Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Renee Zellweger Has Issues

I mean, aside from looking like a constipated chipmunk.

Defamer today links to an story about Renee Zellweger's interview with the fine people of the appropriately-titled Bazaar magazine. (Yes, I realize it's a different meaning/spelling of "bizarre," but it's a fucking pun, so who cares?)

"It's weird to have fame precede you in any situation ... and I'm very proud of myself that I've not been to Betty Ford (Center) yet," Zellweger, 38, tells Harper's Bazaar. "Never say never!"

You'd think she'd kind of be over the whole "I'm famous" thing by now. Jerry Maguire was 1996, lady. If you're not over being the center of attention by now, you never will be. (Also, I can't help but think that if she was really this queasy about fame, she'd stop acting in massively-budgeted Hollywood star vehicles.)

Among her career achievements? "Learning what my boundaries are. That I've been able to stay out of the psychiatric wards despite the really bizarre exchanges I have on a daily basis," she says in the magazine's December issue, on newsstands Nov. 20.

A lot of actors would have no choice but to answer this question in an evasive fashion, because they don't have any big hits or popular films on their resumes to which they can refer. There's just no way Alyssa Milano's not going to feel embarrassed answering this question. I mean, she's most proud of her fine work on "Charmed"? Embrace of the Vampire? The classic Mark Wahlberg-Reese Witherspoon-decapitated dog thriller Fear?

Even though I'm not a fan, Renee Zellweger has got some monster hits to her credit. Sure, I don't think Maguire, Cold Mountain or Chicago are anything to be all that proud of, but a lot of people LOVE those movies.

So why give such a silly answer? You're most proud of not being committed to a psychiatric ward? Really?

It just keeps coming back to how WEIRD her life is because of her fame. I mean, how could it still seem so weird after 11 years? 1996! That's enough time to get used to pretty much anything. Does OJ Simpson still wake up every day and trip out about having gotten away with butchering his ex-wife? Does Courtney Love still talk constantly about how her rock star husband shot himself in the face? I haven't heard Magic Johnson mention the phrases "HIV" or "AIDS" in YEARS.

The year before Jerry Maguire made Renee Zellweger famous, Christopher Reeve fell off a horse. It took about as long for him to sustain his injury, begin recovery, become an international icon for strength amidst adversity, introduce the cause of stem cell research to the general American public and die gracefully as it has taken Renee Zellweger to adjust to life as a well-known actress. If she were John Travolta, Renee would have had, like, 6 comebacks already.

But the whining CONTINUES!

Zellweger prefers privacy to hanging out with the Hollywood crowd — in public at least. "I'm not a big scene girl," she says. "If I see the scene once a year, that's more than plenty."

The Bridget Jones star says an ideal night out could be a "really nice Christmas party."

I'm estimating Renee is one of 6-8 people left on the planet who use the term "scene" unironically.

"I love to go to somebody's house when it gets a little bit later and there's dancing and laughter and nobody's pointing at the weird actor-girl in the corner," says Zellweger, an Oscar winner for 2003's Cold Mountain.

See what I mean? The "actor-girl" thing is clearly an obsession. Even if the AP article about this Bazaar article were purposefully zeroing in only on the quotes in which she obsessed about fame, she would still be bringing the subject up too often. I mean, I find it kind of hard to believe that Renee Zellweger is being ostracized and made into a spectacle everywhere she goes. In West L.A., the only people I see getting this kind of treatment are Madonna, La Lohan and Paris. Everyone else pretty much gets left alone.

(For real! Once, I saw Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Rumor Willis together at the Century City Mall, and everyone was making a tremendous effort not to gawk at them. Because gawking at celebrities is not cool.)

I mean, I'm sure it's different once you're being constantly recognized, but come on. This is overkill.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

There's No Such Thing As Ghosts

I've always lived in big cities, and I try to surround myself with the most interesting, intelligent individuals possible (though I'm not always successful). So I tend to spend my time in the company of largely reasonable types. Among my close friends, the rates of belief in Zeus, Jesus, the Wolfman, Cthulhu and "The Secret" are roughly comparable.

Yet I still find myself with alarming frequency conversing with someone who believes in ghosts. Ghosts! I can't wrap my mind around this.

How can you possibly believe in ghosts?

People who really want to believe in ghosts try to kind of cheat sometimes. Like, they don't believe ghosts are actually dead people come back to some form of life. They're "shadows" or "impressions" left behind by people who are now gone. All that "spiritual" nonsense. "Oh, I'm not religious, but I'm very spiritual..." That's almost worse. You're still an idiot; this is like being an idiot who lacks an ability to commit and a sense of purpose. If you're going to believe in superstitious bunk, why not go all the way and pray towards Mecca 5x daily? Just get it over with...

You're either alive or you're dead, and if you're a ghost, that certainly means you aren't alive, by definition. So there, New Age-y ghost-nostics.

BUT JUST BELIEVING IN LIFE AFTER DEATH still wouldn't mean you believe in GHOSTS! Even if you accept that people may linger around after they die, despite the fact that we have no evidence of this fact, there has never been a single verifiable instance of a dead person returning to life and it violates almost everything we know about biology, you still have to believe in the ability of these dead spirits to make themselves known to human beings, whose senses aren't really all that acute! I'm likely to stub my toe on a fucking BED if the lights are off, and that thing's large and solid, not to mention present in my bedroom at all times. How am I expected to see the faint outline that was once my Great Uncle Horace?

Scientists estimate there are well over 10 dimensions, layered all on top of one another, all around us, and we can see 3 of them. So how the hell would we be able to see a ghost? Most of us can't find our keys.

Anyway, that's all prelude to this video that aired on some local news broadcast of a weird blue cloud hanging around a gas station freaking out the squares. I can't actually explain this blue cloud to you, because I'm kind of an idiot at all this sciencey stuff, but I'm 100% CERTAIN there's a good, logical, reasonable, non-ghost-related explanation. Because there's NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS. Also, aliens, Godzillas, The Da Vinci Code, talking sponges living in pineapples, angels, zombies and Islamofascists. It's all just horseshit.

[My thanks to my fellow Vaquero Sean for the link]

I'm Laughing at Tom Tancredo, Because SOMEONE HAS TO!

I recall a high school AP US History class discussion about the Cold War. I remember wondering what it must be like to live in a country fueled by that kind of terror and hysteria. Did they really force children to crawl under their desks and cover their heads in the hopes of staving off the effects of a nuclear attack? It seemed almost unimaginable, from my secure vantage point in an upper-class Southern California suburb, that there was ever a time in America when the fear of imminent destruction was so palpable.

Let's be honest: 2007 in the United States is not so much more dangerous than 1995. I haven't spent several hours scouring the Net for statistical evidence to back this up, but I'm guessing that, even if you factor in 9/11, I'm not at a significantly greater risk of being murdered by a foreign national now than I was 12 years ago. Yet we're right back to that old-school hysteria. I don't need to imagine what it must be like to live amongst a people cowering in constant fear of foreign invasion and terrorism; I'm living amongst these people right now.

And let me tell you, it's horrible. Not because I'm constantly afraid like so many of my countrymen, mind you. At least, I'm not constantly afraid of dirty bombs and brown people. But because it's just depressing to see Americans wallow in anxious despair like this, for this long. A few weeks after 9/11? Okay, fine, be afraid, think about the ramifications of an attack on U.S. soil.

But it's years and years later, we clearly have no immediate outside threat bearing down on us (that isn't environmental, that is). The drumbeat of terror-related panic, at this point, has morphed in a particularly ugly, futile strain of self-pity. "Oh, woe is us, people don't like us! The crazy president of Iran said he wishes we didn't even exist any more! There's questionable types coming across our border with backpacks! Boo hoo hoo!"

It's fucking pathetic. Seriously. And, as I find myself repeating more and more these days, no one is more pathetic than Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo. NO ONE.

I mean, it's not just a disgusting attempt to manipulate simpletons. It's a POORLY DONE disgusting attempt to manipulate simpletons. This ad's more thrown-together and crudely-realized than "Turkish Star Wars." I mean, Tommy, you're running a national campaign for President, not a late-night public access chat show.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dopplr! It's Everywhere You Want to Be!

So, I make my major podcast debut today in the Mahalo Daily. Check out my stirring performance as, um, "Dopplr Loser #1"!

Also featured on Mahalo today...Mr Toilet!

That is all.

Facebook News Network

This entire sketch is essentially one joke, but it's a pretty funny joke. What if your Facebook News feed had its own TV show?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Private Snowball

I usually try to sugarcoat these depressing stories about creeping fascism with a dash of humor, to make them go down easier, but it's hard making this funny:

As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

See, personally, I don't think a good definition of privacy allows for constant surveillance by the government (AND BUSINESS!). Kerr seems to think that, so long as the public at large doesn't have immediate access to information, that this information can be considered "private," even if business types and government employees take a gander at it all the time.

In other words, spying on the ladies' locker room is wrong...unless you're the principal, in which case, spying on the ladies' locker room is just fine. Encouraged, even. Just don't let the vice-principal see!

Any time government employees start telling me to change my definitions of things, I get suspicious. (Yes, even when Bill Clinton told me to change my definition of "is," in case any of you readers thought you could catch me in some sort of hypocritical Serbian Jew double-bluff or something, as you are wont to do). When they tell me to change my definition of privacy, I am no longer suspicious. I am fearful. And angry. And, now that you bring it up, kind of hungry.