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Mark

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  1. Mark

    Lost

    Agree that deliberate biblical parallels are always a strong possibility on Lost. Where the writers are going with it, I have no idea. About that Flannery story Jacob was reading - why "Everything that Rises Must Converge," and not something more overtly dealing with faith, sacrifice and redemption, like "Wise Blood"? The Lostie writers use lots of literary references, but I was thinking the mother-son relationship in "Everything that Rises" fits right into the woefully imperfect parent-child relationships that fill the back stories of most of the show's characters. Random thoughts for the day.
  2. Mark

    Lost

    That was exactly what I came away with. Seemed like the symbolism was setting up the bearded guy as a Lucifer figure, rebelling against Jacob/God, trying to overthrow and kill him. But then I thought that seemed too obvious and biblically symbolic for a show like Lost.
  3. Mark

    Lost

    Not blacking anything out, assuming everything here is spoiler-ish territory ... My head is spinning, and I have nothing valuable to say about last night. Well, lots, maybe, but I can't sort it out - except that I loved it. Loved the whole setup with Jacob as God figure, bearded man as Lucifer wanting control figure, and Jacob's repetitive line that everyone has choices and free will. Curious about what everyone here thinks from a theologically informed perspective. Also very curious about the idea of bodily resurrection (because Locke's body is clearly dead ... but where is Locke's soul? and how did bearded guy get into Locke's body if it's in the coffin still) - and that raises the question of Christian and Claire, who both appeared to be alive but not quite "themselves" on the island after they died (if indeed Claire is dead) ... and Christian's body is missing, right? Jack never found it ... has bearded Lucifer figure guy also inhabited them at various points? Head spinning ... rambling on. Enlighten me, please.
  4. So, as the thread title suggests, I just watched I'm Not There, and loved it. Perplexing and maddening, but a near-brilliant antidote to the typical musical biopic. But I don't so much want to talk about the movie. Searching through various opinions and IMDB threads, I found some clever soul had posted the question - which six actors would portray you if you got the Dylan treatment? Thinking this through, I realized you've gotta reverse engineer the process and figure out, "who are my six personas"? Then figure out which actors would best portray those personas. Not to say you can't have more or less than six, but we'll keep with Todd Haynes' structure and go with six. (I've probably got, like, 10.) Anyone want to play? I'll start. Oh yeah, let's also go with the Haynes approach and cast at least one person of the opposite sex. (And "life status" is no barrier - i.e., casting a deceased actor or actress is OK, as you'll see I've got one in my list.) Here are mine: Emile Hirsch as The Idealist. Like Hirsch's Chris McCandless in Into the Wild, this is the youthful, stubborn, purely spiritual, and gloriously idealistic me. He can be extreme, and he can be maddening. He refuses to accept middle ground, furiously rejects materialism of any kind, and is disgusted by the self-centered culture that seems to pervade every aspect of 21st century life. Chuck it all and go live in a commune? Or step into the wild to live in harmony with God and nature? No problem for this guy. Heath Ledger as The Brooding Loner. On the surface, he's the guy who seems confident and easy-going, but can never quite get comfortable in his own skin - like the character Ledger teased out in Monster's Ball, perfected in Brokeback Mountain, and again hinted at with his Dylan portrayal in I'm Not There. He's the guy who retreats to his cave because no one "gets him," and in fact he doesn't get himself. For sure, the most uncomfortable fitting persona of the six. Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Artiste. He's the writer, the journalist, the poet, the creator. Good at what he does, but sometimes a jerk and an elitist in the pursuit of his art. He's the guy who can produce a masterpiece but can also short-circuit his own creativity by thinking too much, and by sniffing at what might be "compromise" in his art (a la The Idealist, but not as likeable a guy). Think Capote-esque manipulation of those around him, or the jerky guy from The Talented Mr. Ripley who makes us cheer for Matt Damon when Damon bashes his head in. Dennis Quaid as The Family Man. The most conservative of the six. He's the guy who'll throw the Artiste on the bonfire in order to provide security for his family. He's not out for riches or glory, he just wants a nice, middle-America lifestyle, good schools for his kids, a college savings fund, and a secure retirement account. Quaid doesn't always play this type of character, but when he does (The Rookie, In Good Company) he brings a gravitas that few other actors can manage. James Marsden as The Geek. I love how Marsden could be a leading man, but instead always plays the guy who doesn't get the girl because he's too busy having fun and/or being clueless and/or making an ass of himself (Enchanted, Hairspray, Superman Returns). At the end of the day, though, he doesn't care, because he's comfortable in his own skin (see The Loner, above), and is a child-man in the best sense. He's the guy who spends hours/days thinking up his six personas, and the actors who'll play them, instead of planning for a college savings fund or secure retirement account. Marisa Tomei as The Bad-Ass. Much as Cate Blanchett was the baddest of the six Dylans, this personification of me is a woman, too. (S)He's not a bad guy (girl) at all, but doesn't know when to shut up or back down from a challenge. (S)He's the partyer, the guy(girl) who talks too much, drinks too much, goes out when he(she) should stay home, says yes when (s)he should say no, and, as my best friend used to say about an ex-girlfriend, "writes checks with her mouth that her butt can't cash." (Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny?) Also like Blanchett's Dylan, Tomei's me bears the closest physical resemblance ... yeah, there's something weird about that, but let's not go there.
  5. Christian, I don't know if this makes you a transgendered woman or a heterosexual male, but it gave me the biggest laugh of the week. Coffee-spitting everywhere.
  6. Here are the matchups; please PM your partners with name, address, etc.: Crow & Texas Sara Mark & smooth death Ben Johnson & Joel C Anders & opus Jason P. & Kyle Matt Conner & The Trout Holy Moly, I didn't see your post until after drawing names, but yeah, reissues do count. Any '07 acquisitions count, they don't have to be new releases.
  7. Giving this thread a bump before deadline on Thursday. Good to see we've got a nice turnout with an even dozen. (unless Holy Moly wants in, but then we'll have to stipulate he sends his CD within the calendar year )
  8. Thanks, Kyle, I haven't been around in awhile, but had to come out of the woodworks to troll for some good music from you guys. Actually 2007 was a pretty good music acquisition year for me, and I cleaned up at Christmas! (a bunch of gift CDs, plus some swap mixes, and a couple of gift cards)
  9. Last year around this time, I posted this: Anyone interested in doing another CD mix swap, consisting of the best music we acquired in 2006? A friend and I just swapped our "best of '06" mixes, based not on original release dates, but on the stuff we bought/got in the last calendar year. Neither of us buy many brand-spanking-new releases, so the format worked well for us. (Some of the songs I got from past A&F swaps made the cut.) Does anyone care to revive the format, but with the best music we acquired in 2007? Same rules apply. If you're interested, post a message here in the next couple of weeks - let's say, by Jan. 10. Then I'll pull names and pair people up, and we can swap addresses by PM.
  10. On May 11, 1965, Johnny Cash was arrested in Starkville, Mississippi, after performing at Mississippi State University. Urban legend has it that Cash was urinating in a flower bed, but told police he was "just pickin' flowers." (Cash wrote a song about it called "Starkville City Jail".) Now, one of Cash's biggest fans has devised the "Flower Pickin' Festival" in Starkville, to be held Nov. 2-4, which will include a pardon by city officials, a church service that looks at the role of grace and redemption in Cash's life, and, of course, music. An AP story about the festival is below. The official blog is at http://www.pardonjohnnycash.com/ . Mississippi to hold festival, and maybe a pardon, for "Man in Black" Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival is scheduled for early November By KATHY HANRAHAN Associated Press Writer JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- More than 40 years after the late singer Johnny Cash was arrested in Starkville, residents of the east Mississippi town plan a festival in his honor that will include a ceremonial pardoning for the "Man in Black." The Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival is scheduled for Nov. 2-4 with some events on the campus of Mississippi State University, said Robbie Ward, executive director of the festival. Ward, 29, a research writer at MSU, started talking to residents two years ago about a festival -- and a pardon for Cash. "A lot of people would laugh at me and act like I was kind of crazy," Ward said. Now with about 500 signatures on his petition, Ward is heading up a committee of 25 residents, including a local pastor, alderman and a bar owner. "The idea is to allow Johnny Cash fans around the world to take ownership in this festival," Ward said. Ward has contacted state and local officials about issuing the pardon. He is scheduled to speak to the city's board of aldermen Aug. 7. Lou Robin, Cash's manager for 31 years, now handles business affairs for the Johnny Cash Estate. "I think it would be fun to have John honored even though it started out as kind of a negative reason," Robin said. Cash died in 2003. There are different versions of what happened the night of May 11, 1965, in Starkville. One told by Cash himself in his autobiography is that he was arrested by police while walking from his motel to a grocery store after attending a party at a fraternity house on the Mississippi State campus. Another version is that Cash was arrested while picking flowers in someone's yard. Cash admitted in his book, "I was screaming, cussing and kicking at the cell door all night long until I finally broke my big toe. At 8 a.m. the next morning they let me out when they knew I was sober." Cash later wrote a song about the ordeal calling it, "Starkville City Jail," and later performed it for the inmates at San Quentin Prison. "Starkville is now known by fans by virtue (of the song)," said Bill Miller, founder of the Web site www.JohnnyCash.com. Miller said the song demonstrates Cash's openness about his past. "Johnny was one of the artists that never tried to hide his background or his past," Miller said. "The significance that he would write a song about it, shows just who the man was." Robin said he thinks Cash would appreciate so much interest in an event in his past that was, well, sobering. Ward said the message of the Starkville festival will focus on redemption, something he feels Cash exemplified. "We believe the pardon is not about his arrest in Starkville, it's recognizing that when people make mistakes what matters is what they learn from those mistakes," Ward said. Maheen Wickramasinghe, 22, of Ontario, Canada, said he got through many hard times in his life by listening to Cash's music, especially gospel selections. "There is no other singer like him that can be so soothing," Wickramasinghe said. Born blind, Wickramasinghe, a Sri Lanka native, said he heard Cash's music at the age of 9 while living with his family in England. Wickramasinghe, a piano player, said he got hooked on Cash at about 12 years old. On Nov. 2, a community-wide social is planned with a charity auction at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. At the university's amphitheater, there will be a showing of the Cash-biopic "Walk the Line." Ward is trying to line up those who have written books about Cash for a Nov. 3 discussion group on the Arkansas native. Later that day, plans include a ceremony at the site Cash was arrested, a downtown concert honoring Cash's music, a sermon on redemption and what Ward hopes to be a symbolic pardon by city officials issued to Cash's family. Rev. Allison S. Parvin, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church, will deliver the redemption sermon during the event. "His (Cash's) is just one of the great gospel stories of now," Parvin said. Ward said the final event of the night would include a jam session on stage with musical artists with the audience singing "Starkville City Jail." A community-wide church service is planned at the MSU amphitheater for Nov. 4 to close the festival. "By Sunday morning, Johnny Cash will have been pardoned and before it's over we'll all need forgiveness," Ward said. Admission to the event will be free, with a suggested donation of $10. The donations will be divided between the Starkville/Oktibbeha Boys and Girls Club and the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum. "This being a fundraiser for local charitable organizations makes it an even more worthwhile project and, of course, the Cash family would be pleased at that end result," Robin said. To make the event free and secure musicians for the festival _ perhaps even surviving members of Cash's 1980s group The Highwaymen, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson -- Ward said the committee is selling T-shirts (black, of course), bearing the words "Pardon Me, I'm Pickin' Flowers." Ward said he hopes to make the event an annual affair.
  11. Riddle starts off younger, but then becomes a Hogwarts student and the increasingly basiliskian Lord Voldemort over the course of the book, IIRC. Joseph Fiennes would be extremely wink-wink stunt-casting, considering his older bro is the scary incarnation of You-Know-Who, but Joe seems a bit long in the tooth to play Riddle as a Hogwarts student. (He's 37, according to IMDB.) Interesting rumor about Naomi Watts. Personally, I pegged her Aussie best friend, Nicole Kidman (Her Paleness!) as Narcissa. Or Cate Blanchett. But then Cate ends up in every fantasy cast I assemble. And she's already filled her action-fantasy franchise quota with Indiana Jones. But Stuart Townsend as a Weasley?? Goodness, that explains why Bill's been unseen all these years. He's been off modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch while his carrot-topped siblings were learning magic spells.
  12. I never regularly watched Gilmore Girls, and wish I had. But this is the main reason network TV series don't win me over much. Either a show is great and low-rated and gets canceled prematurely, or it's great and ends up on artificial life support for years after tanking creatively (see X-Files, Cheers, and add your own favorites here). All the more power to the Lost folks, who realized an end game is the only way to go (even if that move was prompted by the hard, cold realization that viewers were losing faith and tuning out this season).
  13. Mark

    24

    Milo spills the beans on next season. I hope he's right; the show needs to shake up its traditional structure. Get rid of the White House, too!
  14. Whatever happened to jam-packed, two-hour season finales? Last season flamed out with a whimper, too, with very little suspense and a predictable 1-2-3 finish. The "mind-reading" task in the vault wasn't bad, it just didn't belong as the final competition. So little suspense. Overall, though, the season turned out better than it could have. Even though Eric & Danielle shouldn't have been an "all-star" team in the first place ... Let's petition CBS for an all A&F edition. Do we have any supermodels hanging around here?
  15. Agreed. But you have continually equated the blonde's hair color and fashion sense with "shallowness." I'm not sure why Dustin & Kandice aren't good , or virtuous , while Mirna and Charla are, except for the perception that the BQs are not virtuous because of their appearance ... when in fact, Mirna obviously cares enough about her appearance to bleach her hair and wear cute, form-fitting clothes, too. OK, I have officially thought about Amazing Race wayyyyyyyyyy too much. But one last thing ... I can only speak for myself, but I don't think people rooting for the BQ's are doing so because they are babes (or cute, or whatever one cares to call them). Plenty of attractive people (all those models and actors!) have raced the race. The blondes have done it better and more virtuously than many of their predecessors.
  16. More literature than music-related, but ... yesterday's New York Times review of I'll Sleep When I'm Dead is a fascinating glimpse into Zevon's psyche. (for those, like me, who didn't know a whole lot about his personal demons but always loved his music) NYT links usually expire a few days after publication, so click quickly.
  17. Oh man, hilarious! A friend emailed me the day Rosie announced her departure from The View and said Mirna was picked to replace her. Yeah, that moment in the cargo plane was priceless. By the way, Crow, this line - "She has a mix of stupidity and shrewdness that is truly frightening" - is getting printed out and pasted up in my office. Love it! (And I just said I was done complaining about Mirna, didn't I? Really, I'm done now.)
  18. With you, brothah! (And agreed with your other comments about the women. Last point about Mirna, though: I would argue she is equally shallow, if not moreso, in the "appearance" department. She hasn't exactly had a bleached hair out of place, or a makeup-free day, or an outfit that didn't showcase her shapeliness since the race began. FWIW. Done complaining about her now.)
  19. I hate to break it to you, Alan, but neither is Mirna.
  20. Alan, your hatred of Dustin & Kandice makes me want to paraphrase the old tagline for a beauty product: "Don't hate them because they're beautiful." Um ... what exactly is the above accusation based on? The Barbies have lost before, remember? And they didn't fall apart, or accuse each other, or make snark about their opponents. The fact that they next week's episode appears to show them having a serious disagreement, under pressure, is supposed to prove they are plastic and phony? I've seen worse behavior in my own family - heck, I've seen worse behavior at A&F. Does the fact that Dustin & Kandice are blonde and beautiful make them "plastic"? I saw their comment about not being able to charm the Air Force sergeant as self-deprecating humor, not as a sulky or pissed-off aside about the task being unfair, or one of the partners not trying hard enough. Is the fact they came to the race to win, and have been aggressive about that, offensive because they're beautiful women? If Charla & Mirna win - a real possibility; as much as I think Mirna is the rudest person ever to race on TAR, they are a tenacious team - we can be treated to Mirna hogging the credit for carrying Charla on her back. Is that why Mirna is more "genuine," because she's rude and arrogant? (To everyone, but especially to Charla?) Honestly, her disrespect and rudeness toward Charla is enough to make me root against the team. Are the Barbies "phonies" because they used a yield - twice - against a threatening team? Did anyone else sense the irony a few episodes back when Mirna bitched about the "yield queens" and bragged about how she and Charla would only play by their own wit and talent - and then asked a ticket agent to bump another team from a flight to make room for C&M? And this reminds me of that episode of Friends when Monica said the camera adds 10 pounds, and Chandler asked, "Just how many cameras were on you?" Just how many editors would it take to paint Mirna as the single rudest racer in TAR's history?
  21. I agree whole-heartedly with most of what's already been written about the Barbies and the alternative moral universe of playing a game. They play offense very well, without being, well, offensive. That said, they did disappoint by lying to Eric & Danielle that they paid Danny & Oswald to yield another team of D&O's choice, when in fact the Barbies specified E&D as the yield-ees. I would have been more impressed if they owned up to their part in the yield and admitted they wanted to yield E&D because they are the stronger opponents. And the Schmirnas really aren't all that "what-you-see-is-what-you-get." Last week's episode was classic Mirna - accusing the Barbies of foul play for using a yield, and then urging the ticket agent at the airport to bump another team from the flight and let the Schmirnas on. If Mirna took the slightest amount of responsibility for her own actions instead of blaming Charla and the other racers for EVERYTHING, I could have more respect for them as a team. (Notice how this week she blamed Charla for not learning to drive stick, when it was Mirna who crashed the car?) That said, I agree with mrmando that they are not to be ruled out ... I expect them to be a final three team. As for Eric & Danielle - Eric is infantile, and Danielle isn't all that smart, but I was rooting for them to beat the hour glass this week, just for their ability to keep things together and keep on racing against seemingly poor odds. (Big kudos to the editors of this week's show! CrimsonLine is right, methinks, that it wasn't nearly as close as it seemed, but when Eric & Danielle looked over the edge and said they saw a car coming, wow, that was a heart-racing moment.) Danielle is much less annoying than she was in her first go-round, when she and her partner vowed to "use their boobs" to win the race; and despite Eric's locker-room behavior, he's a smart racer. They've shown much more perseverance than expected. MrMando also makes a good point about who is more ethically impure in the yield scenario, Danny & Oswald or the Barbies? Haven't D&O watched previous editions of TAR, when broke racers begged people at the airport or in the streets for money, and came away with enough to get them through the leg? Did they make any effort to get the money by other means, or jump on an easy opportunity to "sell" their yield power to the Barbies?
  22. I don't know whether to post here or there, but I'm up for it, at least...and maybe we could re-rope your previous takers. Alan, Nardis, Jeff?? I'm in - if I can find a copy of the book for cheap (or free, i.e. at the library). And Ruthie, don't feel too bad about the last selection flopping. Most of our book club efforts have gone a bit floppy (except Gilead, which generated some pretty good discussion).
  23. Ditto. Those searches would make me insane. I'd rather carry a bloody slab of meat like the Schmirnas had to do their first go-round, than search through hundreds of cookies, dolls, etc.
  24. I think it was, though. I already deleted it from the DVR, but am pretty sure the instructions said racers had to "bite into" the cookie. In fact, I rewound that part, because I wanted to be sure Phil said 600 boxes (!!), and am almost certain "biting" was part of the clue and I was thinking, no way could I bite 600 cookies ... but my memory is rubbish, so I could be wrong.
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