The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Hehehe. (Cartoon by Nick Anderson, found via Marshall)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


(removes card)

Name three late-night hosts who don't even deserve to pick up after your dog.

Goodbye, Johnny. 1925-2005

On a side note, did anybody else notice that CNN's Carson graphic had the same font as the one they used for Arafat? Anyway...

UPDATE: In a similar albeit funnier vein, Roger Ailes.
DeLong, Kevin and Jesse all give Don Luskin a thorough spanking for his recent writing (and "arithmetic") on Social Security in the National Review.

Sorry about that, Mel. Maybe they'll add that category next year and you can write a sequel . . . it'll be eligible for Best Original Screenplay, I'd note.

But enough of that. Here are the nominations for the 77th Annual Academy Awards.

Here's the TFM quick-style handicap of the major awards:

--The Aviator wins the big dog
--Foxx edges out Leo and Cheadle for best actor
--Annette Benning beats Swank this time, though I'd be tickled pink if Winslet won for Eternal Sunshine
--Thomas Haden Church runs away with the supporting actor Oscar
--Supporting actress is anybody's guess, but Blanchett will edge out Virginia Madsen and the Honorary Mrs. TFM, Natalie Portman
--Scorsese wins best director
--As much as I loved Shrek 2, The Incredibles will win the animated category.

So, am I worse at predicting award shows or football games? We'll find out! In the meantime, let's have some fun complaining:

--Both Control Room and The Corporation did not receive nominations for best documentary feature. For that matter, where is Metallica: Some Kind of Monster? Eh, maybe the Academy was consciously shying away from the more political fare this year. I'll be pulling for Super Size Me.

--Paul Giamatti got screwed. Why is Clint Eastwood nominated? He plays the same "grumbly-Clint" role he's played for the past 15 years. Everyone else deserves to be there, so I wont complain about the lack of a nomination for Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine)

--Damnit, I'm sick of this happening in the best song category: An old musical (Phantom of the Opera) is adapted to the screen, and some song that didn't make the cut onstage but shows up in the movie gets a nomination. This happened with both Evita and Chicago. Argh! Here's hoping the silly dreads of Adam Duritz find their way to the stage.

--A big ouch for A Very Long Engagement in the foreign language category. It's a beautiful movie, albeit a little slow at times.

--A visual effects nomination for Eternal Sunshine would have been appreciated. But how could a real movie get in the way of, say, I Robot?

--One more on the best song category: Where's "America, Fuck Yeah!"??? This is bullshit.

Alright, that's enough.

Boy, I can't wait until next year to see Hayden Christiansen's acceptance speech.

Just kidding.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Or minidiplo, concerning itself only with unilateralism?

Bush is now requesting $1.5 billion for a new American embassy in Iraq.

Sure, that's fine, we need an embassy. But the funny thing is, that $1.5 billion figure is the same amount of money we're spending to build the tallest building in the entire world, over in lower Manhattan.

The cost to build the current tallest building in the world, the state-of-the-art and rather beautiful Taipei 101 was $1.6 billion.

The gigantic, yet never-opened Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, DPRK, cost a mere $750 million to make. Of course, they're a poor communist country, so yeah, corners were cut, but still.

So the question is, what kind of Oceanic fortress are we planning to build in Baghdad anyway?

Never pick against quarterbacks from your hometown ever again! Certainly not two weeks in a row!

(Tom Brady from his days at Serra High School in San Mateo)

(Tom Brady meets the Pope)

Mark it down now: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl, and it will not be close.

At last, Dubya and his advisors have been nominated for something more appropriate than the Nobel Peace Prize: Razzies!:
The Razzies, which mock the worst in film, gave "Catwoman" a leading seven nominations Monday, among them worst picture, worst actress for Berry and worst supporting players for Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson. "Catwoman" also was nominated for worst screen couple for Berry with either Stone or co-star Benjamin Bratt.


President Bush and some of his advisers received worst-acting nominations for their appearances in news and archival footage in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which assails Bush for his actions surrounding the September 11 attacks.

Bush was nominated for worst actor, while Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice got a nomination for worst supporting actress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for worst supporting actor.

Wilson said that while "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a piece of anti-Bush propaganda, the president and his associates earned their Razzie nominations on their own.

"It wasn't Mr. Moore's editing," Wilson said. "It's the raw footage of these people just making fools of themselves."
I would have also nominated Wolfowitz for his demonstrating how he keeps his hair in place during the opening credits. But you can't say no to Condi and good old "I believe it was titled 'Bin Laden determined to strike in America'".

I'm sure that Moore's usual suspect detractors will be ready for their counter-Razzies and nominate Lila Lipscomb.

But rest assured, the administration isn't alone among the nominees:
Just a few seconds of screen time in "Fahrenheit 9/11" brought a nomination as worst supporting actress for Britney Spears, who sits for a moment blank-faced and chewing gum in the film before saying she thinks people should support the president in all decisions he makes.

(By the way, if the Razzies has a "Most Jarring Cameo" category, it will be a horserace between Jodie Foster in A Very Long Engagement and Brent Spiner in The Aviator. Sorry, Lance Armstrong.)

Thanks to Alex for the link.

I've never been much into blogger triumphalism. First of all, that would require something for me to feel trimphant about in the first place. But that aside, while I think that blogs certainly have a role to play in the media, I don't think they are going to supplant the "mainstream media", nor do I think they have the sort of saintly credibility relative to the rest of the media that some ascribe to them. In fact, the only thing that might be "pure" about blogging is its seething bias, on both sides (and more than that in many cases).

That said, whenever I read an article about blogs in a major paper, I can't help but snicker a little bit. Somewhat similar to being ten years old and watching a football game with your mother. Case in point, A large article on the blog phenomenon in today's SF Chronicle. Sure, it covers some of the usual bases (Dan Rather this, Trent Lott that). And sure, the key point made in the article is made by Paul Grabowicz of Cal's j-school:
"I wouldn't trust a single news outlet; therefore I wouldn't trust a single blog, newspaper or TV show."
But by and large, the article is pretty clunky, and its final third deals with a subset of blogs and issues tangential to MSB (mainstream bloggers)

The article finds a way to address Kos and Armstrong taking money from the Dean campaign (and fully disclosing it) while saying "questions linger as to whether others have as forthcoming". If they wanted to know what improper disclosure looked like, they could have glanced over at South Dakota, where some anti-Daschle bloggers didn't disclose their Thune money until after the 2004 senatorial election, instead of making a stink about those whose actions were altogether ethical.

Still, this chronological line graph of blog traffic is interesting.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Documentary filmmaker and former TFM roommate Josh Braun is blogging his Nightline internship. Here's the link.