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Friday, December 31, 2004
NEW RENAISSANCE WON'T START IN A CLASSROOM

Here's my latest from Catholic Exchange. They've had it as the headline today, and I am getting some interesting email feedback. Go read the article, then come back here and read some of these follow-ups...

Here's one...

"Thank you for your interesting article on the arts. Your statement that "The achievement of a Master of Fine Arts in whatever discipline, from even a top university, says nothing at all about whether an individual is an artist or even a competent craftsman." is, sadly, too true. Unfortunately I have learned this by direct experience, having earned my Masters in Fine Art (I am a painter) from a medium-sized state university.

I found my undergraduate work similar to an art survey, sort of a hands-on art appreciation course. The further I got in my graduate studies, the less actual technical instruction I received and the more things turned to philosophy. This would have made more sense if I had been an accomplished painter at that point but I was, in retrospect, barely competent. Technique was rarely discussed and I think that may be because the professors felt it somehow unfair to influence my technique to any great degree. It was assumed that all techniques are created equal and that everyone should be free to "do their own thing.". The same was true of subject matter.

Oddly what REALLY mattered in University was being able to talk, or better, write well about your work. Years later I came to the conclusion that it would not have mattered what you painted or how you painted it, as long as you could spin it with panache. And running underneath it all was the unspoken assumption that you didn't want to be like THEM. You know, the popular artists. Not popular with the art press, but popular with the people. Names like Norman Rockwell were never spoken without a roll of the eyes. It was made clear over the course of time that if your normal, average guy off the street could walk up and appreciate it, it wasn't art.

So most of my growth as an artist has come since my university training ended. The encouraging thing is that I see a return to the classical fine arts beginning to take hold around the country. I have recently opened my own art gallery, studio and fledgeling art school. I hope to influence young (or not-so-young) artists in the ways you mentioned. Your article helped me to affirm that it is not only possible, but necessary. Wish me luck! - no wait- pray for me instead...."

TJ from Arkansas


Here's another...

"I would add to your observations one that attempts to make explicit that
which you have implied.

True art of the finest quality does begin in the soul, but it is only brought out by the sweat of one’s brow (all thy strength) and the critical thought of one’s intellect (all thy mind) through steady and passionate perseverance (all thy heart). The four pillars of Love that Christ teaches us are intertwined in the arts, and the failure of the fine arts in institutional academia is, no doubt, the result of the explicit separation of the soul from the other pillars of Love. In reciprocal fashion, one can lead the arts back to a full embrace of Love if one openly and honestly embraces those pillars which one knows how to express well, even if the others do not come as easily. If one is of proper heart, the other pillars of Love will find expression in the arts, if perhaps less perfectly with some than with others.

This is best explained with an illustration: I conduct the coro that our Artist-pianist directs, and my own technique is quite flawed. Through no small amount of tribulation – including an initial rejection of proper admonishment – I have managed to learn enough that our liturgical music at least emulates art, if it does not always achieve it in plainest fashion. This has occurred largely because of my own willingness to expend great physical and mental effort to compensate for a relative lack of talent.

This is not meant to imply that effort and honest introspection can always compensate for lack of talent. However, given your description of sterile fine arts classrooms, effort and introspection seem to be requirements that the artist must develop on his own because they certainly are not imparted to him through his academic exercises. In other words, it is not just the soul that is missing from academia but the heart and mind and strength as well. The “anonymous rows of young people, most half awake, subjected to long cycles of monotonous lectures in sterile rooms” are evidence of this, which in turn suggests that the attempted separation of Love into its constituent parts for pragmatic application not only does not work but
cannot be made to work.

God created us as whole persons with greater and lesser gifts (talents) for different pursuits (charismas). When we cleave to that which God has created, we are not left with a simple collection of parts that can be put back together as we desire but rather with whole lot of nothing that cannot be adequately reconstituted until we move to order our parts back into the whole that God Himself created. In this sense, not only does academia betray the truly talented, but it also betrays the mediocre by telling them that it is possible to develop oneself at all without proper recourse to the fullness of Truth about Love.

Truly, not only does my soul not rest until it rests in the Lord, but my heart, mind, and body do not either."

CS from Texas

Thursday, December 30, 2004
RATS.
Monday, December 27, 2004
BRACE YOURSELF.

This here is a flaming PC-free, Nativity creche friendly, winter solstice/Kwanzaa disdaining, stocking hanging, reindeer gaming, Joy to the World screeching, "Merry Christmas!" echoing, razzleberry dressing and wassail consuming, careening collision of Church and State, web-blog.

To all of you who are worried that the secularists are stealing Christmas, I send the words of the angels: "Do Not Be Afraid!" The ACLU et al. is no match for the shivering, little, naked Deity in the manger at Bethlehem.

So, happy and holy birthday of Jesus week everyone! God bless us everyone!

P.S. I will be making merry CT style all this week. I'm also finishing up a screenplay. Can't imagine there will be much blogging. So, God rest you all merry gentlemen, until next week!
Monday, December 20, 2004
AVIATOR: THE SPRUCE GOOSE OF 2004

"So, I guess Jude Law got left on the cutting room floor?" My twenty-something friend wondered the question aloud as we staggered out of the theater last night with a few hundred other staggering wonderers. We were leaving the three hour experience of Scorcese's highly-anticipated The Aviator plus trailers.

"Huh?" I replied, pithily.

He came back, "Wasn't Jude Law supposed to do a cameo as Errol Flynn in the movie?"

Wondering if this was a trick question, or else still brain-numb from the film, I said slowly, "He did. It was one of the three or four scenes set in The Coconut Grove. The only reason for the scene was to showcase Law's cameo....Where were you?"

He shrugged shamefacedly. "Well, I dozed off for about fifteen minutes, I think."

Oh well. Here it is, the morning after the latest disappointment from Martin Scorcese. The Aviator showcases the director's fabulous cinematic eye, but also his pathological inability to flesh out a satisfying narrative. The audience leaves feeling like it must have missed something - "How can so many fabulous frames amount to so very little in the end?"

To be fair, this film is nowhere as bad as the offensive, blood-soaked mess of Scorcese's last epic disappointment, Gangs of NY. That film was violating along with being tedious and disappointing. The Aviator is just tedious.

The film suffers from the fact there is too much material in the movie for a movie. This is a different problem these days. Most of the films that are getting made suffer from having not enough story for a short-film, that is still stretched torturously through two hours - or, as in Sideways stretched into 2.4 hours... In this case, Howard Hughes' life should most properly be done in an eight-hour mini-series. That is, as long as somebody can figure out the real cinematic story in the man's many true stories.

So, like many movies based on "strange, but true" stories, the principal flaw in The Aviator is that the inner drama is neglected - completely overwhelmed actually - by the external drama.

Don't be fooled by the fact that Scorcese gives LOTS of time to Howard Husghes' struggle with encroaching insanity. He does so - but without any insight. There isn't any "why?" to what should have been the movie's main question: Not, "why insanity?", but "why isolation in one's insanity?" The director spent way too much time wallowing in how insanity feels and acts. The main question I wanted to see addressed, was, how come a person with so much talent, treasure and vision, ends up alone, drowning in their own filth?

The answer probably has to do with isolation being the wages of narcissism. But, I have no confidence that a baby-boomer director can take on that subject objectively.

Have to mention the amazing performance of Cate Blanchett here. She channels Kate Hepburn in such a way that the audience kept laughing out loud in sheer delight. Her scenes with DiCaprio looked most like an acting clinic, with the out-of-his-league Leo feeding lines into the stupendous acting machine of Blanchett. Hers was a wonderful performance, even as the character suffered from the same lack of help in the script that scuttled the main story. Hepburn's character, as scripted, seems to be in the movie, well, to be in the movie. But the whole delightful sub-plot could be cut and the film would be just as thematically barren. (I trust I make myself obscure...)

Alan Alda started well as the smarmy corrupt Senator, but then he degenerated into a bad television character who implausibly collapses into befuddled stuttering before the plain-spoken brilliance of the, well, severely bi-polar, manically depressed and hallucinating Howard Hughes character. Alec Baldwin also does well in playing corporate creepiness. There's not much for the rest of the talented ensemble to do. John C. Reilly, Jude Law, Kate Beckinsale - really just here to play dress-up in a Hollywood celebration of its own hey-day.

Also have to say that Scorcese's visuals are stunning and lush as always. The scenes of The Coconut Grove were great - frenzied and claustrophibic opulence. The scene of the filming of Hell's Angels was exhilerating and breathless. The long sequence of nude Leo/Howard locked in his self-made insane asylum/movie theater, was cool to watch, but didn't amount to much.

In the end, I was just kind of sad - again - that Scorcese never found a partner to work with who understands good storytelling. He needs someone around to nix every other visually interesting scene, for one that has narrative significance. A friend emailed me that Scorcese might never get another major studio budget if this film flops. I actually think that might be good for him...and all of us.

Pass. Just fly-over The Aviator.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
MAYBE IF I WATCHED IT SIDEWAYS?

If the film everybody is raving about, Sideways wins Best Picture in the year of The Passion of the Christ, I am going to seriously consider moving to eastern CT, to avoid a probable coming cataclysm. Honestly, along with Closer, this is the second film in four days that has made me want to flee this business, peeling of its slime as I run. It isn't so much the film - there have been mediocre, rambly, sexually explicit tales of moral pygmie navel-gazing narcissists before. It's just kind of, you know, excessively repulsive how everyone is falling all over themselves to rave about this project, because there are such a paucity of other serious competitors for Gibson's film.

Sideways is the story of two dreadful men, one an alcoholic manic-depressive loser, and the other a sex-addicted, pathological liar. (Are we having fun yet? Can't wait to rush out to the theater? But wait, there's more.) They hook up with two women, one of whom is a tramp who smokes pot and entertains men in the living room while her 8 year old daughter is in the next room. The other woman seems like less of a pot-smoking tramp, but in the end, she really isn't that much different in practice. She doesn't have a daughter though because she got divorced too early to have had kids. (Now, you're having fun, right? But, no, the entertainment goes on!) They are all just terrible, dreadful people. The sensation of watching them writhe around through two hours is alternately embarrassing and very, very sad.

I actually thought, as I emerged from the theater, which felt rather like climbing out a pit, that if a Christian had created those kinds of pagan characters in our projects, we would be accused of making one-dimensional "bad people" characters. But for some reason, when the pagans draw themselves in such dreadful lines, they are called "honest" and "profound". I guess it's the same rules which makes it okay for black hip-hoppers to use the "N" word?

People have raved to me about the movie because it has a lot of stuff about wine in it. But I found the whole wine sub-plot absolutely ill-fitting in this narative. It felt like the writer has a personal wine obsession, and he pretentiously stuffed the movie full of wine facts just to give some kind of background to his characters. But it didn't fit to me. Or at least, I don;t think the writers really understood what the whole wine thing might have added thematically. I mean, why ruin Miles' amazing love of wine, by making him a drunk? It kind of turns the whole 'Man will be saved by beauty" thing on its head. There were a few feeble - LONGWINDED - efforts to press some theme out of the characters grapes of wrath, but, in the end, the whole script was just a big mess. Intentionally mirroring the lead characters rambling 748 page novel? Hmmmm...

There was one lovely visual moment in the film. A baby "haunting moment" for you Act Oners out there. It had to do with the little bunch of pinot grapes that pull Miles out of his funk. Too bad the rest of the film didn't know it should have been about this.

The only thing I had heard about the film before I saw it was that it was "a bit wordy." HOLY MIND-BLOWING UNDERSTATEMENT, BATMAN! The two main male pigs in the film have the same conversation over and over and over and over again in the film's two plus hours. And it isn't a clever conversation either.

PIG 1: "Hey, Dude! Get over your manic-depressive sh*t because you're f*ckin' up my sex life!"
PIG 2: "Okay, okay, okay."

If Alexander Payne hadn't bought his own hype of being a clever genius, he should have submitted this project to some kind of script-doctor who could have cut out two-thirds of every dialogue scene (WHICH IS THE WHOLE MOVIE! NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS IN THIS MOVIE EXCEPT TALK!), and all of many of the scenes. It's just really sloppy writing. No narrative. An unbelievable story in which the female character's choices are all unmotivated. She just needed to make the choices she does so we can eventually get to some kind of ending. This is the definition of bad cinema story-telling.

I don't get the title either. Except for the fact that I really wish they would have filmed the extended male full-frontal nudity scene sideways. Talk about your highly offensive, stereotypical portrayal of the over-weight trucker and waitress class. (Someone say something about Hollywood being indignant about poverty, but despising poor people....) Indeed, people who don't want to see graphic portrayals of animal-like sex should stay away from Sideways. Don't be fooled by all the raves. There really is very little here.

Pass - forward, backwards, sideways.
Friday, December 17, 2004
MEOW...


YOU ARE CATNIP


What herb are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
DYSFUNCTIONAL COMMENTS

Well, after several months of pleading with John, my personal little vindictive troll, to get some therapy (and a life!), I have installed a new kind of comments that will allow me to ban his vile crassness. I apologise in advance for all the gross and hateful comments John will post up here while I ban him from computer to computer. I suppose I should be grateful for the opportunity to learn first hand that hatred is, indeed, a kind of mental illness....?

Anyway, as you can see, I didn't get the installation of the new comments quite right. Can somebody tell me how to get the words "Comments 0; Trackback 0" off the top of my blog? (Clayton, are you listening?)

NOT EVEN CLOSE

The only good thing about the screening was that I didn't bring one of my young male friends with me. Then, I would have had to labor under guilt for subjecting another human being to the cinematic disease now in theaters called Closer.

And here I was thinking I'm falling behind by having been out of theaters for a couple of months. If only I could have prolonged my absence a few more weeks.

Closer should be subtitled "Four Narcissists With Potty Mouths Commit Mortal Sin." Mike Nichols has a perverted side, as anyone with a keen sense of the obvious can detect in Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf and The Graduate. This film brings all of us way, way too close to his degrading sexuality. I honestly think Nichols gets some kind of fetishistic thrill out of making beautiful, super star actors act like pigs.

Just like in Garden State and so many dramatic pieces in the last few years, Closer thinks it is being profound, when all it is being is embarrassingly banal. Watching the film feels very much like watching a five year old stare at a pile of his own vomit.

There is nothing insightful in beautiful people with no moral framework lying to each other to get more sex with other beautiful people. I heard all of the idiotic actors in the piece say on one talk show or another, that the film was about "Truth." It isn't really. It's about alleycats slinking around and humping each other.

The only hopeful thing about this piece of pretentious, over-blown, highly stylish piece of celluloid garbage, is that it is one more nail in the coffin of the Sexual Revolution. Or rather, we are seeing so many rejections of the lies of the SR, that this film could probably only be considered glaze on a nail in its coffin. Nichols doesn't condemn the SR, he seems to take it as an evolutionary fact, but the characters' lives here do. Hopefully, no one in the theater wants to be any of these dreadful, selfish people who talk in soap opera dialogue ("Why won't you let me love you?") or worse than soap dialogue ("I love you. And I have to go piss.").

No Christian consideration of Closer would be complete without noting that the language in the film is the worst I have ever heard. There is one particularly long scene in which the two male characters engage in vile Internet sex. It was disgusting. Way beyond what St. Paul could have been thinking when he said, "Let some things never be spoken of between you." I got out of my seat twice during the scene, but then I sat back down again BECAUSE SOME CHRISTIAN FILM CRITICS I KNOW SAID THE FILM WAS FASCINATING!!! (And tomorrow we will rationalize watching people hit one another with sledgehammers.)

Pass. Pass. Pass. Stay far away from Closer.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
THE NEXT THING IS HERE

The thing with evil is, it never relents. It never sleeps. It never retreats. It never pauses to catch its breath.

That's what I was thinking last Thursday while watching the last half of ER which featured an absolutely compelling and iron-clad dramatic defense for euthanasia. While, we all are catching our breath from having held the barricades against same-sex marriage on election day, the left marches on, advancing a new front.

I don't believe in media conspiracies, but it is amaziong how everybody in the worlds of mainstream media and entertainment seem to get "on message" so fast. So, this week, for example, on Wednesday, I heard House minority leader Nancy Pelosi note on CNN that there really isn't any looming crisis in Social Security, and that the whole thing has been raised by the GOP to scare young people. Then, most of Wednesday and Thursday, AOL has the lead headline, "Bush says There is a Looming Social Security Crisis." "Hmmmm..." I thought. "Since when, don't we all agree that Social Security is in trouble?"

Then, I catch the ER episode on Thursday night, and I started to see the next horizon. It all fits together for anyone who wants to see it.

The segment on ER - which was, SUPER-ironically the Christmas episode! - has the Chinese female Dr. Chen, selflessly and secretly caring for her father at home. He is a proud man who has now been reduced to the terrible suffering and humiliation of some kind of crazy seizures. The shots of his skinny naked legs flailing around in the air were all about getting the audience to the conclusion, "Good grief! No one should have to live like that!" From those sequences, it was just a short segue away for Dr. Chen to compassionately end her father's suffering.

It was stunning. A lead character, on a prime-time show, ends her father's life with an injection. This is the kind of action that previously was reserved for guest-actors, who didn't have to be safely sympathetic. At some point, the folks at ER and NBC decided, killing your sick parent with drugs is not something that would ruin a character's sympathy with the audience.

But there's more here. And that is the fact that the act of euthanasia styled as so very compassionate on ER unfolds as a daughter killing her father.

See, there is one way for there NOT to be a Social Security crisis in fifteen to twenty years. Do you see it? There will only be a crisis in Social Security, if we are not courageous and compassionate enough to euthanize our elderly.

My sense is, the temptation for Gen Xers to euthanize their Baby Boomer parents will be rationally irrestible for many. After all, Gen X is the group whose siblings were terminated so that Baby Boomers could have complete unfettered lives. What ever goes around...
Saturday, December 11, 2004
PEOPLE NOT PROJECTS

A friend told me recently that I will probably have that on my gravestone. Yeah, I guess.

Here's
the latest National Catholic Register reprint on Catholic Exchange of this, my keynote schtick.

Friday, December 10, 2004
EVEN MORE ME

So, one of our Act One alumns, Clayton Emmer, has set me up a personal web-site.

I feel like the occasion deserves some kind of auspicious introductory event - but I'm so tired and busy, I'm going to go for discreet and humble. (If I don't tell people how humble I am, they'll never know.)

We're still working on the site, so please feel free to send ideas about how it could be better. ("But this is about you! What else do you want to see about me?")

Right now, we are hoping the site will be an administrative help to funnel speaking and writing invitations to my assistant, the over-worked, underpaid, but never harried (how does she do that?!), Elizabeth. It also has my bio on it and copies of as many of my online writings as we could find. Eventually, we'll get some decorations up on it with photos of my favorite things. And anything else any of you think I should have.

Maybe an ever-expanding list of movies I recommend?

For now, without further adieu....BarbaraNicolosi.com

Thanks, Clayton!
Thursday, December 09, 2004
BARB'S BRAIN MAKIN' A LIST, CHECKIN' IT TWICE...

1. Am now officially eight days past my deadline to submit my National Catholic Register column. No hope of getting it done until Saturday. - NAUGHTY

...Am ducking their request for a special article about the Pope on Cinema because I really want to do it, but can't see how or when - NAUGHTY

2. Was supposed to turn in the first draft of the screenplay Nov. 25. Am now shooting for Christmas....We'll see how much I get done on Saturday. - NAUGHTY

3. Am five weeks late submitting my chapter for the Act One book. They would certainly cut me out of the project if it wasn't for the fact that the book editor works for me. Saturday looks good to wrap that up. -- DEFINITELY NAUGHTY

4. Have written but not typed up a preface to a new book on the theology of The Passion of the Christ. They made the mistake of saying, "Whenever you can get to it." I think I can get it done Saturday before I really start writing. - NAUGHTY

5. Managed to do all the final negotiations for the new Act One offices. We sign the lease Friday. - NICE

6. Am ducking a new friend who runs a cool ministry that I really love. She asked me two months ago to give notes on the marketing plan they will be rolling out this year. - SLIMEY NAUGHTY

7. Am spending the next two dfays participating in a consortium on theology and cinema. I actually read the four books they sent in advance of our discussions - NICE!

...But, then, they sent me a pile of papers to read based on the books, and I only managed to print those out. Sigh. - NAUGHTY

8. In anticipation of the Act One Board of Directors meeting tonight, we managed to get out an agenda and all the budget stuff and other info to the members three whole days ago. - NICE

...Me taking credit for the fact that my staff did the lion share of work getting all the Board meeting stuff together - PROBABLY NAUGHTY

9. Managed to coordinate several meetings this week between our Hollywood Christians, and a delegation of Christians from Capital Hill. The meetings have been very well-attended and interesting. - NICE

...Thinking of the follow-up blog or messages I should write about our discussions. Maybe can squeeze it in on Saturday... - NAUGHTY

10. Still have to find that 12" GI Joe tank for nephew John Thomas somewhere out there in Internet shopping land. Have been spending too much time surfing around looking for it. - MORALLY UNCLEAR. CONSULT FAGOTHEY.

11. Have so many cool things to blog. Been saving thoughts since the film festival back in October. What if I die suddenly without getting to post my ideas of how The Wizard of Oz fails thematically by having subverted itself as a musical in terms of its methodology? Thinking I can get up early on Saturday. - IS IT NAUGHTY WHEN IT'S JUST INSANE?

12. Everyone is asking me to comment on movies. Haven't seen anything for months. Need to see everything. - NAUGHTY

13. Missing the office Christmas party tomorrow to be at the theology thing. - NAUGHTY

...Saving money by not getting presents for anyone at the office and thinking no one will notice because I am missing the party - DEEP IN THE NAUGHTINESS ENDZONE*
(*credit to Karen Hall for coining the usage)

14. While running between events yesterday, I turned on the radio and heard a song about Christmas. It made me think of Jesus and my heart swelled with love. Still got it, even now. - VERY VERY NICE
Monday, December 06, 2004
CHURCHES AND ARTICHOKES

I’m just back in Los Angeles after eight days in Italy. I was traveling with my sister Val, the opera singer, which was fun as we are both passionately dedicated to Jesus, art and, well, artichokes. Valerie is one of the only people on the planet who agrees with me that it is not over-doing it to order artichokes at restaurants twice a day for eight days. It’s our pathetic little brand of hedonism; make the most of it. We’re gambling that God, who invented the artichoke, has to be secretly delighting that one family, at least, really, really gets them.

We saw many beautiful churches. Exploring the sidestreets of Rome Thursday, we dropped into the fabulous Basilica of St. Andrew. It wasn’t even in our guide book – despite the immense and impressive frescos in the sanctuary of the martyrdom of St. Andrew, and eighty-seven different kinds of marble and lots of other works of glorious sacred art. It occurred to us that if any church in the U.S. had half as much beautiful art as St. Andrews, it would be a major place of pilgrimage for us poor sacred art starved Americans…and in Rome, it doesn’t even make it into the guidebook!

The people who had set up my trip were all lovely and solicitous, and, the sum total of their many kindnesses will have me working very hard to recover my bleakYankee crankiness about the imminent fall of Western civilization. Special thanks to Armando Fumagalli (I feel sure I spelled your name wrong…) and Paulo Braga in Milan, Pablo, the faculty secretary, and Juan Nobelas at Santa Croce, and Carmen of Opus Dei who pretended to be thrilled to spend the day showing us the great churches of Rome which I know she has probably shown to people 12,000 times before. Thanks to, to Fr. John, for understanding the essential relationship between sanctity and personal defects, not to mention the one between drama and the same. And thanks, Mary Cass, and the folks at Focolare, for getting me a room and a crowd to meet with.

As great as Italy always is, I admit that there is such a sense of relief when the plane touches down again on American soil. My sister and I sat in Philadelphia last night, waiting for our connecting flight, and making a list of the great little things about Italy, but also the equally great little things that make America a really nice place to come home to.

GREAT LITTLE THINGS ABOUT ITALY

1. St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul’s (okay not so “little”), and in a secondary sense, the Gesu, St. Andrew’s, St. Ignatius’, etc. etc. etc.

2. Artichokes Romana, Arctichokes Judaia

3. shrines to the BVM at every intersection

4. buffalo mozzarella

5. the rain makes the city seem even shinier

6. more kinds of panini than you could ever possibly hope to sample in one lifetime

7. the waiters see serving food as a personal vocation

8. gelato

9. Il Trevi

10. pumpkin tortellini

11. friendly cab drivers

12. did I mention pumpkin tortellini?

13. “the little people” mob a display in a plaza about the restoration of La Scala

14. wine cheaper than soda



GREAT LITTLE THINGS ABOUT AMERICA

1. you can find an open restaurant any time of the day or night

2. bathroom fixtures that are better in every respect

3. things tend to work here

4. the Internet is something you can access in your hotel room

5. washcloths

6. our workers know how to go on strike

7. you can use a pay phone without an engineering degree

8. retail places stay open from 1 to 4 every day

9. we don’t have hard-core pornography at 10pm on network television

10. our police don’t stand on street corners holding Uzis at the ready

11. our president isn’t allowed to also own all the major television stations

12. our train seats all face one way so people don’t have to watch you eat your panini and cannolli
LAST SONG?

What does it say about me - besides that I'm jet-lagged - that the first song I thought of when I asked myself this question was Downtown by Petula Clark?

Bob Dylan Interview in Rolling Stone:

Q: 'What's The Last Song You'd Like To Hear Before You Die?'
A: 'How 'Bout 'Rock Of Ages?'

Lyrics:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

4. While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
FROM THE "YOUR MONEY IS NO GOOD HERE" FILES

Someone forwarded me this from some source called Studio Briefing. Actually, I really hope this is just one more urban legend spam thing. But I'm going to take a chance and reprint it here. Clearly, for Viacom and NBC, just being Christian makes you inappropriate for the public airwaves.


Church Ad Rejected by Networks

Viacom's CBS and UPN networks have rejected a paid public service announcement by the United Church of Christ in which an announcer says, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we. ... No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."

In a statement, Viacom said: "Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations.
..and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the networks." NBC has also rejected the ad as "too controversial," the church said.

In a statement, the Rev. John H. Thomas, the church's president said that it was ironic that "an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial. What's going on here?" The ad was accepted by Viacom's black-oriented BET cable network and its Nick at Nite channel as well as by ABC Family, Fox, Hallmark, and many Turner Broadcasting channels.