Friday, January 29, 2010


I don't know if Jon Stewart qualifies as entertainment or news. I know there's been debate about this for awhile now, but I'll be totally honest here- I get way more of my "news" from his show than any other so-called news source. And it's much, much funnier- or at least intentionally funny. I often laugh at CNN and Fox News, but I don't think they'd appreciate the parts I think are funny.

But anyhow, I think because this clip is so funny, it can be on a blog related to criticizing all forms of media. But I also found this story both hilarious and disturbing, so of course I needed to share it. As Stewart says here, I now understand why South Carolina didn't try to impeach Governor Mark Sanford after he disappeared for a week to meet his Argentinian mistress (under the guise of "hiking the Appalachian Trail"- even his staff couldn't find him.) Their Lieutenant Governor is a nightmare! And he's now running for governor- and I believe is the leading Republican candidate. What?!? I would be okay with letting South Carolina secede (again) if this guy wins. There may be a good argument about not creating a dependency culture, but it should NOT involve starving children. Sheesh.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm WIth Coco

I just finished watching Conan O'Brien's last "The Tonight Show" (which, incidentally, is probably the last time I'll watch that show myself) and man, I totally heart that guy.
I was at Abbey's house ridiculously late one night this week because of weird house title/deed stuff we had to get done, and as luck would have it our internet was knocked out by the storms we've been having in Phoenix. (Four inches of rain equalling is a storm is a little pathetic, but what are you gonna do? Us desert dwellers can't handle it.) I had her turn on Conan since Joel McHale was on- and I think we've pretty well documented what fans we HACKs are of McHale.
We started talking about what was going on with NBC deciding to essentially just blow up their late night programming schedule, and I was telling her about this clip that Conan showed when the whole debacle started going down. (Yes, I'm excited that I've finally learned how to embed videos! Welcome to technology that was available about 2 decades ago, Kara!) This sums it up pretty nicely, I think:
So basically, NBC is the heartless pimp (although is there any other kind?) out for profit, which is interesting because they're not really making any right now anyway, can we say 4th place network? And Conan is the nice ho who's getting screwed.

I've always been a big fan of Conan, I started watching Late Night with Conan O'Brien when I was old enough (ie when I went to college and could stay up as late as I wanted) and have loved him ever since. I don't think he was as funny at the 10:35 time slot yet as he was a little later (lets face it, not all jokes play well at that time slot and you have to kind of tone it down- or go to cable- speaking of, might I propose some sort of Comedy Central venture with a Conan/Stewart/Colbert lineup?) But he was still hilarious. I watched Leno's 9pm show about twice and its not funny. I didn't think he was particularly funny when he was on "The Tonight Show" and never really watched then- so I guess the fact that I will probably never watch the show again isn't really going to hurt NBC's numbers too much, given I've only been watching for the past 7 months. Eh. I don't think Letterman is funny, he's always struck me as sort of a dirty old man (which apparently is true, if his recent tabloid struggles are any indication) and I find Paul Schaefer grating. Jimmy Kimmel is funny, he's better at taped gags or pre-recorded stuff than a monologue though, but since he comes on after Nightline and I'm not a huge fan of our local ABC news station, I'm never watching that channel and usually only see his stuff online. I recently was told I would like Craig Ferguson, so I checked out his show after Letterman and I do indeed think he's pretty funny. I also would've guessed he was drunk, except apparently he doesn't do that anymore. But his show conflicts with my viewing of "The Daily Show" & "The Colbert Report," which are my late night priorities, and the reason why I never watched all of Conan when he was on so late.

So, all that to say, I was thrilled when he got "The Tonight Show" gag because it really filled in that hour of television-less time in my late night schedule. Goodness knows I have nothing else to do with that time period, and Conan is a great way to end your day. Right before Stewart and Colbert, if I can stay awake that long. If not, its great online naptime viewing! Cory and Heidi are big fans of making top ten lists, and I'm not sure if I'll get all the way to ten, but over the past few weeks I've been thinking of all the ways I love Senor Conando, so here's a list:

1. He's smart. Like, ridiculously smart. Dude went to Harvard, wrote for SNL, The Simpsons, then got the Late Night gig when Letterman got hosed out of "The Tonight Show" (by Jay Leno too, hmm, pattern?) and had a terrible early run, but found his stride somewhere through the second season and rocked it for 16 years. He knows historical and pop culture references and uses them with ease, which also makes him cool (well, in my book, and I hold a Ph.D. in history, so we all know how cool I am.)
2. He's self-depricating. I guess maybe you have to be, with hair like that, but I'm finding that the older I get in life, I just can't deal with people who can't be self-depricating. They're annoying. They take themselves too seriously and that makes them irritating, and often exhausting, to be around. Leno's humor is actually kind of pompous (things like "Jaywalking," while admittedly funny, are designed to put himself in a superior light to the poor saps he accosts on the street.) Conan doesn't do that. He does gross (Masturbating Bear- or Self-Pleasuring Grizzly, as Robin Williams suggested he rename the bear when he goes to another network because NBC claims to "own" all of his "intellectual property.") He does weird physical comedy (string dance, funny spin and jump thing he opens his shows with, sometimes he just hops around the cameras.) This annoys some people, who find him juvenile, but its actually brilliant because he is perfectly comfortable being the butt of the joke himself. Everyone watching can just be entertained, and nobody needs to feel belittled. Well, except for NBC lately, but some people just deserve it.
3. He supports new artists. I've seen a lot of new musical groups and bands on his Late Night show, and he continued the pattern with "The Tonight Show," making sure he booked up and coming guests as well as established, crowd pleasing names. Neil Young said as much after he played "Long May You Run" on Conan's last show.
4. He invites guests just for the fun of it. Yes, late night guests are plugging new projects, and we all know that when we watch, but it can get annoying. Conan does it too, he has to, but he also brings on friends who are just funny to watch him interact with. I don't know when the last time I saw Norm McDonald doing anything was, but he was on Conan's show about 3 times and was hilarious each time.
5. He has fun. When he signed off on "Late Night," he said a lot of people have done better shows than he has, but no one has had more fun doing it. And I think that's obvious when you watch his show. He's so happy doing his job, and that he can be as goofy and ridiculous as he wants to be, and that life has worked out so well for him, that its a pleasure to watch. The only other late night host I see the same enthusiasm from is Craig Ferguson, which is maybe why I enjoyed his show.
6. He's kind. On his last show, he said nobody gets what they think they're going to get from life, but if you work hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. Right now, I'd say that it seems like if you're kind, you're gonna get screwed, but Conan would rather do the right thing to his own detriment than be unkind to others. Leno is getting his old time slot back because his show was a huge, unfunny failure at 9 pm. The network's first brilliant idea was to move Leno to a half hour show at 10:35, then have Conan air at 11:05, followed by Fallon and then I guess Carson Daly, although I have no idea what on earth he does at 1:30 in the morning or whenever he's on. Conan felt like this would fail (he was right, his show would seem repetitive after half an hour of Leno, and what on earth would Leno do with a half hour comedy show?) and rather than ruin the franchise, and probably muscle Jimmy Fallon out of a job too, he stepped aside. Because he's kind like that. I've heard people defending Jay Leno, saying he's such a good guy, but there's been two big late night wars, and he's been at the center of each of them. I'm kind of inclined to agree with Letterman and say, "This is vintage Jay."

Conan's getting over $30 million from his severance package (and paying his staff over $12 million personally- he did the same when the writer's strike aired, paid everyone who couldn't work out of his own pocket) and its not like he's going to be hurting financially ever, so I don't feel sorry for him in that sense. But money isn't everything, and watching his dream die and seeing him lose his dream job for such odd reasons is still kind of heartbreaking- even though he can laugh all the way to the bank.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I don't know what to do with my hands.....

So I think that none of us really know what's happening with the weekly questions so I'm just going to slap one up here since I have an idea. I recently saw the movie Holmes and it had a line that made me laugh out loud and honestly I want to remember and quote it for the rest of my life. I should set up the scene for those who haven't seen it yet: Holmes makes fun of the police inspector constantly for being an idiot. So at this point in the movie the Lord Blackwood has come back from the dead and the police are inspecting his grave. Holmes asks the inspector if they've brought up the coffin yet and the inspector replies "We're in the process of doing that right now." Holmes then looks around and sees about 6 officers just standing there looking scared. He then delivers my favorite line: "At what stage in the process are you exactly? Contemplative?" Oh man I loved it, so funny and applicable in SO many situations. And it got me thinking about all the movie lines I use in my life that I shamelessly stole and have adapted to many different situations. So the weekly question is:

What movie quotes have you seamlessly transitioned into your everyday vocabulary and are you favorites??

Cory: So many I probably use and don’t even remember where they are from.

Umm” Fine” I yell this at people at the top of my lungs if they are pestering me with the same questions over and over. From America’s Sweethearts.
And this one is a quote from a kid from a Dr. Seuss movie. “I’m So Excwited.” Like that not the other way. I have never seen said movie but I know this kid very well.
And there is this whole scene from Big Trouble that my whole family quotes,”well I know we are arriving at the aiport but we are departing from here so do we go to arrivals or departures?” Total misquote but imagine a dirty Johnny Knoxville and you get the funny.
We also all quote the entire scene from one of those Griswold movies where they are at the Hoover Damn “You can take as many damn pictures as you would like. You can purchase as many damn souvenirs as you wish. They are many damn visitors each year.”
Most of the other ones just float around in my head and pop up at certain moments when things remind me of them. Like yesterday I saw this Southern Guy and suddenly all I could think of was Sawyer quotes from Lost. Or like Heidi when I see incompetent people I don’t think of the Holmes scene, although now I will. I think of the scene in Departed where Marky Mark says ” I am the guy doing his job, you must be the other guy.“

Kara- There are so many, I'll probably keep adding to this one for forever! Nice question, Heidi, well done! But, off the top of my head, here are two:
1- Ruh-tard. I challenge anyone to see "The Hangover" and not start calling people "ruh-tards." Can't be done.
2- "Why didn't they just build this city on the effing sun?"- In "Fools Rush In" Matthew Perry actually says the real word, not effing, but I'm a good girl like that and really can't even bring myself to say that word even if I'm quoting someone. Also, he says this about Las Vegas as he sits on the leather seats of his black convertible, but I've found at least daily uses for this quote living in Phoenix during the months of April-November.

HEIDI - Ha okay I finally get to it. I had so many floating in my head I had to remember where they all came from. And now that I sit I've forgotten most of them...
* Totally second Kara's Ruh-tard. Love it.
* "You stay classy San Diego" - most often I am being sarcastic and never talking about San Diego but this quote just fits SO often it's hilarious. Will Ferrell in Anchorman.
* "Oh no words are comin out. OH NO!" This is way funnier when Brian Regan is saying it and I'm not typing it out but I say this often...because I say things I shouldn't.
* "Well" Okay this one is from Horton Hear's a Who and it's Carol Burnett and just they way she says the one word is fantastic. Like totally resigned to the situation and whenever I say 'well' now I say it like that.
And I really can't remember any more.... I'm sure they'll come to me soon. BTW the "I don't know what to do with my hands..." comes from Will Ferrell in Talledega Nights when he first does an interview and it's so awkward. I feel this way often.

2 Books and A CD

The Help By Kathryn Stcokett
This book is set right on the edge of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, and it follows almost the entire way through. It is written from the point of view of Abileen an African American Maid who cares for mostly children and tends to leave before they are old enough to get mean with her. Minny another maid who has a mouth and mind for sassing but also a hard life and a lot to offer. And Skeeter a white Southern girl just returned from college, to hang out with her league friends and is really useless because not married.
There are so many reasons I would recommend this book I really identified with Skeeter because like her I have just graduated from College and really the displacement you can feel, and for so many other reasons. Plus to peek into this time and place was amazing, and not even because of the obvious differences pre -Civil Rights Movement. The way people dress, entertain, live it is so different from now (at least here). Although there are a lot of horrible stories in this book you really feel it is hopeful. And for each sad story there are stories that make you believe in the good of people, even fake people. Their stories are written very well, her voice is good and I was quite surprised when I read the back cover to see it was her first book. The Author herself had a maid and talks about the problems she faced writing this book. It is something she is not supposed to talk about but at the same time her maid meant so much to her.

Belle Isle by MoZella
This CD I love (well you know that otherwise wouldn’t take time to talk about it). I can’t even describe it is pop but I feel like it is the new version of that 60’s throw back we had recently. Once you hear it you get what I am saying. Mozella’s voice carries the CD though, the entire way through. OK the best way I can think of how to describe it is to compare it to other stuff. Jason Mraz’s first CD that fresh, happy feel even in slower songs it has that. Mozella her voice reminds me of Duffy who sang Mercy, it is strong. Let me just say this if she was a drink she would be a cold 7-Up refreshing and light. As for my fave songs I really love all of them so go give it a listen. But I will say Four Leaf Clover is my Current ringtone.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
This is a book about a cooking class each chapter is another class and another member of the class and their story. The food descriptions are scrumptious, and in fact the way she describes everyting made me think I was sitting there in the class. Usually a book of a bumch of tied together vignettes has a lot of issues with continuity but this one does an amazing job. At the end it feels like one of the recipes in the books put together perfectly in just the right way. It is a short book and I read it in a few days a nice little detour.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back in the Day . . .

I've never tried embedding anything on here yet, but its quite fitting that my first attempt would be from "The Daily Show." In my course reviews from last semester, the top two things students wrote in as being their favorite things about my classes were something to the affect of she's funny (I make fun of myself a lot, that's basically what they mean there) and "she uses awesome clips from The Daily Show."

But anyway, as a professor of history, I often get irritated when people start talking about "the good old days." I'm telling you, there weren't any good old days. I don't mean to sound totally pessimistic here, but the adage "Life is hard and then you die" has always been true, but in the past life was really, really hard in super sucktacular ways, and then you died. Usually early, and of some horrible disease that we don't have anymore. Or, for us women, childbirth- its no coincidence that women didn't start outliving men until medical advancements made childbirth about a million times safer. (And its still super risky- this spring one of the doctors treating me told me that when he started practicing 20 years earlier, they would've lost me after the abruption I had with Emma. He said he's only seen 7 abruptions as bad as mine- and those moms were drug users, of course- and I'm his sole survivor.) So for me, even 20 years ago would have sucked (although I was alive then too, but not able to have children yet.)

There are other reasons why the good old days never existed either, particularly in America. I'm usually appalled when people ignore things like civil rights when they talk about simpler times. It truly was only about forty years ago that this country started letting African Americans VOTE- 1964, people! And even then, it took awhile to actually be put into practice. There were no good old days, we've just traded lynchings for terrorists (and there's definitely an argument to be made that lynchings are a form of domestic terrorism.) There's always a downside, and life never was, and never will be, idyllic.

So, I laughed OUT LOUD when I saw this clip on "The Daily Show." John Oliver is my current favorite correspondent (although Asif Mandvi does some great stuff too), and this helps prove why.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Weekly ? of Oh-Ten

I have absolutely no idea who's turn it is to get the weekly question rolling again, but since I thought of one I was going to make my own post about, I decided to reinstate it. Here we go, first question of Oh Ten (I'm using Abbey's name for this year. I like it.)

Its a variant on a question I've done before actually, but as I thought about my answer to it, I realized that its pretty revealing about what I've been through in the past year (because I think we're all pretty aware that my family and I are rather thrilled to say "good riddance!" to 2009. May we never see another year like this one again.) So, the question is:

What songs define 2009 for you?

(I'm still compiling my list, but thought I'd put the question out there before I'm ready anyway. Heidi finished her abstract today, so we all know she's itching for something to fill her time . . . :) )

HEIDI - When I first saw this question I thought well this will be easy I'll just pick the songs I listened to the most this year. Well wrong because those songs are pretty much just the ones with the best beat not the ones that I truly feel define my mindset/experiences/attitude. So here they are and please know they are in no order. I don't think I could do an ordered list...
* Broken - Lifehouse - My absolute favorite line in this song is "I may have been lost now, but I haven't forgotten my way home." There have been many experience this past year and my whole life where I've felt lost. But I've been thankful to always know my way home so to speak, to find myself again. Love it so much.
* Come Back To Me - David Cook - This song is of course about a girl leaving him, but I like the principle much more. She needs to find herself but he'll always be there waiting for her. For me it's about being there for people; friends, family, anyone when they're trying to find themselves. You'll be supportive and just so happy when they come back.
* Someday - Rob Thomas - "Maybe someday, we'll figure all this out, put an end to all our doubt. Someday." I guess we can only hope to someday figure every thing out. But until then we'll just stick together.
* If I Can't Have You - Kelly Clarkson - This song illustrates the many crushes I had this year, boys and otherwise, that burned bright and burned out quick. Haha if I can't have you, then I don't want anyone....until I change my mind again. : )
* Never Gonna Be Alone - Nickelback - Truly I got amazingly sick of Nickelback this year so I don't even own this song. But I do love the words about all the things I wish I had told you, and I hope you know you're never going to be alone. I really like this sentiment because when I moved to Michigan I realized how much I had taken for granted with respect to my relationships. I didn't tell the people in my life that I love them enough. So I tried the rest of the year to tell them often. Probably so they're sick of me but I don't care. I miss them and I love them.
* Leave Out All the Rest - Linkin Park - "Help me leave behind some reason to be missed." I think this is such a good way to live your life. I just want to treat people well and not have regrets about what I've done.
And some honorables that perhaps didn't mean as much but ones I just totally loved: Falling Slowly - Kris Allen. Life After You - Daughtry. And finally 99 Times - Kate Voegele.
Cory-So Heidi (yeah You) always has to have a meaning and for me sometimes I am just about the music, not the lyrics and some of these were just all over the place this year so I had to include them.
1. Tik Tok, Ke$ha- I have to add this one I know completely ridiculous but if this song is playing on my clock radio I actually do get out of bed instead of hitting snooze. Which if you know me quite the big deal. It is awful and pretty much if I knew this girl I would find her annoying but in song form I love her for some reason.
2. Countdown, Jupiter One- This song was on one of my fave shows Greek pretty early in the year and since then heavy in rotation on my iPod. But the reason I love it besides the fact that it is just great is I felt like a lot of this year was waiting, waiting for graduation, etc. And then after all the waiting there is the other part of the song which screams wake up at you.
3. Don’t Be So Shy, Boomkat- This song sums up my feelings about all boys throughout the year, do not flirt and then no follow up action. I get the shyness but come on!
4. Hate on Me, Glee Cast- Well umm I love Glee and the music. But this song was my fave and really go ahead Hate on Me when you stop caring what everyone you don’t really care about thinks of you, it is really much easier to be happy in your life. Especially since like in this song it is about them not you. So thanks for that P-S-Hey Glee.
5. Matt & Kim, Daylight-This song was everywhere, and really lovely, I still dig. Plus when a song starts with “we cut the legs off our pants, we walked into the ocean,” you really got me because of the gorgeous pic you just stuck in my head.
Oh and all of these too!
Running Up that Hill, Placebo another song I kept hearing everywhere, it just I don’t even have words, its intense give a listen. Say Hey (I Love You), Michael Franti great fantastic song. Empire State of Mind & Run This Town, Jay-Z so good I don’t even care he calls himself the new Sinatra. Use Somebody, Kings of Leon it was their huge year and I enjoyed hearing this song everywhere and still do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paper Heart

First off I love these cute little quirky movies because I know I can definitely be quirky if not just plain weird. But let me lay it out for you Charlene Yi thinks she is incapable of falling in love and sets out to find out if it is true. She interviews countless people on the subject all over the country including Albuquerque. Here is where this movie is different though, during the filming she starts to date Michael Cera (yes that cute, adorable, sarcastically awkward funny pocket size Michael Cera) and the director Nick wants to tape it since it is now part of her journey. And when the interviewed couples tell stories from their relationships they are acted out with these handmade dolls- this sounds creepy but is actually really original and these dolls are some fun art.
This movie is a short little treat which ends like you want it too and is filled with heartwarming moments. From the little Southern gentlemen answering questions about love on the playground who is far wiser than his years, to other hilarious scenes like Nick and Charlene running towards a fireworks shop shouting Fireworks. If you do rent it make sure to watch the deleted scenes I found myself wondering why some were not included in the movie. Overall I would definitely suggest it in fact this and 500 Days of Summer would be a lovely double feature. These are the kind of movies that leave you happy and hopeful.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Greetings!

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year and share my excitement for things to come!!

A few of these things:
*Sherlock Holmes (which of course has already come out but I have not yet had the time to go)
*New season of Chuck - I'm just in love with him
*Alice in Wonderland - Crazy but I just can't wait
*Lost - I'm still lost but I'm considering trying again....
*Harry Potter - I think the first one of the last book comes out this year?
*Eclipse - because I just have to

Love you all and hope you're excited too!!! 

Also as an added New Year's BONUS I'll throw in a book review. On the plane home I was able to read one and a half books (not more because I get sick). The first was The Alchemist. Fascinating read I must tell you. It's about a boy who is trying to fulfill his 'personal legend'. It puts a really different spin on destiny. I recommend it highly (especially since it only took me 45 minutes to read). But, definitely read the foreword by the author before reading the book, it helps explain things a lot and lets you get more out of it.
The second one I'm almost through with is Mitch Albom's newest book Have a Little Faith. Love it just as much as I love his other books. It's about him being asked to give a eulogy for his Rabbi. There is also a story about a man who I believe becomes a Priest but I haven't gotten there yet. I already know though that I love it and I recommend it too!