Category Archives: In the News

The Three Faces of the Oscars

I’m a true fan of the Oscars. Honest I am. But this year, persevering through all four hours was more stressful than watching–heck than living through–The Three Faces of Eve.

Pick a personality and stick with it. I beg you.

Host Ellen DeGeneres was at ease, charming, perfect. Until she was too much and then I was over her. In the early going, DeGeneres and Pharrell Williams both broke through the fourth wall, chatting, teasing, and dancing with the glitterati in the first few rows. Intimate camera work enhanced the effect. Was I sitting on the aisle with the nominees or were they chillaxing in front of my TV with me?

Unfortunately, DeGeneres just kept on doing The Ellen Show, while the Oscars went on without her onstage. Her Twitter selfie with a dozen stars was inspired. The pizza, over the top. Enough already.

This was an amazing year for movies and actors–both male and female. Onstage, the winners seemed to know and acknowledge it, with generous tributes to the others in their category. (I’ll give Cate Blanchett a pass for her strange digs at Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts. Maybe she was nervous. Or maybe I’ve just never gotten Australian humor. Bullock didn’t seem to know what to think either.)  If you haven’t already seen them, watch the acceptance speeches by Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o. Both actors were gracious, grounded, and poised. Continue reading

No sweat? You bet your HOTPANTS

Zaggaro on Facebook

Facebook has suggested that I could do with some really fancy pants.

Ever since Facebook started allowing companies to “suggest” links in my news feed, I have been getting some awfully bizarre posts.

Today’s takes the cake. A company called Zaggora is offering me (and I quote) HOTPANTS (the capital letters are all theirs) that burn calories for you.

Of course I clicked on it.

C’mon. You would too. Continue reading

Boston: We Can Do Better than This

It’s hard to be funny when the Boston metropolitan area is on lockdown, at least five people–including a little boy–are dead, and hundreds more are horribly wounded physically and emotionally.

So I am not going to try.

As I write this, marathon bombing Suspect Number 2, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is still on the lam.

The televised scenes from Boston play out like a violent blockbuster summer thriller. CNN calls it a “manhunt.”

The more I hear, the more I think  young Dzhokhar can hardly be called a man. He was so panicked during last night’s fatal carjacking that he ran over his own brother’s body to get away from authorities. This morning, his uncle disowned him and (rightfully) called him a loser in front of a crush of national media. As far as society is concerned, like Dzhokhar, many nineteen-year olds are men in physique and boys at heart, not fully accountable and certainly impressionable. That’s why we get them to fight our wars, under strict supervision. But we don’t let them drink and we only allow them to vote because we used to draft them. At the time, it only seemed fair.

There’s no indication that Dzhokhar is mentally ill, unlike alleged Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes. (Although there is a good argument to be made that anyone who willfully kills another human being in a time of peace has got to be crazy.)  Dzhokhar and his elder brother didn’t dress up as sick comic book characters and smear on wild make-up to deliver their bombs. Still I wonder how many warlike video games these kids played or how many American movies they had seen that glamorize violence and glorify tough, sarcastic, grenade-throwing heroes. On Wednesday, two days after the bombing, reports say Dzhokhar Tweeted “I’m a stress-free kind of guy.”

Sounds like something Die Hard star Bruce Willis might have sneered, except Bruce had a screenwriter and his glib remarks came out cool and not adolescently awkward.

We’ve got to quit making it hip to kill people, even on the cineplex screen or at the loaded end of an X-Box controller. We’ve got to stop calling that entertainment. There’s nothing entertaining about the scared, desperate–and armed–teenager now scuttling around  trying to get himself out of the worst fix any kid could have possibly been lured into by violent media images and a deranged older sibling.

We can do better than this. Hollywood can do better than this. Where is the movie hero or the video game that would have given Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the role model and backbone to say No. This is stupid. This is wrong. I love you, brother, but I am turning you in?

What do you think? Leave your comment below. And, need I say it, please be civil. There’s enough meanness in the world without spewing it around here. Thanks.