pathological liar who is excellent at reading, assessing, and exploiting people. Although he's never quite successful in the end--as long as there is an internet he will continue to be exposed for the vile fraud that he is--but Simon doesn't play the long game, anyway. He's not the type of conman who slowly and surely gains your trust over a period of time. The guy plays the numbers and he always has several schemes (and women) going at once, and his pattern shows that he will always cut and run once he realizes that his marks are onto him, leaving everyone in the dust. No goodbyes, no explanations, no apologies. Just a shitload of hideous LIES.

So for anyone reading this who has been done in by Simon Reid, whether he's "borrowed" (stolen) money or fucked you over emotionally (he likes to do both whenever possible), please remember:
  • He is a cold, calculating individual who feels no remorse for the people he harms
  • He has a long, long, long history of victimizing those who are close to him, including two ex-wives, countless girlfriends, and even his own parents and children 
  • He is an evil asswipe
  • It's not your fault
Lastly--for the sake of your own mental, emotional, physical, and financial safety--RUN, DON'T WALK far, far, far away from his damaged, broken, sketchball ass.

And now, an important message from Billy Joel....

A digression: this is the good Billy Joel. You can tell, because of his hair. (Ever notice that when Billy Joel got rid of the Jewfro, his songs started sucking balls? It's like his mighty Jewfro gave him all his songwriting powers. Then he had to go and cut it off and his music went straight down the toilet.) Actually, I think Pressure was post-Jewfro, so maybe that song is the one exception to the rule. Now that was a cool-ass video. I love the part where he's at that cocktail party and the lady goes flying sideways into that doorway full of milk and Billy gets sucked down into the carpet. Lots of cocaine went into the making of that one, I'm guessing. 

But it was so totally worth it.      


If you have your own Simon Reid sightings or stories, please tell all in the comments (or email me if you don't want to share publicly). Keep spreading the word. Let's warn Simon Reid's future paramours, landlords, employers, "business" partners, and anyone else who Googles his name.

Knowledge = power.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sometimes It Snows in April

Damn, it just doesn't feel real, does it? The headline "Prince Dies at 57" still does not compute, and it's freaky to even type that. I had the same issue with Bowie's death. It's like both Prince and Bowie were sort of these ethereal figures--almost supernatural--like it was just sort of understood that the rules of the universe did not apply to them. They were on a higher plane than the rest of us mortals. 

My writer buddy Dan Kennedy said it best: 

As shocked as I was by Bowie's passing, the fact that Prince is gone just seems harder to fathom somehow. My friend Marcus posted on FB that although both deaths were a huge shock, Prince hits closer to home (for Gen-Xer's like us) because, growing up in the '80s, Prince was "our guy." I totally agree. 

"Little Red Corvette" (1982) was the first Prince song I remember being aware of. I recall my sister and other "big kids" really digging it, but I was just sort of neutral (also, at nine years old I was more obsessed with horses than current pop music). Then in 1984-85 there was an amazing explosion of artists and albums that coincided with that sort of musical awakening a lot of kids have at around 11 or 12 years old and I discovered Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince--specifically the Purple Rain soundtrack--which blew my mind. 

I saw Purple Rain (the movie) when it premiered on HBO in the summer of 1985. It was so dark and "adult" that it's funny to think of my little 12-year-old self watching that. I mean, my family (along with everyone else in our neighborhood) had gotten premium cable a few years earlier, and it was a big thing for us neighbor kids to secretly try to catch "the dirty parts" of movies like Porky's and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (or if we were feeling really brave, one of the Friday the 13th movies) when we were at each other's houses. But Purple Rain was a lot racier than the typical teen sex films of that era, so I'm pretty sure it was one of those movies I sneaked out to the living room to watch at like 2am while my mom and stepdad were sleeping. That was something I got really good at: creeping into the living room and turning on the TV so it was barely audible and sitting like five inches from the screen so I could hear the movie while simultaneously listening for my mom in case she woke up. (In the event that she did, I would switch off the TV, race into the kitchen, and pour myself a glass of milk so it would look like I'd just gotten up to get a drink. Back in the day, we had to be really creative with stuff like that. I think kids today have it a lot easier, they can just watch whatever they want to on their smart phones and their parents probably don't have a clue.)      

Speaking of access, everyone knows by now how impossible it is to find Prince clips on YouTube; the only ones that exist seem to be live performances from award shows (which are awesome, admittedly), and the only Purple Rain clips viewable online are the ones from the trailer.

I guess this is indicative of how many times I've seen Purple Rain over the last 30 years (um, a lot), because there are a few little flashes of scenes I don't recognize: 

00:28 -- Apollonia in a barn? WTF was that? 
00:51 -- Prince getting smacked around by his dad (I think?) at what looks like a rehearsal space?

Marcus, help me you remember any of this? I'm also unsure about the snippet with the cop car driving by Morris and Jerome. I'm guessing they were deleted scenes, but I want your opinion. 

Anyway, Prince is gone, and it sucks. I have more to write on this subject but I'm still getting my head together. 

(Psst...looks like someone posted the video for Take Me With U in the past few days, but it will probably get yanked ASAP, maybe by the time this goes up.) 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Fuck HBO for cancelling this show. 

When Togetherness debuted last year, I wasn't all that interested. The previews made it look like a grown-up rip-off of Girls (a show that I continue to love, even for all its flaws) only instead of navel-gazing Brooklynites it's a navel-gazing couple and their two slacker friends. But then I checked out a few episodes and damned if Togetherness didn't suck me right in. 

Season two has been even better than season one, kicking things up a notch as shlubby struggling actor Alex (male slacker friend) lands a movie role as a "sexy vampire," which is so off-the-wall for that character that it kind of works.....

Yes, this dude as a middle-aged Lestat in a ruffled shirt. So wrong, yet so right.

Michelle confesses her one night stand to Brett, and he responds by barfing in her lap....

Then Alex and Brett take off for a "lost weekend" in Detroit....

And there's the episode where Tina creates a distraction at the fundraiser party by bursting into an awesome rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" so Michelle can snoop in that weird chick Anna's email....

I had no idea Amanda Peet was this funny. 

And UGH! Seriously, why is HBO cancelling this show?!?!?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

I'm a bit behind, but I wanted to comment on Episode 6, the Marcia Clark-centered installment of the People V. OJ . Kudos to the writers for providing a window into the nastiness Marcia Clark had to deal with from all sides in regards to her appearance, because even in a supposedly progressive decade like the 1990's, the most important aspects of a powerful female public figure were still her hair, her clothes, her "likability," and precious little else.

It's another aspect of that freakshow trial that they got right; I totally remember seeing a clip of that whore Lance Ito making bitchy comments about Marcia's hair from his perch on the bench. (Seriously, when will men learn not to pick on a woman's hair? Especially when most males are so severely lacking in the follicle department?)

Because if anyone is qualified to rate someone else's looks, it's this hunka-hunka burnin' love.
(Is this Lance's version of "blue steel?")

Marcia should have fired back, "Oh hey Lance, nice work on the comb-over today! You almost managed to cover up that bald spot." Then she should have pointed at OJ and shouted, all lawyer-y and indignant, "YOU! Wipe that smirk off your face before I come over there and do it for you. And Johnnie? Bite my lily-white ass." Of course, she wouldn't have said any of that in court, but I'm sure she was thinking it every damn day of the trial and undoubtedly launched into daily profanity-laden rants about Ito, OJ, and that whole slimy defense team to her friends and colleagues behind closed doors. According to the book the series is based on, Jeffrey Toobin's The Run of His Life (which I read last week. A bit slow in the middle, but otherwise a good read. As dense as it was, I ripped through it pretty quickly), Marcia swore like a longshoreman, chain-smoked Dunhills, and had a hot fling with Christopher Darden. She was more of a bad ass than any of those bitches on the defense team. In fact, she could have totally eaten them all for breakfast and picked her teeth with Cochran's bones, but she was so hamstrung by the gross, sexist atmosphere created by the media and all those assholes at the OJ table, who I believe were secretly petrified of her.

And don't even get me started on that washed-up boozebag F. Lee Bailey and his lame courtroom reference to his lap hog in the midst of all the glove-trying-on shenanigans, trying to awkwardly imply that his own hands were also too big to fit those stupid gloves. (And how ironic that this episode aired just days after Trump made a similar joke during the Republican debate. What is it with these elderly white males and their penis obsessions? Whatever.) And what was with his crack that "(Marcia's) eyesight is as bad as her memory?" Was he implying that she failed to recognize his alpha male virility because she hadn't gotten any in such a long time? Girl, please. M.C. was getting more action than anyone in that courtroom. And unlike F. Lee Bailey, she never had to pay for it.  Marcia should have shut down old F-LeeBay by calling his bluff: "Well whip it out then, whisky dick, and let's see what you got!"

I do love Nathan Lane as F-Lee. Another stroke of genius casting.

Friday, March 04, 2016

People V. OJ Ep 5

Holy shit, I totally remember this! 

I've been wondering about this Hodgman character and waiting to see if the show would address his sudden absence from the trial, because it's one of the incidents I remember quite well. 

Turns out, yep--they did! But in a totally melodramatic it-didn't-really-happen-that-way fashion. 

In the show, they had John Hodgman (Marcia Clark's litigating partner) suffer a heart attack and dramatically keel over right there in court after getting all pissed off at the defense (specifically, Johnny Cochran). Watching that scene, I actually shouted "Bullshit!" at the TV, because I didn't remember it going down like that. Turns out, I was right.  

From Vanity Fair: 
According to Toobin, it was during a closed-door meeting among Clark, Hodgman, and D.A. Gil Garcetti, after the opening statements, in which the discovery failures were revealed and where Hodgman started to feel chest pains. Paramedics were called and he was treated for a temporary stress condition, which did result in his stepping down from the case.
From a writer's perspective, I can see why they took some license with that, even if it was a bit over the top.

Here's what I remember...

The first week of the OJ trial, I was sitting in class talking with my friend Heidi and some other people from school,* and someone mentioned that one of the prosecuting attorneys in the Simpson case had been rushed to the hospital with chest pains the day before. That's when my classmate Cindy said disdainfully, "Yeah, he's having chest pains because he's lying! He knows he's lying!"

It's worth pointing out here that Cindy--a "good ole girl" from Texas--had an African American fiance and two bi-racial children. Cindy was cool; extremely blunt, very funny, and a blast to hang out with (she was part of a group of us who would sometimes high-tail it over to the nearby Chi-Chi's for nachos and margaritas at lunchtime), although she was obviously one of those "OJ is innocent!" people, a stance that I think had something to do with the fact that she was a white woman living in the black community.

The racial tension surrounding the OJ case is something that is definitely not exaggerated for the sake of the show, as it was a very real and very unfortunate aspect of the whole thing. It couldn't be avoided, especially in LA circa 1994-95, when the LA riots following the Rodney King verdict had happened just a few years prior. It's easy to see why the defense team played the race card like they did. Were they dirty opportunistic shyster assholes for doing so? Oh hell yeah. But still, it was pretty much a no-brainer. Of course they'd make it all about race, especially when Mark Fuhrman made it so damn easy. That's why I totally believe the scene where Christopher Darden tells Cochran he hopes they can be respectful to one another in the press, and Cochran goes, "Brother, I ain't trying to be respectful. I'm trying to win." It's another moment comes off a bit melodramatic, but--even if it didn't happen--it totally seems like it would have.

    Oh, just kiss him already.

On another note, I think Robert Morse is perfect as Dominick Dunne. I always get so excited when actors from Mad Men pop up on TV shows and movies.  

Burt Cooper!!!

The dialogue in the judge's chambers where Ito says something like, "I know you have a special interest in this case because of your daughter's murder" was a bit ham-fisted but I guess it was necessary because at this point most people probably wouldn't know or remember that his daughter, actress Dominique Dunne (she played Dana, the older sister in Poltergeist) was strangled by her ex-boyfriend in 1982. Trivia: her murderer, a chef named John Sweeney, really did get off with a ridiculously light sentence (6 1/2 years, and he served only 3 1/2) and soon after his release got a job as head chef at a fancy restaurant in Santa Monica. Upon learning of this, Dunne and his family decided to serve up some Goldman-style realness, standing outside the restaurant handing out flyers that read "The food you will eat tonight was cooked by the hands that killed Dominique Dunne." Soon after that, Sweeney quit his job and left town.

Dominique Dunne in Poltergeist

In yet another strange Hollywood murder coincidence, Marcia Clark was the attorney who prosecuted Robert Bardo, the crazy stalker famous for killing actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989. At least in that one, Clark was able to send the scumbag down the river (he got life without parole). I've read a lot about that case, and it's super creepy. One of the things that surprised me was how young Robert Bardo was--only 19 years old--when he killed Schaeffer. You wouldn't think that to look at him, because dude looks at least 35 in photos from the trial, but I guess all that crazy can age a person. By the way, I'm too superstitious to post a photo of Bardo's creepy mug on my blog. Google him if you're curious, but be sure to wear garlic around your neck and sprinkle salt around yourself for protection (I'm only half-kidding) because ewwwwwww. As another blogger wrote, you can almost hear the demon wings flapping inside his head.  

I was glad to see that the show included the infamous "redecorating" of OJ's mansion, where the defense went in and cleared out photos of OJ posing with (white) Playboy models, golfing buddies and girlfriends, replacing them with African art and photos of black family members...supposedly some of the photos they planted there were of random black people OJ didn't even know. And I love that Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" played over that scene, because how appropriate is that? 

What's the deal with all those rappers wearing button-down flannel shirts at the beach? 
Didn't they get hot?

It also reminded me that Coolio actually did do a song that I liked back in the day, because I hated his one other hit, "Gangster's Paradise," which was so annoying and inescapable that year. (For the record Weird Al's take on it is sooooo much better.) 

*I attended school to be a court reporter from 1993 - 1995. It came to a sudden end when the school folded and declared bankruptcy. (The bright side? I got my student loans forgiven!) I was about 6 months from graduating. Needless to say, I ended up going in another direction job-wise, one of many "Plan B's" I took during my twenties, which was really a decade full of "Plan B's".

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The People V. OJ, Ron Goldman, Studs and Kathie Lee

Best line from last night's People V. OJ installment? Travolta/Shapiro casually asking the assembled members of the defense team: "Who thinks OJ did it?" 

"Oh oh oh ohhh I do Mr. Kotter!" 


Anyway, I liked this episode. I'm glad that the show is so blunt about how sympathetic the black women jurors were to Simpson. That's something that still makes me want to vomit. It was bad enough hearing men defend OJ, what with that bullshit sports star hero-worship complex a lot of them (even some members of the media) had going on at the time, but the thought of any woman--regardless of color--sticking up for OJ is totally inexcusable. Would these female jurors have found OJ so "charming" and "charismatic" if they were getting pummeled on a regular basis by this fuckstick? Inquiring minds want to know. 

It was also nice to see Kim and Fred Goldman acknowledged in this episode. As I mentioned before, I've always appreciated their tenacity and refusal to fade into the woodwork during and after the trial, and the way they've kept up the good fight for Ron. Maybe it's me, but I'm baffled by people who preach about "forgiveness" to victims (and families of victims) of violent crime. It's like, yeah, if a family goes on TV after a loved one has been murdered claiming that they forgive the perpetrator, that's all well and good and--if that's the way they really think--they are obviously more evolved than I am. But personally, if (God forbid) I were in their shoes, I'd be on every TV station screaming for justice and I wouldn't stop until they let me escort the murdering bastard to the gas chamber myself. Kim Goldman even wrote a book called Can't Forgive about the murders and her life after the trial, and she talked about Oprah interviewing her and saying something like, "Don't you think it's time to forgive OJ and move on?" (I couldn't find the exact quote), which really annoyed me. Seriously, Oprah? Go back to what you're good at: licking Beyonce's ass and quoting Maya Angelou and don't be pontificating about forgiveness to someone whose brother was callously slaughtered by a smirking psychopath. Oprah can't even talk about people fat-shaming her without getting all teary-eyed and verklempt, so don't even tell me she would be the model of grace and compassion if something similar happened to a loved one in her life. My point is, people have no business telling victims of violence how they should feel about it.  

On a lighter note, remember that show Studs? For you young 'uns, it was a late-night dating show from the early '90s where two guys and three girls would go on dates and then compare notes and hear what they had to say about each other. It was basically Love Connection with younger, better-looking contestants and more bad puns and cheesy innuendo. Studs was considered fairly racy at the time, but now it all seems very quaint and almost innocent compared to the reality shows of today. Anyhoo, it came out back in the day that Ron Goldman had been a contestant on Studs back in 1991, and someone unearthed the footage and posted it on YouTube (the title says 1992 but the copyright is 1991, so I'm going with that)....

Ron Goldman on "Studs"

....and although the clip is basically a big steaming pile of bad 1990's fashion and cringe-y sex jokes, I found it strangely entertaining. (And speaking of cringe-worthy, the Sam Kinison video for Wild Thing is inexplicably tacked-on at the end of the clip. While the song is kind of amusing, the video has NOT aged well, and I'm not just talking about the stupid dancing and big hair. It's all just so rape-y and gang-bang-y and it made me embarrassed for everyone involved).

My biggest memory of Studs is that Hitomi, my senior year ('91-'92) boarding school roommate, was morbidly fascinated by the show, and when she came home with me for October break we ended up watching it every night that it was on TV. We had some good laughs. I also remember something about how Kathie Lee Gifford was horrified by Studs and made a big stink, threatening to walk off when (Studs host) Mark De Carlo was scheduled to be a guest on that morning show she had with Regis. This was several years ago, back when Kathie Lee was all uber-Christian and loved to talk about how religious she was, something that I find interesting now that she's (allegedly) best buds with Kris Jenner, the woman who (allegedly probably) peddled that infamous sex tape of her daughter getting peed on by a D-list rapper to the media. I say interesting. but not surprising, since I'm never all that shocked when a self-righteous moralizer turns out to be a flaming hypocrite. Remember, I grew up in the '80s when Jimmy Swaggart was getting caught with hookers and that whole mess with Jim Bakker and Jessica Hahn (star of the Wild Thing video!) was going down. 

Anyway, Mark De Carlo did end up appearing on Regis and Kathie Lee after all, and here's what the Studs guy had to say about it:    
"Kathie Lee Gifford is a hypocritical, Bible-beating, insincere media whore. She invited me on her show specifically to insult me. I flew on a red-eye from Utah, where I was doing a charity event Christmas week, to appear on her show and she said I was propagating rampant immorality in America. And then the very next week she was kissing Hugh Grant’s ass. So who’s immoral there?” ---Mark DeCarlo 
To wrap it all up, here's a masterpiece from Everything Is Terrible featuring Mr. and Mrs. Gifford, because Kathie Lee totally deserves this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

OJ Simpson, Paula Barbiedoll, Bolton Bits, and Kardashian Krap

I know I expressed misgivings about it in the last post, but they've (mostly) been laid to rest; I am really enjoying The People V. OJ Simpson. Now that I've seen the first two episodes, here are some unorganized notes on it: 

  • I love Travolta's portrayal of that preening, high-on-the-smell-of-his-own-farts douchebag Robert Shapiro. And it's not that I loathe Shapiro--I have no more distaste for Shapiro than I have for the rest of the whores that comprised OJ's defense team--but man, Travolta is killing it. I know a lot of people are complaining that Travolta is the "weak link" in the cast, but I vehemently disagree. He's a bit over-the-top, but that can be a good thing in the hands of the right actor. He's awesome at the subtle stuff, too; my favorite moment of last night's ep (the second of the miniseries) was the brief scene of Shapiro grooving to some smooth jazz Al Jarreau in his Merc. (To be fair, it is a bomb-ass song.)
  • I like what David Schwimmer is doing with Robert Kardashian, and it's interesting to see him in a role outside of Friends, but I have trouble with the whole "St. Kardashian" thing. I think the writers knew where they're going with that, however. It's like, you can pray all you want and tote that Bible around, dude, but it doesn't change the fact that you're best buds with an abusive, murderous psychopath. And I believe that he covered for that jackass after the murders, either knowingly or *wink*wink* "unknowingly." And then after the criminal trial, he expresses "doubts" about OJ's innocence? Oh thank you. Fat lot of good that did for the victims, dick. And while we're on the subject, can that one little jokey shot of the Kardashian kids watching their dad on TV please be the last time we see his spawn portrayed in this series? Because I don't like being reminded of their existence.
  • And as for Kris Kardashian/Jenner, Faye Resnick, and the rest of the Brentwood bitches? I know they think everyone is fascinated with that lot, but I couldn't give a shit about any of them. I hope their screen time is minimal, too. Seriously, if I wanted to know about that crew, I'd watch one of those stupid Real Housewives shows. 
  • And more Marcia Clark, please. I love Sarah Paulson's portrayal so far, and I absolutely want to hear more of her outrage at the cops and the system that turned a blind eye to OJ's years-long abuse of Nicole. Still disgusting. 
  • Hoping for some scenes with the Goldmans, who have been nowhere to be found so far. I like Fred and Kim Goldman and I appreciate how outspoken they've continued to be about keeping Ron's memory alive and their justified furor at how the whole mess was handled. They kept it real in a case and trial that was teeming with bullshit from the very start.

It's interesting to go back and read some of the articles that were written about the case at the time. This one details the timeline of events on the day of the murders, and boy is it illuminating. It starts out detailing what the victims and suspect did the morning of June 12, 1994: Ron Goldman played softball at a local park, Nicole Brown Simpson bought some toys for her kids, and OJ--shocker!--played golf and hung out at his country club. Early that afternoon, though, things got more interesting: 
2 p.m. - House guest Brian "Kato" Kaelin sees O.J. in the kitchen of Simpson's Rockingham estate. O.J. makes a series of calls to women, beginning with girlfriend Paula Barbieri. They fight over her request to attend Sydney's recital. Paula winds up flying to Las Vegas to spend time with singer Michael Bolton. During a call to Traci Adell, O.J. says he's unhappy. He also calls actress Jasmine Guy.

Okay, am I the only one morbidly fascinated by the fact that OJ's girlfriend ditched him that day to run off to Vegas with Michael Bolton? 

To be clear, I'm talking about this Michael Bolton....

....and not Michael "Mike" Bolton from Office Space

Wouldn't it be cool if she'd run off with Mike Bolton, though? 
Alas (being a fictional character), that wasn't an option. 

Isn't that just weirdly fitting, though? What a spot-on summation of all that was good and bad about the 1990's. The Good: Mike Judge's Office Space, a biting satire of the 1990's corporate culture. The Bad: Michael Bolton (the singer) representing (to quote Peter Gibbons, speaking about his boss) "ALL THAT IS SOULLESS AND WRONG"--a phrase that also perfectly epitomizes the Simpson murder case and that unholy abortion of a trial. 

As the timeline indicates, Paula Barbieri--D-list model and OJ's sometime girlfriend--took offense to OJ barring her from his daughter's dance recital that night, and (I like to imagine, anyway) screamed "Screw you OJ! I'm going to Vegas to be with Michael Bolton! Love is a wonderful thing!" Seriously though, at least with Michael Bolton you'd have a better chance of surviving the night, as he seems way less stabby than OJ. Come on, dude couldn't even take a pair of scissors to his mullet. That's a peace-loving man, right there. 

Also noteworthy but not as interesting: OJ later called Jasmine Guy (Whitley from A Different World!), whom I hope immediately slammed the phone down on his sketch ass. But we'll probably never know.

Fast-forwarding to the trial, another interesting detail concerning OJ and Paula's relationship saga came in the form of testimony from a witness for the defense, Carol Connors. And when you get a load of the soft-serve bullshit she was shoveling for the defense, it's no wonder they trotted this woman out on the first day of their testimony. 

Apparently, on the night before the murders, OJ and Paula were being lovey-dovey with each other at a fancy charity fundraiser, and--well--Connors testimony of their PDA is just soo special: 

"I happened to witness a very exquisite romantic moment that took place between the two of them," she testified. "And being a writer, I was able to compute it into my brain, and to understand it, and to wish that I had been lucky enough to be in a situation of what I had watched." 

Pictured: Conners and her facelift.

Even better? Said "exquisite romantic moment" was taking place while Simpson was stroking Barbieri's face with Natalie Cole singing "Unforgettable" onstage.*

True story: I had the same hair as Paula from 1989 - 1993. And I had a black dress like that, but mine was from Kohl's. (I'm guessing hers wasn't. Just a guess.)

FUN FACT, KIDS! According to Wikipedia, Carol Connors is a former porn actress (not that there's anything wrong with that) who is married to fellow porn actor Jack Birch, the father of mainstream actress Thora Birch. I've read a bit about Thora Birch and her fucked up parents. To be fair, I think it was this article explaining why Thora Birch seemed to disappear from Hollywood just when her star was on the rise (after making the excellent Ghost World, one of my favorite movies) and the author of the piece blames Porno Dad, who is also Thora's manager and who insists on being an on-set "advisor" during his daughter's sex scenes. Creepy enough for ya? So anyhoo, I guess that Carol Connors--Mama Birch--never experienced the sort of face-stroking Natalie Cole "Unforgettable" love that OJ and Paula Barbiedoll possessed, which I find hard to believe. Seriously, Mama Birch? There were no exquisite romantic moments that (being a writer) you were able to compute into your brain when you were with Thora Birch's Porno Dad? I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked! Love is officially dead.   

If you want to witness Mama Birch's testimony, it starts at about the 1hr:02min mark in this video. You might want to have a barf bag handy. It's so cringe-inducing, even Johnnie Cochran was gagging.  

*OMG Natalie Cole! Speaking of the dearly departed. Let's all take a moment now to remember where we were when we heard the news of her death. Okay, I'm done.