Monday, February 27, 2017

Pretty Good Year

"Pretty Good Year."

That's always been one of my favorite songs by Tori Amos.

It's from her album PRETTY GOOD YEAR which is one of my all time favorites.

What I love about this song is not just how she caresses the notes one moment and then rips them apart the next but also the way she breathes in the song.

It's just amazing and so powerful.

Tori can create a story that just ensnares you and, certainly, her lyrics do here.

We also have to note the amazing piano playing -- she's amazing.

But it's the singing on this song -- and the melody -- that really delivers it for me.

"TV: The overrated" (Ava and C.I., THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW):
Meryl, in far too many films, tosses her lines into the palm of her hand, not to other actors, not off the screen.

She's a church mouse, a dowdy church mouse, whose WASPish background is mistaken for breeding.

She's made over 50 films and America really didn't need any of them.

Anne Hathaway carries THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.  Meryl elected to play a dishy villian -- or signed up for that.  In the end, she played her usual dull WASP because she didn't see "the devil" in the title as a villain.  She's incapable of letting loose onscreen which is why her career is littered with one meaningless role after another.

Linda Hunt, for example, went for it in THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, Cher went for it in MASK and MOONSTRUCK while Annette Bening's gone for it in THE GRIFTERS, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, BUGSY and 20TH CENTURY WOMEN.

Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine did the same in TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, Jodie Foster in THE ACCUSED, Whoopi Goldberg in GHOST, Ann-Margaret in CARNAL KNOWLEDGE, DIANE KEATON in ANNIE HALL, THE GOOD MOTHER, SHOOT THE MOON, REDS and many more. These are performances that haunt and resonate.

You can list several by Bette Davis, several by Anjelica Huston, Carole Lombard, etc.

Meryl has spent the last forty years delivering the same performance over and over.  It seemed fresh, to some, in the late seventies.

It's not amazing.  It's not even good.

Arguing for the most daring film performances by actresses alive today, one would easily think of Vanessa Redgraves' incredible body of work, Charlize Theron or, yes, Annette Bening.

For example, Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress category tonight.

The sad thing is, she deserved the award for Best Actress in THE HELP.

She didn't get that award because it instead went to Meryl that year for THE IRON LADY -- another film that no one saw and another performance that was empty and shallow.

20 nominations.

And yet Annette Bening stole POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE from Meryl in one scene.

Great actresses leave an impression.

Diana Ross in LADY SINGS THE BLUES, Holly Hunter in THE PIANO, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in THELMA & LOUISE, Jessica Lange in FRANCES and TOOTSIE, Faye Dunaway in NETWORK, BONNIE & CLYDE and CHINATOWN, Barbra Streisand in THE WAY WE WERE, Liza Minnelli in CABARET, Ellen Burstyn in ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer in DANGEROUS LIASONS, Glenn Close in FATAL ATTRACTION, Nicole Kidman in TO DIE FOR and MOULIN ROUGE!, Rita Moreno in WEST SIDE STORY, Halle Berry in MONSTER'S BALL, Hillary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY, Julie Christie in DARLING, AWAY FROM HER and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, Michelle Pfeiffer in BATMAN RETURNS and THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS, Sigourney Weaver in ALIENS, Vanessa Redgrave in THE BOSTONIANS and JULIA, Goldie Hawn in PRIVATE BENJAMIN, SHAMPOO, and CACTUS FLOWER, Isabelle Adjani in CAMILLE CLAUDEL, Emma Stone in LA LA LAND and all the other women mentioned elsewhere and many more not noted have created moments of movie magic.

Streep's created no magic onscreen.

They are correct, she's made no lasting impression.

She'll be forgotten within two years after she passes away.

Also, no one deserves 20 nominations.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Monday, February 27, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, the press lying continues, the stupidity continues . . .

Starting with the Academy Awards.  Proving that the whore of the press have no claim to respectability or honesty, Anna Lewis (COSMOPOLITAN) types, "Warren Beatty, who was presenting the award with Faye Dunaway, read out La La Land, [. . .]"

No, he did not.

Warren did not read out any winner.

He gave an exasperated look and handed Faye Dunaway the envelope and she searched what was written and then declared LA LA LAND.

What took place was the Academy's fault.

It was not Faye's fault and it certainly wasn't Warren's.  (As long disclosed here, Warren is a personal friend and I'll be damned if the press is going to get away with lying about him.  Which is why, late last night, I made a point to weigh in on this with "The press lying never ends.")

It is the Academy's fault, it is PricewaterhouseCoopers' fault.

Let's quote the statement from the accounting firm:

The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.

As I said last night, Warren and Faye were handed the wrong envelope.

And PwC is present to prevent this from happening.

Brief history, true or not, Bette Davis always claimed she was supposed to be nominated for OF HUMAN BONDAGE and her name was inadvertently left off the ballot that year and, as a compromise, voters were allowed to write in a nominee for Best Actress in the voting round.

The year after, what is now PwC took over the ballot counting.

She claimed it as a victory.

In the seventies, when Barbra Streisand was up for an Academy Award for composing "Evergreen" her friend Neil Diamond, who was already announced to present the award for Best Song, joked that he'd announce Barbra regardless of who won.

Though he was only joking, a few people got bent out of shape and the Academy had to clarify that the accounting firm's representatives were on hand at the ceremonies to ensure that something like that never happened.

In the 90s, an actress won and Charlie Sheen and others spread lies that she wasn't supposed to win, that her name was called by mistake.  PwC could have stepped forward to end that rumor but they did not.  The actress won the award (and deserved it).  I'm not reprinting her name here because this vicious lie should have ended long ago.

As I said last night, I don't know what made the TV screens.

I do know what happened in the auditorium.

Warren didn't announce the winner.

Faye did.

As people came on stage from LA LA LAND to accept, a friend leaned up (seated on the row behind me) and asked, "What's Warren doing?"

I had no idea.

But he was speaking to everyone on the stage, some of whom dismissed whatever he was saying.

What he was doing was attempting to stop the acceptance speech because he knew the envelope they'd been given wasn't for Best Picture.

Warren did PwC's job.

If anything, he's to be thanked.

The show would have ended without the correction if Warren hadn't stepped up and done the job that the Academy was apparently too cowardly to do itself.

Warren didn't do anything wrong and saved the ceremonies because we'd otherwise be reading this morning, "Day after handing out trophies, Academy announces Best Picture winner didn't really win."

The press needs to get their facts right and they need to quit lying.

FYI , since 1918, The New York Times has won 119 Pulitzer Prizes, a prize awarded for excellence in journalism.

The deeply stupid Alyssa Milano.

Sweetie, a nice rack carries you only so far.

THE NEW YORK TIMES helped start the Iraq War with lies.  That's reality.

That wasn't the first time they lied or the last.

Paul Newman voted Democrat, but he wasn't a partisan.

Paul knew the crap ass NEW YORK TIMES was garbage.

But then, unlike Alyssa, Paul was educated and he was informed.

Alyssa's just an idiot.

You can and should watch this right now on Netflix.

You can and should be aware that this is a propaganda film.

2017: The year Al-Qaeda terrorist organization won an Oscar 😂👏🏻 (Thread)

These are the Oscar-winning : "Life-savers" one minute, Al-Qaeda terrorists the next.

With their victory for "Best Documentary", the become the very first terrorists to ever win an Academy Award Congrats!

"Congrats" to Al Qaeda and its masterful propaganda front, White Helmets, for winning at the , which must be renamed to the Orwells.

Poor Alyssa Milano, brain starved and fact challenged.

Even the propaganda of attending is problematic.  GUARDIAN says Syria's the reason for the no show and publishes a statement where the filmmakers said the same thing.  Woops.

And a view from Iraq.

The glorious White Helmets whose documentary just won at the .

A documentary legitimising Al-Qaeda's firefighters just won at the isn't that great?

The Iraqis fighting ISIS in Iraq?

They don't support ISIS in Syria.

As AL MANAR reports this morning:

The Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari stated on Monday that his country intends to fight ISIL in Syria on the basis of protecting the Iraqi territories from the threats of the terrorist group, not interfering in the Syrian affairs.
Al-Jaafari told the Russian news agency that the Iraq forces will strike the terrorists within the Syrian territories in case they pose an extended threat against the Iraqi territories.

And it is the same organization.

Day 133 of The Mosul Slog.

 And today there may be a change in US policy but most likely it will be the same.

We'll find out around mid-day.

But for now, it remains the same as it's been since August of 2014:  send in more US troops and bomb the country.

If there was a point to that, it was to create space for political reconciliation.

Only the latter didn't take place.

In that regard, it was like Bully Boy Bush's "surge."

Remember that?

Iraq was in trouble politically and security wise.

It was 2007, Bully Boy Bush sent more US troops in.

The point?

To improve security with US troops allowing the Iraqi politicians to focus on the reconciliation.

The second part never happened.

And judging by what's going on now?

It probably never will with the current players.

The editorial board of THE WASHINGTON POST notes:

The rise of the Islamic State was facilitated by sectarian tensions among Iraq’s majority Shiite and minority Sunni and Kurdish populations, and in particular by the discrimination against Sunnis by a Shiite-led Baghdad government backed by Iran. After the fall of Mosul in 2014 the Obama administration helped to engineer the removal of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who fomented the sectarianism, and his replacement by the more moderate Haider al-Abadi, who pledged to build a more inclusive regime. Mr. Abadi’s good intentions have mostly been thwarted by sectarian hard-liners, including Iranian-controlled Shiite militia groups.

Consequently, the military offensive to recapture Mosul has gone ahead without accompanying political steps that might strengthen moderate Sunni leaders against militants who will seek to perpetuate an insurgency against the Baghdad government. A report this month from the Institute for Study of War warned, “Early indicators suggest that a post-ISIS Sunni insurgency may be forming in Iraq and al Qaeda (AQ) is trying to gain traction within it.” It said, “the U.S.-backed Coalition has been focused only on eliminating ISIS, not other insurgent groups or the conditions that grow them.”

At HUFFINGTON POST, Pui Hang Wong tries to tackle similar subjects.

But Wong is hampered by the facts and we see why HUFFINGTON POST can't be seen as a news outlet -- there is no fact check.

CERP funds uses for Sahwa (Sons Of Iraq, Awakenings) was not Saddam's recaptured money.

By the time the efforts towards creating SAHWA were started, that money was exhausted.

Claiming otherwise is outright lying.

Claiming that this was what was being used for Sahwa devalues all the work done by, among others, US House Rep Ike Skelton and US Senator Barbara Boxer.

In fact, it was Boxer who forced Sahwa off the US taxpayer dime. (see the April 8, 2008 snapshot, some of us weren't sleeping).

But apparently Pui Hang Wong doesn't need to know anything to write because at HUFFINGTON POST you can just make up things and get away with it.

Nothing's changed.  Not even the justice system has improved.

criminal justice system continues to rely heavily on "confessions" extracted under . Amnesty video:

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