Sunday, June 24, 2012

Actress Kelly MacDonald

My favorite  actress of recent years,  has been the 38 year old  Scottish actress, Kelly MacDonald, who most recent roles  include  starring as the Scottish heroine in the 2012 Pixar movie, Brave, and as Margaret Schroeder in Boardwalk Empire. What I enjoy about her  most  is her thick but charming  Glasgow accent-that when used fully is almost unintelligible.  In some of her roles, like No Country for Old Men she doesn't use her brogue,  but in my favorite role of hers -The Girl In The Cafe, she does. 

Kelly and Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting
Like a number of Scottish actors she had a breakout role in Trainspotting (1996). It's a highly regarded Scottish movie starring future Jedi, Ewan McGregor, that chronicled the lives of heroin addicts.  Her part was a minor one (including some brief nudity), indeed many of her roles have been supporting roles.  With these smaller roles she built up an impressive list of credits that including  Gosford Park (2001), Finding Neverland (2004),Nanny MacPhee (2005), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Shadows (2011).
My favorite British actor ,  Bill  Nighy (among others) and Kelly were journalists in the original  six part British TV version of  State Of Play (2003)  It is  better and much longer  than the later  movie version.
A scene from  Girl In The Cafe

She won an  a Emmy for Girl In The Cafe (2005)  in which she played  Gina,  a patron in a cafe, who  encounters a  awkward, but sweet, British civil servant ( also played by Bill Nighy).  Eventually  he decides to take her on a trip to a  international summit in Iceland. She is very touching,  and charming in this role, and is the center of a  film for once.  This HBO movie was written by my favorite screenwriter, Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings and A Funeral).
In No Country for Brave Men
She played the haunting role of Carla Jean Moss in No Country for Brave Men (2007) , and was nominated for a BAFTA award for that role.
Brave (2012) was  notable because it's the first Pixar movie to feature a woman in the main role.  The movie has gotten mixed to very good reviews, and had a very good but not spectacular opening.

She was in 48 episodes of  Boardwalk Empire (2012-2013) playing  Margaret Schroeder , the consort of a corrupt politician played  by Steve Buscemi.

 Kelly is a stunning and engaging actress.

NPR's Fresh Air  recently had an excellent interview with her. The page includes both the audio
and a  transcript of the interview .... 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Why is it that all old priests look the same?

 Cardinal Law, Cardinal Dolan, Monsignor William Lynn

Ever notice how senior American  Catholic clerics always look the same.... with the exception of the occasional ethnic Cardinal, they often seem to be wearing a clerical costume,  have white hair, white skin,  glasses with metal frames,  have sour faces, and for some reason,  they all  seem to be of the male persuasion. Apparently the health plan for the Roman Catholic Church does not provide coverage for contacts (or birth control).....

For whatever  reason ,this firm "glasses only" rule does not apply to Popes. Ah, Rank Has It's  Privileges.  Only one of the last five Popes  was  usually  photographed with his  reading  glasses, that  being the first John Paul I, he also smiled a lot, sadly he  only lasted a month in the top job  before God called him back to the ranch....
 The forgotten John Paul-somebody forgot to tell him to drop the smile!!

Editors Note: Apparently Cardinal Dolan, (the middle guy smiling   above) always is smiling when having his photographed taken, and in the interest of fairness, I could not include the one photograph in a hundred in which he is not smiling!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Because -Mary Chapin Carpenter

Remember Mary Chapin Carpenter? She was not related to Harry or Karen.  She got big in the 1990's when anybody could sell a million copies of a CD.  She had four platinum albums.   She had a hit with the Lucinda Williams song, "Passionate Kisses", and about eight other top ten country hits.
My favorite song of hers is one called "Just Because".  It's a song she wrote that was on her relatively obscure debut 1987  album called Hometown Girl . "Just Because"  has an exquisite melody and lyric  made soulful by her rich voice. The song can also be found on a obscure compilation album of hers called Super Hits

"Just Because"on YouTube

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Guide to commenting on You Tube music videos...

While some turn to YouTube, to watch Charlie bite his brother, or see dogs eat with their hands, other actually use You Tube  as a  free music service.  Invariably, you can find most famous songs somewhere on YouTube, often  in their original version.  Usually,  these are unauthorized uploads by  zealous fans , who seldom pay attention to copyright issues.  The rarer authorized uploads usually have a commercial in front of the video. Sometimes aspiring singers cover a famous song,and then purposely neglect to label that their video is a cover, just  so that they  get more clicks-that's very  annoying, even when the performance is good.  What is  most cool about music on YouTube is being able to see long unavailable clips and TV performances from ages ago. Back in the day, it was rarer for artists to be filmed, or videotaped, so each of these performances, even the lip-synched ones are pieces of found gold. 

 I find it amusing to read the comments  about the music videos, sometimes I learn something, but sometimes their comments can be rather predictable.

1. If the song is from a prior decade, the commenter will comment how the music stinks today, often they will throw in disgusted references to Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa or HipHop music and go on about  how nobody knows how to play music  or write a song nowadays. Even today's teenager are fond of saying that they wished they lived in  prior decade when this music was better...
2. Another common comment is that  somebody will take note of the like /dislike count on the video, and if most people liked the song, the commenter  will say ( such in such number of ) people are idiots in reference to the number of people who didn't like the song.
3. Many people will say how much they love the song in question, and how it was playing when they were falling in  love in high school or doing drugs in college...they will also go on about how they don't make music like they used to.....

Yeah, they don't music like they used to- there will never be another Mozart.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My thoughts on American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and Survivor.

My pointless thoughts on three TV contest shows. 
Cape Cod's own, Siobhan Magnus. Too Weird to Win?Too
much face hardware?, Too many high notes?

Rupert Boneham
Survivor (begun 1997)  One of the oldest of  TV  reality contest shows-I have  never really  watched this show,  I don't enjoy watching surly, tanned,  skinny,  people spending time running around sweating in bathing suits, trying to  figure out ways to out maneuver there fellow contestants. One year they had a cool guy with a beard -Rupert Boneham- but he was the exception, not the rule.     I think it would be cool if one of the seasons  of the show was   actually filmed in an environment where survival really was in question-like the frozen north or a war-zone. At least, maybe, the skanky girls wouldn't be able to wear bathing suits. 

American  Idol (begun 2002) This show has done little of value for American Music, but has done much  to enrich the pockets of the Fox TV network and it's producers. The show has produced  some   talented singers (often among the runner-ups)  and generated many hit songs, but very little of the music generated from the show or it's artists has been of any great worth.

Originally, the contest  focused  solely on  young solo singers, armed only  with vocal talent. In recent years, the rules have been loosened up to allow for some slightly older singers, and to allow singers to play instruments.  In recent years , the focus of the  voting audience has been to  pick the cutest singer, as opposed to the most talented.   One thing that always bothered me about the show is that the singers  always compete by covering old  beaten -to death -songs, but then when these singers  actually put out their albums  they invariably record mostly new songs usually written by outside writers.  Why not have the contestants  compete on the show with some  of these  new songs as well?

Dancing with the Stars (begun 2005 ) Based on a British TV show, they should have called this Dancing with the B-list, since the stars in question are almost  never actually A-List   stars.....Every year I look at the list of performers  and normally about half of the people I have never heard of,or at least could not pick out of a line-up. It doesn't help that the professional dancers are of course unrecognizable, as well ,and that the contestants usually must  dress in  campy ballroom dancing costume and makeup. . What I like about the show is that many of the contestants haven't actually danced in the past, and thus they are showing  a ton  of  guts to get up there on national TV and  possibly  make fools of themselves.

Most popular search results for each letter of the alphabet

Why Craig's List, Why not Cow? How about Zebra not Zillow? Why not Zebra Cow?
According to Google or at least the Google search box on my computer, these are the most popular searches for each letter of the alphabet. Your mileage may vary.  My computer actually pulled up Red Sox
for R (since I am in New England and I am a Red Sox fan) so I went with the second choice... Some letters it's quite obvious what the first choice would be A (amazon),F (facebook), H (hotmail) , and Y(Youtube) . Other letters  have  quite a bit of competition or change over time. K,B, R,  J, X, P and U fit in that category. 

A: amazon
B: bank of America
C: craigslist
D: dictionary
E: espn
F: facebook
G: gmail
H: hotmail
I: imdb
J: jet blue
K: Kayak
L: linked in
M: mapquest
N: Netflix
O: orbitz
P: pinterst
Q: qvc
R: redbox
S: southwest airlines;
T: target
U: urban dictionary
V: Verizon wireless
W: weather
X: xfinity
Y: youtube
Z: zillow

Kayak!  Really?  Are You Sure?