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art & entertainmentMeg gives advice to famous people

Hugh Hefner engaged! How Holly Madison can cope.

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Fun fact about Meg Boyle: I was a huge fan of E!’s reality show “The Girls Next Door,” which documented the high-larious hijinx of Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner and his three barely legal, barely natural girlfriends (note: I speak of the original, awesome “GND”, not the weird, twin-tastic reincarnation). Those who were also fans of the show know well the bitter pill that long-suffering “#1 Girlfriend” Holly Madison – who genuinely seemed to love The Hef, or so it seemed to this viewer – had to continuously swallow every time Hugh brushed off her long-held desire to marry him and have his children. Eventually, Holly followed the sound of her ticking biological clock right out of the Playboy Mansion as we fans shed a single tear for what might have been and then promptly forgot that the show ever existed.

But! Now! News from the InterWeb: Hef! Gets! Engaged! The man who said “marriage isn’t part of my puzzle” proposed to his 24-year old girlfriend on Christmas Eve, which also happens to be one day after Holly’s birthday. Fans, join me now in a rousing chorus of “Aw, hell nah!” Poor Holly. All those emotions she must be feeling right now! Who ever can she turn to for advice on how to cope with this heartbreak? Lucky for you, Holly dear, I have a lot of experience finding out that the dude you left because he wouldn’t commit has miraculously changed his tune for the very next chick he laid eyes on. Come crawl into Auntie Meg’s lap, Holly; I’m about to share with you my five-step plan for dealing with hypocritical ex-boyfriends, a five-step plan I like to call Dancing It Out with Meg Boyle. [Read more →]

virtual children by Scott Warnock

Kringleism: Dissemination and maintenance of a pervasive, complex cultural myth structure

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During the past month, people across the western world have banded together to build and sustain a powerful mythical structure. If you could peer down on humanity and see highlighted, like you had infrared glasses, markers of the beliefs that connect us, that are intangible yet exist strongly in our communications and ideas, this time of year you would note a glowing red haze of lore maintained by a sea of good will and snowy pile of white lies. Since I too am a participant in the proliferation of this myth and would be crushed if a young believer who stumbled across this article (despite the opaque title) bit into the Christmas cookie of knowledge because of me, I’ll veil my language:  Let’s say I’m speaking of Kringleism. [Read more →]

Broadway Fredtelevision

Broadway Fred: Two Cinderellas

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A couple of months ago a musical theater holy grail became available on DVD. Evening Primrose was made for television and broadcast at the end of 1966. It is based on a short story by John Collier with a teleplay by James Goldman, but most lovers of Broadway will be interested in the music and lyrics of a post-Do I Hear a Waltz?/pre-Company Stephen Sondheim. All Sondheim fans will want to see this fascinating DVD.

[Read more →]

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: Year-end listage and visualizations

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Like so many others, I like to take personal inventory at year-end — examine data; review numbers; analyze.

Luckily for stat nerds and music geeks like me, that process is more data-intensive than ever. Last.FM, for instance, has charted my music-listening habits since 2007. And in the past year, I integrated my libraries from Mog and Pandora into Last.FM’s “scrobbling” machine, so my database of  listening trends is far-reaching and vast.

Join me as I immerse myself in the data bog. The wiggly abyss of sound.

[Read more →]

Gail sees a movie

Gail sees a movie: Year End Wrap

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Before the 2010 wrap party ends, Gail needs to reflect on the 50 plus movies she has seen this year. Think of this list as a party favor.

Movies That Lived Up To Their Hype

These films were actually worth that ever increasing ticket price.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. It is one of my favorite films in the series. The kids are growing up.

The Social Network. This film is nearly perfect. Excellent writing, directing, acting and a compelling true story.

Avatar. Ok, it was released in the waning days of 2009, but I didn’t see it until 2010. I watched it again on HBO recently and I am glad I saw it in 3D/Imax.  I loved seeing this film in the theater. [Read more →]

all workartistic unknowns by Chris Matarazzo

On being a full-time artist

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My day gig is teaching, so I am off this week. All I really had to do yesterday was shovel snow. That is it. This was done by about eleven o’clock in the morning. Did I come in and compose a sonata? Did I practice an extra hour on my guitar? Did I work on the final two mixes on my current musical project? Did I get around to writing this article before 8:55 PM last night? Nope. [Read more →]

advicediatribes

Blizzard conditions IN the airport

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Right now I am at hotel computer in Connecticut freezing my ass off. The automatic doors are broken from the wind last night, so there is a steady breeze that chills the lobby and the computer lab down the hall. I spent yesterday morning going to LaGuardia in a snow storm, and yesterday afternoon and night returning from LaGuardia in a blizzard. The worst part is that I have a bad cold and little money. Why should you care? Because my story is the story of the people you see on the news who you are glad to be not. And you just might learn something. [Read more →]

fashion & clothing

Marty Digs: Farewell to the local Kmart

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The local KMart store in my area has closed, it has apparently been there in Brooklawn, New Jersey for over thirty years. It has definitely been there for as long as I remember. And for some odd reason, I am bothered and saddened by this. I have this weird nostalgia/comfort zone thing where I hate to see businesses go under, and especially something that has been there forever. I almost had a stroke when the restaurant my grandfather owned for over 50 years (and that I basically grew up in) was getting gutted by the newest owners. My relief came when I called my grandmother to tell her and she said “things change Marty”, which is ironic because her shore house has not changed once in my 34 years of life! [Read more →]

bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Ohio State benefits from hypocritical NCAA

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Someday, I would like to do some real research into the NCAA. If you are not aware, it is the organization that essentially governs college athletics. I am sure that it serves some kind of positive purpose, but I can’t claim to be aware of what that purpose might be. More often, it seems that the decision makers of the NCAA arbitrarily hand out punishments to schools and players for a variety of infractions in the areas of recruiting and player eligibility with little regard for fairness or consistency. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

The most successful president ever

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The current White House occupant triumphantly reigns over the United States like no other. He succeeded in accomplishing his agenda while simultaneously leaving his opponents dazed, confused, and delusional. Is there anything that can stop him now? It seems unlikely. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtelevision

Top ten least watched holiday specials

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10. The Generic Holiday Special

9. Gift Wrapping With the Stars

8. A Charlie Brownstein Hanukkah

7. Egg Nog at the Jersey Shore

6. Justin Bieber Away in a Manger

5. Frosty the Puddle: The Global Warming Show

4. How the Grinch Stole Our Retirement Funds

3. When Reindeer Attack

2. I Saw Ricky Martin Kissing Santa Claus

1. Sarah Palin’s It’s A Marvelful Life
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

moneypolitics & government

The grinch who robbed the next generation of taxpayers

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language & grammarpolitics & government

‘No Labels’ and everyday irony

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I get a kick out of what I call everyday irony—small contradictions, often so small they pass without notice—that make me laugh. For example, the other day a friend of mine pointed out the everyday irony of those radio ads that ask for donations of old cars to benefit the blind. Undoubtedly a worthy charity, but it still brings to mind Mister Magoo. [Read more →]

on the law

Death For Extremist Speech?

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This past Wednesday, a Salem, Oregon jury sentenced a father and son to death for a bombing that killed two police officers. Regardless of how you feel about capital punishment–in general or in this particular case–there’s a part of the prosecutor’s argument that should worry you. [Read more →]

books & writingBroadway Fred

Broadway Fred: Two ladies

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I recently added two engaging and informative show business memoirs to my collection. The first, having recently won the National Book Award, is all the rage. The second was all the rage in 2006. (Even though I am not on the cutting edge, I eventually catch up.)

[Read more →]

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: Susan Boyle’s saucy red muffler; the torture of living with blasted dreams, etc.

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It’s no secret that this reporter loves the Russian Web site Pravda.

Pravda distills world news and current events into an aggregate of truth and beauty. Blood-red, Putin-flavored beauty.

Thus it comes as no surprise that Pravda contains the world’s greatest music coverage.

Some excerpts are provided below.

[Read more →]

Gail sees a movie

Gail sees a movie: True Grit

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I have an ambivalent relationship with the Coen brothers. I love some of their early films and last year’s A Serious  Man was one of my favorite films of the year. But while there is much to admire about True Grit, it left me a little cold. [Read more →]

creative writingtravel & foreign lands

Holiday Status Updates: Heathrow Airport

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December 21, 5:50am:

Worst news ever. Flight has been cancelled. Huge snow storm. Horrendously long lines— in one of them now, hoping to get on the 2:30 flight to Copenhagen and catch connecting flight home tonight.

December 21, 9:33 am:

Still in line, moving painfully slow. Someone in the family in front of me has a case of the farts. Annoying. I bet it’s the chubby kid. It’s always the chubby kid.

December21, 10 am:

Not going to Copenhagen. But guess who is? That’s right, little mister fartface and his whole slob family. Blood pressure rising.  Need a Cinnabon.

December 21, 10:13am: [Read more →]

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

Robot cat toilets and the dream of eternal rest

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It’s important to seek wonder in everyday life, to retain a child’s fascination for simple things. This is not always simple – the sheer grind of daily life can easily knock the joie de vivre out of your system. Fortunately you can find wonder in the most unexpected places, so long as you keep your eyes open. [Read more →]

moviesreligion & philosophy

Myth in movies: Was Jesus a user?

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In anticipation of TRON: Legacy, I recently re-watched a bunch of simulation-world films including The Thirteenth Floor, eXistenZ, and the original TRON, which I hadn’t seen in over twenty-five years. While I remember being somewhat confused watching the futuristic Disney film as a kid, seeing it again with new eyes, I was amazed at how clearly it expressed the “life as illusion” theme I’ve been so fascinated by as an adult. In the original movie, Jeff Bridges is considered a “user.” While Bridges often plays users in his films, in this case, it refers to a computer user who manipulates the scenarios of a digital world that is very similar to our own. In the original film, users are considered mythical, messianic figures who can help free the programs from the game they find themselves in. This got me thinking. [Read more →]

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