Quotes of the Day: VANITY FAIR on Bruce, Alex Koppelman on “Fox News Democrats”

Just back from xxxx community college, where self was informed by Dean that two classes self had thought she was teaching in the fall (one of them Creative Writing) were being re-assigned. Self knows that, as a part-timer, she has no rights. So, took it on the chin, drove home still in calm mood, turned on flat-screen HDTV and watched Andy Roddick receive trouncing at hands of unknown Russian stripling. Really, self felt extremely empathetic with Roddick’s coach, Jimmy Connors. Honestly, at times had to look away from screen, as Roddick’s inability to reach final time and time again becoming increasingly painful (He is cute, though)

Then, made a batch of popcorn. Which self is now digging into (bowl balanced on her lap while left hand types). Had been reading a Vanity Fair article on Bruce Willis (If hubby hadn’t asked self to get some popcorn and a drink before the Pirates 3 screening, would not have missed trailer of newest Die Hard: Live Free or Die Hard. Hubby also informed self that she missed the Transformers movie trailer, but who cares about that — !)

Anyhoo, am supine on couch, trying to decide whether having salary cut in half in the fall is a good thing (self can write more) or a bad thing (self cannot afford any more facials! Or splurge on son!). Decide to indulge by reading latest issue of Vanity Fair. Naturally, skip all the boring articles on politicos, like Michael Wolff’s “Crazy for Rudy” and piece by winner of Vanity Fair essay contest, “Mrs. Trollope’s America.” Head straight for profile of dear Bruce, which features him strolling on a deserted beach decked out in panama hat (cocked rakishly over one eye) and sarong.

Have gotten only a few paragraphs in when self finds herself sitting up straighter on the couch. Whoever this person is (self rarely looks at who writes these profiles), he/she is funny, can write. Finally, reach a paragraph so delicious that self simply must stop and share it with loyal blog readers. Have reproduced hysterically funny paragraph below. Oh, and by the way, author of the piece is Peter Biskind. Thank you, Peter, for lighting up my afternoon with such incandescent prose about one of self’s favorite screen icons:

Biskind on the first three Die Hard pictures:

. . . the peekaboo politics of these pictures were really just window dressing, a veneer of topicality. It’s best just to appreciate them for what they are, action paintings in motion, odes to sound and fury. They are visual feasts, serving up muzzle flashes against inky darkness, exfoliating fireballs of every hue and shade, from white-hot white to fiery red, to oily black, as well as lush symphonies filled with the deafening staccato of high-velocity weapons discharging blizzards of bullets in counterpoint to the fortissimo of falling beams and shattered glass.

Whew! Self is so exhausted after typing such intense prose.

Now, on to further quotes of the day, which are from an article by Alex Koppelman which appeared on Salon several months ago, “The Real Fox News Democrats.” Self must confess that she watches Fox News regularly, even watches Bill O’Reilly, not for any news — oh no! — but simply to be entertained. There is also the opportunity to watch Michelle Malkin foaming at the mouth when she pinch-hits for O’Reilly.

Now, back to the article.

This is a really fascinating look at the Democrat pundits who are invited to appear on the Fox network. Self thinks any Democrat or liberal who agrees to face off against Hannity or O’Reilly or Malkin or Coulter is exceedingly brave. But Koppelman’s take is this:

Fox also has a stable of regular commentators, some under contract to the network, who pop up frequently as representatives of the Democratic or progressive viewpoint. They do not appear to know what they have gotten into.

Koppelman classifies the Democrats who appear on Fox as:

one of three types. They are either scary liberals, losers or enablers.


As examples of “scary Democrats”, Koppelman produces Al Sharpton and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who he describes as “big-city liberals”; and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (who to me looks almost Filipino), who is “D-Vegan Peacenik.”

Koppelman then goes on to describe Fox’s audience:

Besides being rather elderly — the median age of a Fox viewer tops 60 — it is disproportionately conservative and Republican. In the 2004 election, according to Mark Mellman, Fox viewers preferred President Bush over John Kerry by an astonishing 88 percent to 7 percent. Bush’s backing among Fox viewers was more solid than his support among white evangelicals, gun owners or supporters of the Iraq war.

With figures like the above, self submits that it is not Democrats who are “crazy”, but Fox viewers.

When Minister Hashim Nzinga, chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party, appeared on Hannity & Colmes, Hannity, according to Koppelman, “told Nzinga that he needed to seek mental help.” (Does Koppleman realize how hysterically funny this is ??? )

As examples of “loser Democrats”, Koppelman cites Geraldine Ferraro (former VP candidate, undone by iff-y tax returns filed by her spousal unit), and Susan Estrich, who managed Michael Dukakis’ star-crossed 1988 presidential campaign (Who, I implore you, can forget the sight of diminutive Dukakis riding around in a tank? Who was responsible for thinking up such a brilliant photo op? Could that have been Estrich ???)

Anyhoo, in the final category we have what Koppelman calls “the enablers” (such a funny word!), and maybe the Salon article has been booby-trapped or something, because every time self tries to copy a quote from the Koppleman article to insert here, Safari bombs. So, since this has happened six times already, and self really must get a move on with grading papers, self will just have to say that there are names named as “enablers”, but no one that self recognized.

Believe self has provided loyal blog readers with enough reading pleasure for one day. Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Reading for the Day: The Lunar Society of Birmingham Tackles Children’s Books!

Have just stumbled across this passage on p. 321 of the book self is currently reading: The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World. Self has already shared with loyal blog readers how much she is enjoying this story, of friends who met every month during the full moon (hence the name The Lunar Society), who were all from humble families, who were all living far from the center of things, but whose curiosity was so unbounded that they:

    invented the steam engine (James Watt)
    put digitalis on the medical map (William Withering)
    began the famous Wedgwood pottery business (Josiah Wedgwood)
    propounded early theories of evolution (Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles)

Not content with having done all of the above, these men now turn their attention to the void in literature aimed specifically at children:

There were no real children’s books in the 1770s, although in this new age of sensibility a few were just beginning to be written. Around 1780, (Thomas) Day took up the challenge. To begin with, he planned a book of extracts from famous lives, classics, and history or novels, but to leaven the extracts he added a framing narrative, the story of young Harry Sandford and Tommey Merton, and their teacher, Mr. Barlow. . . . The first problem that faces his Mr. Barlow . . . is one that also bothered Day: even if you educate children perfectly, how will they cope with the corrupt world they meet? And how can you reconcile Spartan ‘hardiness’ with the virtues of sensibility and sympathy?

. . . Days’ boys live in the ‘world’ from the start. Six-year-old Tommy Merton, the spoiled son of a Jamaica sugar baron, meets his match in the person of the farmer’s son, Harry Sandford (kind to animals, especially toads and nasty insects, always in a good temper; never tells a lie). Harry becomes an ally and teaches him to read, but poor Tommy still seems to undergo a form of moral torture: not allowed to eat unless he tends the vegetables, forced to listen to improving stories. Yet for children of the 1780s the stories were fun: the boys build a house of branches and brushwood; Mr. Barlow coolly subdues a bear who breaks loose from some travelling entertainers; Tommy becomes the hero of the village by saving a poor family from the bailiffs. The book also contains a mass of tales, from Androcles and the Lion to the conquest of Mexico and the Arabian Nights, but the moral is practical, in tune with the Lunar Society’s views: a sensible man will behave well to everything around him

because it is his duty to do it, because every benevolent person feels the greatest pleasure in doing good, and even because it is in his own interest to make as many friends as possible. No one can tell, however secure his present position may appear, how soon it may alter, and he may have occasion for the compassion of those who are now infinitely below him.

Brain Cloud, Memorial Day: Dimsum, Polvoron, PIRATES 3, Vanessa Minnillo

Self decided to delete a rather whine-y post which she wrote earlier today (before dinner, before errands to Safeway and Long’s, before watering). Instead, will concentrate on the positive: such as, Pirates 3 not really all that bad, as Johnny Depp is still amusing, Orlando Bloom is still ravishingly handsome, and Keira Knightley is still flat-chested (testimony, self feels, to her independence of spirit). Moreover, one of the pirates who made up “Council of Nine” (don’t ask me to explain what that is, dear blog reader) turned out to have same last name as yours truly (of course, self cannot be expected to tell you what that is. Dear blog reader will just have to watch the Pirates 3 movie, stay until 3/4 of the way through, and then listen).

Thought it might be interesting to determine what food self imbibed today, as have the feeling that, since yesterday in San Luis Obispo, weekend has evolved into veritable food-fest.

Let’s begin at 11 AM, when hubby drove self to fave dimsum place, China Village on Ralston Ave. in Belmont. There, had the usual: pot of tea (jasmine), pork siomai, har gow, shark’s fin, steamed tripe and liver, and rice wrapped in banana leaves. Actually, that does not sound like that much of a pig-out, perhaps self deserves pat on the back for exercising control at China Village.

Unfortunately, afterwards proceeded to visit Fave Tita (who had something for self to sign: a card wishing cousin in NY all the best on his upcoming wedding), and there met yet another Tita who was visiting from Manila, and who kindly provided self with a pack of polvoron, which self finished in its entirety a scant few hours later (My bad, my bad!)

1:30 PM found self and hubby seated in Auditorium 9 of Century 12 on Bayshore, snacking on medium bag of popcorn while watching Pirates 3. Didn’t take more than an hour for us to finish entire bag, down to the last kernel. Then, even though much was being said between Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom’s father who was barnacled to Davey Jones’ ship, self fell fast asleep. May even have snored. When next awoke, started peppering hubby with questions, in reply to which he merely grunted unintelligibly. Have no idea why it took so long for Orlando Bloom to profess undying love to Ms. Knightley, and why of all times they had to do it during climactic battle.

Skip to dinner (7 PM): Fried up some “Smoked Chicken and Turkey Sausage w/ Garlic and Herbs” which self purchased from Trader Joe’s last week. Heaped on the sauteed onions and the Dijon mustard. Dessert was leftover coffee cake from Corner View Restaurant & Bar in SLO.

Now, the aftermath: Hubby is lying on couch, watching what appears to be a beauty contest. Recognize as host that Vanessa Minnillo girl, the one who self keeps reading (from she forgets where) is Pinay or maybe just half. Did a little research on abovementioned celebrity and found this:

Vanessa Minnillo, “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent and former Miss Teen USA (1999), will join “Dancing With the Stars” semi-finalist and “Extra” weekend correspondent Mario Lopez, to co-host NBC’S broadcast of MISS UNIVERSE 2007 live from the National Auditorium (Auditorio Nacional) in Mexico City, Mexico, on Monday, May 28 at 9:00p.m. ET/delayed PT.

Very proud that there is now another Filipina — aside from Imelda, that is — who has achieved bona fide celebrity status.

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

Iain Kelly

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