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IMNSHO: In My Not-So-Humble Opinion
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Sherri Shepherd's "View" on "The Golden Compass"


I'm home sick today, so I'm watching "The View" and although I love Sherri Shepherd, I have to say that her main gripe about The Golden Compass annoys me.  She doesn't like the fact that in the universe in which the story takes place all people are connected to a being in animal form called a daemon, but she equates this word with the Christian idea of "demons" that she's grown up with.

The daemons in Pullman's story are not evil beings, they're manifestations of each person's soul. If a person is evil, like Mrs. Coulter, her daemon will be evil. Sherri said that she's concerned because "words are a powerful thing," which I agree with completely, but if you truly believe in the power of words you should know about the definition and etymology of a word before you choose to make a public judgment about the word. It reminds me of when a guy was fired from his government office a few years ago because he used the non-racism-related word "niggardly" (and used it correctly, I must add).

The word as Sherri thinks of it came from the Late Latin for evil spirits, but it has its roots in the Latin word daemon, which refers to a divinity or spirit, unrelated to any good or evil.  Yes, our most common dictionary definition does refer to a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin, but the alternate spelling, daemon, connotes either an attendant power or spirit or a supernatural being of Greek mythology intermediate between gods and men.

If someone is going to criticize or condemn something because of the use of a specific word, I which that such a person would do his or her homework regarding the definition and origin of that word first, especially if that person is a public figure in TV broadcasting.

Posted by tonylagarto at 11:48 AM EST
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Monday, 19 November 2007
Why, God, whyyyyyy!?!?

It's been quite a while since I've written anything. I spent a couple of heavenly weeks in Italy in October and I guess I'm being punished now for having experienced such pleasure.

Yes, the punishment that I'm referring to is the Writers Strike...  This was probably the best fall TV season ever, but now it's going to be cut short because of the strike.  Don't get me wrong, I support the writers and think that they deserve everything that they're asking for, but why now?  Why? Now?

Besides the return of my beloved, must-see "Ugly Betty" and the other established shows that I usually watch and enjoy ("Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," "Brothers and Sisters"), I became instantly hooked on more new series in this one fall season than in any other premiere season that I can recall (and I've watched a LOT of TV in my 40 years). On Monday I've got  the fun and intrigue of "Chuck," on Tuesday it's the devilishly delicious "Reaper," and on Wednesday it's the whimsically heart-warming "Pushing Daisies" and the cruel intentions of those kids on "Gossip Girl" (I also usually watch "Dirty Sexy Money," even if I'm not as hooked on it as the other shows I've mentioned).  In case you're interested in knowing how I rank the newbies, my favorites are, in order:

1. "Pushing Daisies"
2. "Reaper"
3. "Chuck"
4. "Gossip Girl"

As of today's date, most of those shows only have a few episodes left before they run out. It would be nice if the networks would order more episodes after the strike is resolved, as sort of a winter or spring season, but it's doubtful that they'll do that, so we fans are going to be cheated out of ten to thirteen episodes of our favorite shows because the greedy studio executives don't want to give a fair share of the money they make with the people who actually make the money for them in the first place.

One big fear that I have is that the interruption of momentum will hurt some of these shows and they might not be able to recover, even if the networks renew them for the fall of 2008.

When the time comes, I bet those greedy studio "mother effers" will probably have the nerve to charge the same price for the DVDs of this truncated season that they would have charged for a full 22-episode season.

Oh, well, at least I've got "Nip/Tuck" and "Project Runway" to keep me entertained for a while. 

Posted by tonylagarto at 8:35 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007 3:14 PM EST
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Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Quick quips
  • It's going to be a looooong summer without my dear "Ugly Betty"
  • Rosie O'Donnell is a bulldozer
  • Rent or buy "Little Britain," watch it, and laugh your ass off
  • Christine Ebersole had better win a Tony Award next month for her performance in "Grey Gardens"
  • The preview of this December's film version of The Golden Compass looks like they've captured the magic of the books brilliantly
  • I'm looking forward to next summer's (yes, 2008) movie version of Mamma Mia waaaaay too much
  • Donald Trump is pathetic to be claiming that he decided not to do another season of "The Apprentice" not long after NBC decided not to bring the declining former "ratings bonanza" back again
  • Amy Sedaris has been hilarious, as usual, during her press tour (along with Amy Poehler, Cheri Oteri, and Maya Rudolph) to promote Shrek the Third
  • This is my friend Jill's brain

Posted by tonylagarto at 2:36 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007 6:05 PM EDT
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Thursday, 19 April 2007
Who Would Jesus Shoot?

How do people who consider themselves to be "good Christians" reconcile their love for guns with their love for Jesus Christ?  Does the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the good old U.S. of A. trump the Sixth Commandment from the Bible? This is the very Bible that these right-wing, red state Christians claim to revere.

Speaking of red states, I wonder if it's a coincidence that most of these school shootings take place in red states (or in the case of what happened at the Amish school in Pennsylvania, it took place in a conservative region of what is a borderline blue/red state).

And speaking of the Constitution, I've said it before, but it can't be said enough: the Second Amendment does not implicitly give Americans the right to personally own guns or to have them in our homes. It says specifically that for the purposes of maintaining a militia we have the right to keep and bear arms, but arms for a militia could be kept in an armory until we'd have a need to bear them.  The Constitution does not give anyone the right to build up a personal arsenal. Besides, the only time that right-wingers care about the Constitution or citizen's rights is when it comes to this one Amendment. Otherwise, the party that rails against "Big Government" wants to legislate every aspect of what we can and can't do with our own bodies, but God forbid if anyone wanted to legislate programs that might help the neediest of the needy in our country. "Ah, Jesus wouldn't just give them a fish, like a handout, he'd teach them how to fish." You know what, I don't think that Jesus would have minded giving out a few fish until the hungry were able to catch fish for themselves.

But even if you interpret the Constitution as saying that we can own guns, just because the Constitution allows something doesn't mean that you have to do it. The Constitution also supposedly guarantees free speech, but we've recently learned that there are caveats to that "right," especially if you're a sixty-something year old white man trying to be hip by spouting a ridiculous racially-charged, misogynistic comment that you've uttered because you think you're making an ironic cultural reference to the Hip-Hop vernacular popularized and oft-spoken by today's youth. You have the right to say what you want, but be prepared to have some hypocritical Reverends dogging your every breath until you are universally despised and utterly destroyed.

After the Imus blow-up, Al Roker was dour especially dour on the "Today Show."  I've seen him snap out of serious moments after tragedies of all sorts (violent crimes, fires, hurricanes, terrorism) with a simple "on a lighter note," which is fine because that's what's expected on a morning news program, but this Imus situation was the first time that I've seen him so noticeably serious since 9/11.

Roker is reported to have said that he was upset because Imus could have been talking about his daughter with such words. Well, does Al know for sure that none of his kids are gay, because when news of Isaiah Washington's homophobic comments came out Al should have been outraged that it was possible that Washington could have been indirectly maligning one of his children. Washington still has his job, even though there are many other parents in this country who love their gay children as much as Roker loves his daughters. Granted, Isaiah Washington's words were not intended for public consumption, as Imus's were, but the public still learned of his hate speech, just the same.

There were many Jewish New Yorkers who had young children back in 1984, so perhaps they should all have banded together and called (loudly and relentlessly) for banning the Reverend Jesse Jackson from radio airwaves and from making television appearances after he referred to New York as "Hymie Town" back when he was running for president(!)  that year. It's strange how Jewish people, whom anti-Semites believe control the media, were not able to ban Jackson from radio or TV for even one day, let alone take him of the air permanently, even though the good Reverend's comment was more deliberately mean-spirited than Imus's, which was just rooted in an unthinking, foolish attempt to be hip.

If you're going to go after people for making bigoted statements, then be consistent and go after everyone, even if you are not a member of the group who is being insulted. And don't you DARE go after someone else unless you know without a doubt that your own slate is clean.

Posted by tonylagarto at 5:44 PM EDT
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Saturday, 7 April 2007
I'm Dreaming of a White... Easter!?
Since my last blog entry was on Christmas Day, I suppose it's kind of appropriate for my latest to be on the day before Easter.  I know that it will certainly melt before tomorrow, Easter Sunday, but I woke up today and saw a lovely blanket of white on the ground and the trees looked as if they'd been dusted with confectioner's sugar. Not much else to say about this. It's just funny that we rarely ever have snow on the ground for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but her it is Easter Eve Day and we've got snow (I know there's technically no such thing. It's really called Holy Saturday. Don't call it Easter Saturday, because that's the Saturday after Easter. Don't believe me? See for yourself.)  A few days ago I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt when I went down to the Potomac River for a nice bike ride into Virginia. Those poor cherry blossoms down at the Tidal Basin must be really confused right now.

Posted by tonylagarto at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007 11:59 AM EDT
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Monday, 25 December 2006
A Very Bush Administration Christmas

Ever since 9/11 all aircraft, commercial and private, have had to follow strict flight plans when approaching my city, Washington, DC. Jets, small propeller planes, helicopters, etc. have all had to fly over the Potomac river and turn at a sharp angle when they approach National Airport for landing, so they can avoid getting anywhere near the No-Fly Zone (NFZ) that has been declared around the memorials, White House, Capitol, and the various government agencies.

Although it hasn't been widely reported,  a small craft violated the NFZ rules last night by entering the forbidden air space. The Department of Homeland Security had the situation covered, though, and their fighter jets scrambled to the scene before this unidentified aircraft, which was headed directly for the White House, could reach its target.

The fighter jets shot the rogue craft out of the sky and witnesses claim that the power of their weapons was so devastating that not much debris remained, which has the wheels turning in conspiracy theorists' brains already.

One witness, however, who had seen the entire chain of events unfold, did actually find a piece of the charred red fusilage. When asked what kind of aircraft it was that was shot down, the witness described it as being built in the form of a red, old-fashioned, open carriage or sleigh, and also said that it appeared to have been pulled by nine large woodland mammals of some sort, the one in front having a bright red light attached to its face, possibly for navigation purposes.  Unfortunately, all witnesses have been spirited away to an undisclosed location, so we may never know what really happened last night over the National Mall, just a few hundred yards from the White House.


'Twas the night before Christmas
and in the capital of the U.S. of A.
not an aircraft approached the NFZ
except for a big, toy-filled sleigh

The fighter jets were summoned
and scrambled to the center of town
til they reached the offending target
and shot Santa down . . .


Posted by tonylagarto at 8:18 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006 8:48 AM EST
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Saturday, 9 December 2006
That Ugly Girl!
I was going to write this post about my "Ugly Betty" website, but I wrote the subject line that way because I'm watching a "That Girl" marathon on TV Land right now. I haven't seen this show in decades, but it feels as though it's only been a few years. Anyway, back to "Ugly Betty," my fan page for the show is appended to my tripod site until I can find a better hosting service. There are other great sites dedicated to the show, but mine focuses on all of the other international versions from Colombia, Israel, India, Germany, Russia, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain.  I already have a connection on "Ugly Betty," one of the show's stars, so if I'm lucky I might be able to visit the set someday, just as when I was invited to the set of "Strangers With Candy" back in 2000.

Posted by tonylagarto at 8:35 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007 8:08 PM EST
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Saturday, 25 November 2006
Legends! The world's most craptacular theatrical experience!

Today I turned 40, and what better way to celebrate aging than by watching Joan Collins and Linda Evans on the National Theatre's stage, starring in Legends!? (The exclamation point is part of the show's title, and the question mark just punctuates my rhetorical question.)

Back in the '80s I was a complete "Dynasty" addict, so  there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity to see the two divas during the two-week run of their comedy play here in DC.  I went to see it with my friend Rob, another big "Dynasty" fan who is probably the only other person I know who can reenact scenes from the campy primetime soap, especially the Moldavian wedding massacre.

It was fun to see the old gals in person, and being amongst the old ladies (not just Joan and Linda; it was a matinee, so most of the audience members were decades older than we are) certainly made me feel younger.  It's like the way that I feel thinner when I sit next to someone who is a little more on the corpulent side than I am.

The play itself is pretty much a steaming pile of... well, you get the idea. Is it the shoddy writing?  Certainly.  Could the fault lie with the director?  I'm sure he gets a large share of the blame.  Might it be the fact that the show just seems too dated?   Perhaps.

But despite its faults, as I said already, I wouldn't have missed this show for anything.  Plus, Rob and I shared many laughs during and after the show. Unfortunately, none of the laughs have been courtesy of what were playwright James Kirkwood's intentions. We've had the most fun thinking up other pairings that producers could come up with for alternate revivals of this show:  Joan van Ark and Michelle Lee, Linda Gray and Victoria Principal (who ended up being mentioned in the play's second act!),  Cicely Tyson and Leslie Uggams, Maureen McCormick and Eve Plumb, and a mini-male version with Gary Coleman and Emanuel Lewis (in Li'l Legends!).  Then they could do Legends Babies! which would feature child stars (Dakota Fanning and Hallie Kate Eisenberg, perhaps) as the tiny tot versions of Sylvia and Liatrice, Joan and Linda's characters, when they were competing to star in their elementary school's upcoming production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Ah, the possibilities are endless.  Endlessly and totally crapulous!


Posted by tonylagarto at 9:10 PM EST
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Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Grey Gardens Revisited (soon to be revisited, that is)

You may have noticed that I've already written extensively about how much I enjoyed experiencing "Grey Gardens: The Musical" at Playwright Horizons back on February 18th of this year.  I was very disappointed when the show's run ended, because I wanted desperately to see it again.  I tried to get tickets, but even though the show had been extended a few times, it kept selling out and I just wasn't able to get decent tickets for any times that I might be available. And hopes for the show to be moved to a permanent home on Broadway were quickly dashed because the New York theater scene has been doing so well that there weren't any available houses to take the Beales in.

Needless to say, but here I am saying it anyway, I was thrilled to learn that the show is indeed going to be starting a Broadway run on November 2nd at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where I'd seen "Take Me Out" a couple times back in 2003.  Previews start on October 3rd and I've got two tickets (I'm taking my own Big Edie, my mother, to see it) for November 4th and can't wait.  I've been listening to the Off-Broadway cast recording every day since it arrived last week. Sometimes twice a day. Okay, usually twice a day. I can't help myself. It's the music and I'm it's hapless victim!  (That's a lyric from one of the songs. See, I'm obsessed.)

What is it about the documentary film and this musical?   I think that with the film I was captivated because it seemed to be what you'd get if John Waters directed a film inspired by the works of playwright Tennessee Williams.  And with the musical I love how the first act, set in 1941, seems like vintage Cole Porter, while the second act, set in 1973, seems like what Cole Porter would have come up with if he had been inspired by Tennessee Williams.

I'm also fascinated by the elements of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Sunset Blvd., without the really dark and sinister aspects, in which you have these women who clearly don't see themselves as others see them.  They had once lived the high life, yet they don't seem to realize how far they've fallen.

I'll be bringing my copy of the documentary on DVD to Connecticut next month, when I'm up there for my cousin's wedding, so my mother can get to know the real Edies, that way she'll be able to realize just how much of a revelation Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson's performances are.  Even if she doesn't care for the documentary (I think she might find it too depressing), I know that she will LOVE the musical.

Posted by tonylagarto at 5:17 PM EDT
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Monday, 28 August 2006
I've got a sickness

I've always tried to speak correctly and whenever I've learned that I've broken a grammar rule or have misspelled a word, I've made a point of trying not to repeat the mistake(s) in the future.  But I've never really considered matters of grammar and spelling to be that important in the great scheme of things.  I don't know why I've become a little obsessed with this.

Perhaps I'm just fighting off the ravages of loneliness.  Oh, wait, that's what my imaginary baby is for.

Anyway, this is how bad it's getting:  My friend Wade jokingly (or maybe not jokingly) called me a "grammar Natzi" last week in an email, so what did I do?  Of course I wrote back to him to tell him that he spelled Nazi wrong.  Sometimes I just can't stop myself.

Posted by tonylagarto at 4:50 PM EDT
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