Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Milli Vanilli

From an review of Girl You Know It's True

...The problem is, he did this at a time when acts were more visible than they ever were. Ironically, at the end of the '80s, MTV changed the rules for mainstream pop, putting the emphasis on image and overall package, to the extent that major artists lip-synched in concert so they could deliver better dance routines. So, it really wasn't that extreme to have a group with two faces — one to make the music, one to market it. And, face it, the fluffy dance-pop and slick ballads on Girl You Know It's True were of their time, hardly far removed from that of such peers as Paula Abdul, Debbie Gibson, or even the more substantive Janet Jackson. Audiences enjoyed the sound and the look, the entire package of Milli Vanilli. ...And [the album] was massively popular, no matter how many people denied owning the record after the news spread. And why shouldn't it have been? The height of the Bush era was a weird, giddy time, when the mainstream was filled with effervescent, transient pop, and nothing sums up that era as well as Girl You Know It's True. ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Will Power

Will Smith gave an interview to Reader's Digest.

The Kalapana Pundit flies into a rage because of Will's remark that the "date of the Boston Tea Party does not matter."

Smith told Reader's Digest. "I know how to learn anything I want to learn. I absolutely know that I could learn how to fly the space shuttle because someone else knows how to fly it, and they put it in a book. Give me the book, and I do not need somebody to stand up in front of the class." . . .I'm sure that to the likes of Will Smith there is very little about the American Revolution that matters. But, after he reads An Idiot's Guide to being an Astronaut he will have the ability to fly the space shuttle into orbit, return to earth and then land it. Did I mention that this guy is an arrogant fool? I wonder if Smith has ever bothered to wonder how the first person to fly learned.Update: Here is more of the interview. Smith also thinks grammar school kids should be reading Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politic, otherwise they won't be real Americans. To be fair Smith also said "That is what the forefathers of this country read, and they used them to create what I believe is the finest system of government that has ever existed." If he thinks the American government was based on Plato then his politic philosophy is as confused as his pedagogy. He needs to start studying history with all those annoying dates, facts and figures.
# posted by Grant Jones @ 6:10 PM

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beyond Borat!

I saw Borat! on Sunday. Because of the movie, interest in the real Kazakhstan--the ninth largest country on Earth-- is growing, as evidenced by this USA Today article. And, a site I have just found, promises "Central Asia News — All Central Asia, All The Time."

Critics' opinions of the movie are gathered here.

Does anyone else find that Borat looks like Steve Harvey?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Obligatory Comments on the Election

On Election Day, in the early afternoon, I went to my polling place, which is held in the cafeteria of the elementary school I attended exactly twenty years ago.

A link to the list of links.

Not everyone thinks voting is effective.

Friday, November 03, 2006

How Far Is Heaven?

Ted Haggard's recent scandal reminded me of last year's 20/20 special about Heaven, in which he was quoted. The black-and-white illustration was made long before Mike Jones went public with his claims. I wonder if Haggard has ever been to Hawaii (note the lei). 7 November update: Yes, he has. Ian Lind reminds us of Haggard's April 2005 visit to Honolulu, which is when Dennis Oda of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin took this now-infamous photograph. From the article:

Ted Haggard's name is not yet a household word like Billy Graham, but he's getting there. [And how!-P.Z.]...
Yesterday, 5,000 Hawaii residents heard Haggard, a keynote speaker at the three-day Hawaiian Islands Ministries Honolulu 2005 conference at the Hawaii Convention Center. Pastoral rather than political matters were the topics of the man who founded and has been senior pastor of the 11,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., for 20 years.
The idea that church should be separate from state doesn't hold weight with Haggard, who said Thursday: "There isn't an issue in the news that isn't about religion. The Middle East is all about religion. The elections were about religion.
"Evangelicalism has no reservation about being a voice in politics," said Haggard, who is one of several Christian leaders who have the ear of President Bush. He regularly participates in the president's weekly conference call. He was at a recent White House meeting on Bush's faith-based initiative of government support for social services provided by religious groups.
He debunks the modern perception that church involvement in politics is rooted in the affinity of conservative Christians and Republican politicians. ...

Update: Haggard has admitted to buying methamphetamine from Mike Jones out of curiosity. He claims to have thrown it away, which is a good thing, or else Haggard's (in)famous grin would look like this:

November 20 update: If Haggard's story is ever adapted for film, Fred Willard would be the perfect actor to portray him.

November 26 update: Saul Landau opines here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

S. Higa the Bigga Figga

While news of the rough conduct of George Allen's henchmen preoccupies the nation, there has been a similar incident in Kona recently. Stacy Higa, the County Council Chairman, reportedly did this:

KAILUA-KONA » Hawaii County Council Chairman Stacy Higa and Kona resident Matthew Binder have filed police charges against each other, each accusing the other of harassment.
Binder was the first to file, saying Higa allegedly ordered two associates to beat up Binder but they did not attack.
Higa said he was at a benefit gathering for Kona Community Hospital put on by Councilwoman Virginia Isbell Sunday when he saw Binder taking pictures of him about 75 feet away.
Binder, who supports Isbell's campaign opponent Brenda Ford, says he was taking pictures because he believed Higa was illegally helping Isbell's campaign.
Binder said he walked over to Higa and asked to take his picture.
Higa said Binder walked over and announced he had a right to take Higa's picture anywhere he wanted to.
Higa said he told Binder if he came into Higa's home with the camera, Higa would smash it.
Binder said Higa got mad and ordered two men with him:
"Bust his camera and kick his a--."
Higa denies it.
Binder said the two men followed him until Binder found a friend to serve as a potential witness. Then he and the friend left.
Police are asking anyone who saw the events to contact 326-4646, extension 228, or Crime Stoppers at 329-8181.

My suspicions about Higa's thuggishness were raised earlier this year when he yelled at another Councilman's staff member.

Higa thinks himself tough. Were he to meet a real don, he would soil himself.