Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Coveted Sidebar Update

Welp, it's been almost a month since the last one, so it's about time for another "weekly" Sidebar Update. Enjoy at your leisure. Ignore at your peril!

This Week's Object of My Affection is Rena Sofer, who has just about the loveliest eyes I've ever seen. She's gorgeous, and she's funny, but much like Paula Marshall, she's also a showkiller. Which has gotta make fans of Heroes and 24 nervous, since she's a recurring character on both shows this season. Among the cancelled series littering her past: the one-season (or less) wonders Oh, Grow Up, The Chronicle, Blind Justice, and Coupling, and one season each of Just Shoot Me! and Melrose Place -- which in each case turned out to be that respective long-running show's last season. In all fairness, it's not like she alone can be blamed for, say, the awfulness of the American version of Coupling, nor the failure of Blind Justice -- remember that one? Ron Eldard as a blind cop who still got to carry a gun? Yeah, I'm not putting that one on Rena's head. Still, there's a point where you have to think, Why do people keep casting this chick? Then you look in her eyes and go, Oh, right.

I'm still reading Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, at the pace of about one page per week, so I should be finished some time in the 22nd century. Meanwhile, I picked up the most recent Doonesbury book as comfort reading during my recent illness: Heckuva Job, Bushie! A lot of it -- most of it -- is still sharp, poignant, and hilarious, especially B.D.'s continuing road to recovery from his war injury; some of it, though, made me wince, such as the astoundingly clueless swipes at blogging, or the toothless attacks on softball targets such as Donald Trump or former rocker Rod Stewart's covering oldies on his latest albums. There's actually a Sunday strip with Joanie complaining about the slovenly appearance of today's protesters as opposed to those of the '60s. Now, that might be a knock on the changing perspective (or fading memory) of baby boomers like Joanie, or it might be boomer Trudeau's real outlook, but either way, it's pretty weak. That said: still mostly damn fine cartooning.

I've been watching the wonderful British sitcom (or "Britcom," if you will, though I hope you won't) Black Books (which was first brought to my attention by Dorian -- thank you very much). I've got season 1 on DVD, and I've been watching the new-to-this-country season 3 on BBC America. It centers around Bernard Black, the riotously foul-tempered owner of the Black Books book shop; his best friend and drinking buddy, Fran (with whom he may or may not have a romantic past: she won't allow him to recall, and he obeys); and his helplessly loyal and abuse-absorbant employee, Manny. If you like Spaced, you'll like Black Books -- the two programs share a comedic sensibility, as well as several actors guest appearing back and forth (including Simon Pegg as Manny's temporary new boss in season 3 of Black Books); if you don't know what Spaced is, then seriously, I just can't help you. So hop it.

Listening to Dropkick Murphys' The Warrior's Code, another dose of fantastically rousing Boston Irish punk rock. If you've seen The Departed, you've heard at least one tune from this album: "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," which was prominently featured in the film. And which was written by Woody Guthrie (!) but never before recorded (as far as I know). Damn fine song, damn fine album.

The Hating category is painful for me this week. I used to be a big fan of Tim Hardaway back in his days with the Warriors. Then, last week, in response to retired NBA player John Amaechi's coming out as gay, Hardaway had this to say to a Miami sports radio program: "Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. It shouldn't be in the world, in the United States, I don't like it." I know, it shouldn't shock me quite so much: News flash! Athlete is homophobic! But it does. It's disappointing to learn that someone you admired, even if only for his ability to handle a basketball, is a hateful scumbag.

Lyric of the Week comes from John Mellencamp, back when he was still John Cougar Mellencamp: "Authority Song," from the poetically-named album, Uh-Huh. "Dyin' to me don't sound like all that much fun." Amen to that, brother Mellencamp. In fact, I'm planning on skipping it entirely. I'm not sure how, yet: I may ascend to a higher plane of being, one of pure thought, perhaps, or I may simply not die. I'll let you know how it turns out in a million years or so.

And that's it! Go home now.

NOTE: Posted at 10:00 PM Tuesday, but post-timestamped to midnight Wednesday for your my convenience. Hey, it helps Mike keep his blog daily; I might as well try it with mine, if I'm ever going to create the semblance of a daily schedule.

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