Archive for the ‘celebrity’ Category

Whatever it takes, Rhianna knows she can make it through . . .

June 11, 2009

Ashley will be soo jealous . . .

Ashley will be soo jealous . . .

TMZ is reporting that Rhianna is dating . . . Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi!  Both have been the victims of violence in the past — she from that asshole Chris Brown, and he from crazy ol’ Rick:


Kid Rock, Dale Earnhardt and Army Recruiting

June 10, 2009

Rebecca and I almost never go out.  In fact, I think the last time we had dinner out — just the two of us — was at Off the Wall.  So it’s no surprise that we don’t see very many first-run movies, either.  Hey, we’re frugal.

But every now and then someone gives us a gift card, and I remember the last time we went they played this absurd Kid Rock video/army recruiting video beforehand.  It accomplishes the neat trick of offending anyone who really bothers to pay attention.  Of course, it’s a nightmare of militarism and jingo.  Mr. Rock isn’t interested in any of your pansy-ass reasons for going to war — “don’t tell me who’s wrong or right” — he just wants to see people die — “if you ain’t gonna fight, get outta the way.”

But the thing is also totally offensive to soldiers, as well.  Scenes of US soldiers in some unnamed and dusky country are interspersed with clips of Mr. Rock on stage (ok, it’s a music video) and . . . Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving around in a circle (?!).  The implication is that the NASCAR driver is also one of the “Warriors” that Mr. Rock is singing about.

Of course, Dale Jr. is there because his car is sponsored by the Army, and he has the huge decal to prove it.  It’s sort of like the world’s biggest “Support the Troops” ribbon.  And like the ribbon phenomenon, his participation in the video is an empty gesture, a badge of pride and politics rather than a show of real concern for the soldiers put in harm’s way by those politics.  Gross.

Happy Birthday Morrissey

May 22, 2009

morrisseyMorrissey turns 50 today, so to mark the birthday of the other love of my life, here’s something I wrote back in March after he played at UB:

“It’s Thursday night . . . I’m in Buffalo . . . and I give myself to you.”

I’ve been to 6 Morrissey shows now, and they’ve all been great, but Thursday’s show was the best of the bunch. It was odd to have him playing at UB, to be sitting in my terrible African survey class knowing that the tour buses were literally 100 yards away, or to hear people complaining that they couldn’t buy meat at the cafe in the Center for the Arts on the day of the show. After years of meeting him on neutral territory — Massey Hall in Toronto, the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara (yes, I traveled across the continent to see him play. I prefer to think of this as a measure of his greatness rather than my insanity), even a local venue like Kleinhans — now he was on my turf.

“I went to the Buffalo Science Museum, where, quite naturally, I fell asleep . . . so I moved on to the Buffalo Historical Society, where, quite naturally, I fell asleep . . . and here I am now.”

Rebecca is right that Morrissey is the last of a dying breed — a real pop star. The term has become devalued to the point that anyone who happens to have a record at the top of the charts is called a star, but it just doesn’t apply anymore. Stars aren’t photographed walking barefoot into public bathrooms, or drunkenly stumbling out of some club at 4 AM.  Stars don’t sell cheap perfume at Target. Stars stand apart and uncommon.

Morrissey is a star. Like his onetime hero David Bowie, he’s cultivated the kind of outsized image — his once-glorious and absurd hair, his gold lame shirts, his single name moniker — that lets people know it’s ok to turn him into an idol. Yet unlike Bowie, who sang in the voice of obviously fictitious characters — Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, etc. — Morrissey’s lyrical voice has always been grounded in the mundane details of the gray and rainy past, towns where “each household appliance is like a new science,” full of punctured bicycles and darkened underpasses. The combination of the sacred and profane provokes a powerful response in people who are attracted to the seemingly distant star yet hopeful that the distance may not be so great as it seems. This rhetorical space is made real at the front of the stage, where fans fight to overcome the guards and barriers that separate them from their king. The power is such that ostensibly straight men fight for the chance to kiss him in front of thousands of others. This is love:

UPDATE: Check out my new site —

James effin’ Baldwin

May 11, 2009

Brett Favre “Tastes of America”

May 9, 2009
You mean this guy isn't Brett Favre?

You mean this guy isn't Brett Favre?

I’m sick of Brett Favre.  I’m especially sick of what he represents.

Speculation continues to swirl around the possibility that Brett Favre will come out of retirement (again) to suit up for the Minnesota Vikings.  Favre has apparently sent x-rays of his right shoulder to team doctors, and if his arm is up to snuff, he’ll be wearing purple next fall.

ESPN’s John Clayton calls Favre a “marquee quarterback,” but the numbers don’t support the claim.  Favre finished the season with an 81 quarterback rating, an equal number of TDs and interceptions, and 6 games with a QB rating under 70.  Those aren’t the numbers of a marquee quarterback — they’re the numbers of an erratic quarterback, the kind of guy who can lose a game just as quickly as he can win one.  In fact, our own Trent Edwards had a statistically superior season to Favre, and unlike Favre he’s likely to improve with age.  So why does much of the media  still consider Favre a game-changing star?

Outdated ideas about what it means to be a man, mostly.  While many of our sports stars have constructed cosmopolitan or metrosexual identities — think David Beckham, Derek Jeter or even A-Rod — Favre has been a throwback, the good ol’ boy with his Wrangler jeans and John Deere tractor.  And since football is the most conservative American sport, football writers eat that shit up.

Race is also a factor, too.  Favre is a drug addict who has spent the last several years putting himself before the team with his annual will-he-or-won’t-he dramatics.  He’s also a successful white athlete in an industry where the gatekeepers — if not the participants themselves — are overwhelmingly white.  It’s unimaginable that a black player in a similar situation would be regarded as a minor national treasure, as Favre is in some circles.

The best satire of America that I’ve ever seen is “Talledaga Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”  It touches on the confluence of sports, masculinity and conservatism that’s embodied in Brett Favre.  After kissing him, Jean Giroux told Ricky Bobby “you taste of America.”  The same could be said of Brett Favre.

Manny Being Druggy

May 7, 2009
Yeah, I cheated in Boston, too . . .

Yeah, I cheated in Boston, too . . .

Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, one of the 5 best right-handed hitters in baseball history, was suspended for 50 games today for failing a drug test.  Early indications are that Manny “did not test positive for steroids, but for a drug that was prescribed by a doctor for a medical condition.”

Given that a doctor can write a prescription for just about anything and for just about any reason, I’m not buying this excuse.  Since steroids have been explicitly denied by thse in the Ramirez camp, I’m betting on Human Growth Hormone as the culprit.

I like Manny, so part of me is sad that he’ll be gone until the All-Star break.  But I also hate the Red Sox, so it’s nice to see that someone affiliated with them until last year is finally caught up in a performance enhancing drug scandal.  Anyone who imagines that Manny just started juicing after he got to LA probably believes that A-Rod stopped before he got to the Yankees.  Nonsense.


Apparently, the drug that Manny was taking is a woman’s fertility drug!  From this article:

However, two sources told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada that the drug used by Ramirez is HCG — human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a women’s fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO.

Cinco de Mayo

May 5, 2009

I saw El Vez — the Mexican Elvis — open for Morrissey in Santa Barbara back in 99.  It was amazing — his set consisted of Chicano nationalist reworkings of classic Elvis tunes, which was cool enough, but I’d never seen an opening act with his own backup dancers and three costume changes in a half hour.

Since my knowledge of Mexican history is pretty much limited to the lyrics of his songs, here is the opening of his “Cinco de Mayo”:

Mexico was in the middle of a raging civil war

Juarez tried to make things better than before

Europeans want Mexico back as colony

France wants to trim US Manifest Destiny

This is the battle ‘tween France and Mexico

This is the Ballad of Cinco de Mayo

Torry Holt’s Finger

May 4, 2009


Torry Holt was on my fantasy team last year.  He sucked.  Maybe the whole deformity thing had something to do with it.

“I’m going to leave it just like this,” Holt says. “This is what I got out of the game. Some crooked fingers. It scares little kids, too.”

Jack Kemp, Pizza and the GOP

May 4, 2009
The next Karl Rove?

The next Karl Rove?

I was tickled by this story, which details a GOP town-hall meeting held in a pizzeria.  It was part of an ongoing effort to re-brand the Republican party in the wake of a few bad election cycles.  Part of the reason I like it is that it’s just so cynical, as if a pizzaiolo has the idea that can save that sinking ship.

Normally these type of political rebranding moves are mistakes.  Our politics are cyclical, and even a party at its lowest ebb is only a few cycles away from being back in power.  But in this case, I think the effort is warranted.  The GOP is a schizophrenic mess.

Jack Kemp’s death really brought this home for me.  Kemp was a strong conservative — a champion of Reaganomics, anti-abortion — and yet he seemed totally out of place in the modern GOP.  Buffalo Pundit touches on this with a letter from Kemp to his grandchildren which is full the sort of nuanced and rational thought that his party seemed to have abandoned in recent years.

I’m no pizza-maker, but I’d bet the GOP would be well-served by being less Palin and more Kemp.

Steven Page, Cocaine and Me

May 1, 2009
If he had a million dollars, he'd buy him some justice . . .

If he had a million dollars, he'd buy him some justice . . .

Folks who’ve been reading the Rebecca and Colin blog may remember that I predicted that Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies would beat the rap on cocaine charges after being arrested outside Syracuse last July:

Steven Page from the Barenaked Ladies and I have a lot in common. We both like macaroni and cheese, we’ve been known to rock some sweet sideburns, and we’re both addicted to cocaine. No, wait — that’s just him.

But we do share a lawyer. The great Mark Mahoney is representing Page after he was arrested for cocaine possession near Syracuse last Friday. No word whether it was Dijon cocaine.

Mark defended me and two others when we sat-in at the Air Force recruiter’s office in Buffalo in January 2003. I predict that Page will get off scot-free. That’s just how Mahoney rolls.

Yes, it is.

I remember going into Mahoney’s office for a meeting before our piddly little trespassing trial, and seeing a folder with the name of one of the Lackawanna Six on the desk in front of me.  That was my first inkling that I was about to get legal representation from somebody several levels above my pay grade.