Berry's World
Friday, July 04, 2003

I happened to have the misfortune of having Good Morning America on this morning when 'film critic' Joel Seigel came on to review Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas, the new animated flick from DeamWorks. Seigel was gushing about how Sinbad is just about the greatest movie ever made in the history of film (putting that mindless Citizen Kane in it's place) when he, with a straight face mind you, actually said:

"The stunts are spectacular!"

The stunts in a cartoon are spectacular? Seigel's just got to be on DreamWorks payroll, doesn't he?
Thursday, July 03, 2003

Have you noticed how long movie titles are becoming? Here are a few examples:

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black

Let me tell you, when I take over, movie titles will be limited to 3 words. If you can't name a movie in three words, then you really should look into another line of work.

Of course, everybody knows that film legend Katharine Hepburn passed away this week. While tributes to the actress have come in from everybody, the words I have heard about her most often are 'class', 'dignity', and 'intellegent'. Like me, I would bet that you have your own favorite Hepburn movie. Mine, by the way, is State Of The Union. How many people on the planet live for 96 years and still was taken too soon? Not too many, I'm guessing.

Meanwhile, on a related matter, Reese Witherspoon is in discussions to do Legally Blonde 3.

It's really hard to imagine that both Hepburn and Witherspoon shared the same profession, isn't it?

On this morning's Late Late Show, Craig Kilborn announced how President Bush is attempting to reach out to urban voters who have thus far resisted his policies:

"From now on, President Bush's tax cuts will be known as Republican bling-bling."
Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I'm almost certain that it has nothing to do with my whining and complaining yesterday about the California budget crisis, but California's Controller, Steve Westly, said on NPR today that his first act after the budget deadline passed with no new budget was to cut off payments to California's Assembly Members, State Senators, and Governor Davis.

Sadly, as I understand things, the legislators will receive all of their back pay when a budget gets done. I wonder if we could work it out so any checks they miss are just turned over to the treasury when a deal gets done.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003

My good friend and occasional canasta partner, Jim Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review, is getting screwed again! He was due a paycheck today, but yet another snafu on the part of the folks that are SUPPOSED to pay him prevented him from getting paid. That flat out sucks.

But, as usual, bloggers come to the rescue. Jim 's pal Susan of Suburban Guerrilla, who does an on-the-money Dorothy Parker impression after a couple of drinks, took Jim out to lunch and bought him a brand new pack of cigarettes.

Hats off to Susan, my blogger of the day!

I was going to mention the blog Passenger Pachyderm today, mainly because it was the first blog to list me amongst their links. (Yeah, yeah I thought it would be The Rittenhouse Review too, seeing as I single handedly solved his lack of smokes problem). Anyway, a funny thing happened whilst I was getting ready to mention Passenger Pachyderm; I started reading it.

It turns out that in addition to being a great site merely for including me in their links, it's also really cool. It's full of quirky, well-written descriptions of little noticed people and events. If you read one quirky, well-written post today, make it the Trash Man. You'll be glad you did.

Johnny Can't Read is an old song by Don Henley that, for the most part, blames Johnny (gasp!) for not being able to read, getting into trouble, and eventually ending up in prison. Henley 's premise is that you can blame his parents, his teachers, and everybody else for only so long.

Why is that appropriate today? Well, BuzzFlash, a vital site, continues to blame 'The Media' for the American people thinking that there is a direct link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and for the American people thinking that we actually found the pesky weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and for the American people thinking that Iraq actually used the weapons of mass destruction on our soldiers during the recent invasion of Iraq.

Well, sooner or later, we are going to have to stop blaming the media, and start recognizing a very uncomfortable truth: we have some really, really stupid people in this country.

Luckily, it's only about 30%-40% of the nation. Sadly, they all vote Republican.

This California budget deal, or lack thereof, is really baking my apple. So, today, I did something I never thought I would resort to: I found out who my legislators are. It turns out I live in California's 40th Assembly District, and my assembly member is none other than Lloyd Levine. I called Lloyd this morning with a great plan. Let's pass legislation that requires all Assembly members and state senators to resign one minute after a required budget deal is not done.

Well, I didn't get old Lloyd on the blower, but I did have a very nice conversation with Stuart Waldman, Mr. Levine's Chief of Staff. Stuart kindly pointed out that my plan, while viscerally satisfying, would not hasten a budget deal. It would take another 6 months to elect new assembly members and state senators, so the budget crisis would probably be worsened. However, Stuart did point out that a better idea might be to pass legislation that forfeits the salary for the assembly members and state senators.

I could go for that.

Now, for pure politics, Stuart blames the Republicans for this mess. We have 48 Democrats and 32 Republicans voting on this thing, and we have to have a 'super-majority' to reach a deal. That's two thirds, or 54 votes. The problem is that while the 48 Democrats have offered up several proposals that did not sway the needed 6 Republican votes, the Republicans have submitted exactly zero proposals.

To me, it looks like it's going to be a long, hot summer in California.

As a footnote, any Californian's interested in starting a petition to get legislation on the ballot requiring the forfeiture of these guys pay if no budget deal is done, count me in. I'll sign. Hell, I might even stand outside my local Target store collecting signatures.

I have long maintained that I won't pay for content on the internet (that's right Salon, I'm looking in your direction), but, if push came to shove, I would PROBABLY shell out a couple of bucks a year for The Daily Howler. Day in and day out, The Howler proves itself to be the best damned website on the net that doesn't have pictures of busty nurses intent on administering a complete physical exam.
Monday, June 30, 2003

California has a 38 billion (BILLION!) dollar deficit, and about 25 minutes to reach a budget deal. Those pesky legislators must be hard at work, burning the midnight oil in a last minute attempt to broker a deal, right?

Uh, wrong.

Our beloved legislators decided that the two sides were so far apart, that there was no chance to make a deal, and went home.


Now here is a recall I could get behind. If I were in charge, and it's a damn shame that I'm not, I would recall the lot of them.

Thank the Gods that we now have The New TNN, the first network for men!

I mean, after the chicks have hogged all the other networks like ESPN, ESPN 2, Fox Sports Net, and The Outdoor Channel, it's about time those network big shots realized that there are two sexes out here.

The BBC World News continues to provide the best coverage of the humanitarian crisis in Liberia. Led by Liberia's First Lady, Jewel Taylor, more calls came for the U.S. to send a peacekeeping mission to the troubled nation. Clearly, nobody has explained to the Liberians that the only way to get our attention is to have their country sitting on a boatload of oil, or have their leader take out a hit on President Bush's dad.


Here's a tid-bit for all of the hockey fans out there (both of you): My sources tell me that the Los Angeles Kings have all but signed Luc Robitaille to a 2 year contract to return to the club. Robitaille has been with the Kings on two separate occasions, and is set to make it three when he signs a free agent contract later in the summer. Robitaille suffered through a tough year with Detroit last season and was let go after the Red Wings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Several teams were interested in Luc, but the fact that he kept his home in Southern California was a key factor in his deciding to return to the Kings.


Is it just me, or has Senator John Edwards fallen off the radar screen of Democratic politics? It seems like he's campaigning on the back of milk cartons these days.

This MSNBC story indicates that there is legislation afoot to move Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge up to 8th in line of Presidential succession. While I have no feelings one way or another about this move, the story points out that Attorney General John Ashcroft is 17th in line. That's cool with me. All I can do is hope and pray that, God forbid, we get down to the 17th guy, whatever took out the top 16 took me out with them. I would fear an Ashcroft America.


Here is an article that says John McCain feels that Senator John Kerry might be able to rekindle the same sort of excitement that McCain did in 2000. McCain goes on to say that he doubts that Howard Dean could do the same. Being the conniving cynic that I am, I have to ask myself, "Is McCain trying to derail Dean because the Republican's fear him, or is McCain just being his usual, honest self?"

I tend to lean towards the latter, but I do so with both eyes and both ears open.

Being a single man fast approaching 40, I have been on more than my fair share of first dates. Usually, when they don't work out, and they usually don't, I have the unique ability to pinpoint the exact moment when things went astray. Take Friday night, for example. I was mid-way through dinner with a wannabe actress when this conversation took place:

She: What's your favorite TV show?

Me: Probably Scrubs or The West Wing. What about you?

She: Oh, it's either Fame or American Idol.

Lemme tell you, the rest of the dinner seemed like an eternity.


Israel has decided to sever all ties with the BBC, because they didn't like the content of a documentary shown on BBC Two in March. Israeli officials claim the split was made due to the BBC 's assertion that Israel used nerve gas on the Palestinians, but I kind of get the feeling that this has more to do with some of the questions asked in advertising the documentary. Questions such as:

"Which country in the Middle East has undeclared nuclear weapons?

Which country in the Middle East has undeclared biological and chemical weapons capabilities?

Which country in the Middle East has no outside inspections?

Which country jailed its nuclear whistleblower for 18 years?"


According to my sources, less than 180 minutes ago, a selfless and generous reader of The Rittenhouse Review dropped off a brand-spanking-new pack of cigarettes to Jim Capozzola, ending his near week in living hell.
Sunday, June 29, 2003

Last week, The Daily Howler was mocking, and rightfully so, several pundits for dissing Hillary Clinton's book, Living History, even though they hadn’t actually read the thing. As far as The Howler is concerned, if you haven’t read the book, you should probably refrain from commenting on it. As an aside, David Brooks of The Newshour had the lamest reason to feel vindicated in discussing the book. His comment:

“I read parts. I stood in the bookstore for about an hour looking at it; I did not buy it.”

Well, what’s good for the right is also good for the left. Today’s edition of The Hamster has a, well, review of Ann Coulter's book Treason. The only small problem comes from a single sentence:

I have not read her book, nor will I read it.”

It seems that Eric Hananoki bases his entire review on a statement made by Coulter herself, (although there is no footnote, or any indication where the Coulter quote comes from.)

Now, I like The Hamster. It’s in my Favorites folder, and I try to read it every day. I say almost because by the time the slow-loading site comes up, I’m often off to another site. My point is, as a well-respected blogger, and Hananoki certainly is that, he should rise to a level higher than this. If he wants to review a book, he owes it to his readers to have read it in the first place.


While watching the Democratic Presidential Candidate's debate on the environment, the most memorable lines seemed to be shots across Joe Lieberman's bough.

Howard Dean said:

"We cannot beat George Bush by being like George Bush."

And John Kerry said:

"We don't need a 2nd Republican party."

I'm glad to see that Joe Lieberman won't be able to position himself as Bush-lite with impunity.


As a smoker, my heart goes out to Jim Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review this weekend. It seems that due to a paycheck snafu, Jim has been without cigarettes since late last week, and doesn't have the prospect of acquiring new cigarettes until Tuesday. You mean to tell me that some reader in Pennsylvania can't front Jim a pack of Salem Ultra Lights? Come on! Somebody in The Keystone State get going and end this travesty!


It is sad indeed that a market as large as Los Angeles is saddled with such a brain-dead sports anchorman as Channel 2's Steve Hartman. We got a prime example of how idiotic Hartman really is during last night's 11:00pm newscast. The Angels hosted the Dodgers in an inter-league game that was highlighted (I'm using that term loosely) by a fight in the stands. Hartman opened his sports report by showing about a dozen Dodger fans beating the snot out of an Angel’s fan. Hartman's comment? "Wow, the Dodgers could use some of these sluggers in the line-up."


No mention of how these buffoons should be arrested and barred from every Major League Park in the country, just a snide remark about how these hooligans might have helped the Dodgers score some runs.

Sadly, just as I was ready to proclaim Hartman the dumbest person on Channel 2, it got worse. As Hartman showed highlights of a Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA) player getting kicked out of the game for throwing her gum at an opposing player, we heard rip-roaring laughter from the news anchor.

I hate local news.


Dennis Miller continued his hard-right turn, acting as the opening act for President Bush in an appearance in Los Angeles Friday night. While he continues haranguing Senator Robert Byrd for being in the KKK like 40 years ago, his most memorable line concerned the 9 Democrats running for their party's nomination. I don't have the quote handy, but it was along the lines of "I haven't seen a starting nine this weak since the '62 Mets."

Now, I'm sure Jeff Cooper over at Cooped Up would have a better memory than I, but I'm almost positive that those underachieving Mets had Hall Of Fame member Richie Ashburn in the starting line-up. I'm sure the Democrats would settle for a future Hall Of Famer amongst their candidates.

By the way, is it just me or is Mr. Miller's reputation going down faster than a four-dollar hooker at a bachelor party?

Eschaton (or Atrios, I have no idea which is appropriate) is doing what amounts to a public service today, providing links and discussion of the historic Supreme Court case Plessy v. Feguson. This makes great reading , not just for a nearly finished law student like myself, but for anybody with a sense of national history. Give it a read. You'll feel better about yourself right away.

Somebody out there, and it certainly wasn't me, has convinced Jimmy Fallon of Saturday Night Live that he is funny when he sings. Well, he's not. Not even close, for that matter. To be honest, whenever I see him pick up a guitar, or start his infernal rapping, I quickly turn the channel.

And while I'm at it, by far the worst rapper in the history of rapping is Chris Parnell. Not only does Parnell have the rock-bottom worst George W. Bush impersonation on the planet, he seems to be the only guy who is less funny when singing than Fallon.

Here's hoping that starting next season, the SNL cast handles the comedy and the musical guests handle the music.

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