Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spidey's Lemon?

Ok, file this one under: This is why I’m glad and kinda freaked out by what I get in my Google alerts.

So I’m looking through my guilty-pleasure U2 alert and find a reference to U2 (or Bono and The Edge, anyway) working on a soundtrack for a Spider Man musical in New York .

Check it out, here at something hysterically called

This could mean one or all of three things.

1. U2 are about to get involved with something totally cool that will only expand their base.

2. U2 are about to get involved with something totally lame that will be this year’s version of the “Pop” album and tour (remember the 40-foot lemon?)

3. My wife will be very, very excited.

See, as much as I love U2, Heidi loves Spidey. She makes me watch every damn trailer that comes on for Spider Man 3 (which, I dare say, looks pretty lame). We own the first two movies (two was far better than one, end of discussion) and apparently she loved the comic book as a kid. How this turned into the woman I love and mother of my children, I don’t know and what she did with the dork who read the comics, I’m not going to ask.

But it’s apparently the real deal for the musical, they’re casting for Peter Parker, MJ and even a “Geek Chorus” starting in July.

The boys in U2 have shown interest in both movies and superheroes in the past – doing “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” for the Batman Forever soundtrack. And they did the Passengers album for a movie that didn’t exist but which spawned the great track, “Miss Sarajevo.”

And, way back in 1986, Edge did the soundtrack for a putrid little movie called “Heroine” – the title song marking the premiere of a beautiful young Irish singer named Sinead O’Connor.

Could this be U2’s “Tommy”?

One can only dream. But, I admit it, I’m starting to hear distant refrains of “lemmmmmon” and I’m scared.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Governor Seatbelt

My good friend Bruce wrote well about the New Jersey highway experience when he sang about riding through mansions of glory in suicide machines. Of course, that was before the Turnpike, when Highway 9 was the road of choice. But that's besides the point.

The point is, New Jersey's governor almost put the suicide back in the machine the other day.

Maybe it's that I was in Jersey when it happened and in Pennsylvania for the few days afterward but why is this story not bigger news 'round here?

You've got Governor Jon Corzine, a gazillionaire who is already interesting just because he's spent millions to buy a Senate seat and a Governor's mansion. But on Friday, Corzine was being driven by a Jersey Statie on the way to the mansion. He was on his way to help host the oh-so-newsworthy meeting between Don Imus and the Rutgers women's hoop team Imus made the focus of his latest racial tirade.

A pickup cut off one car that knocked into the Gov's SUV, sending it careening into the guardrail. Governor's in critical with no less than half his ribs broken, his sternum cracked, a collarbone broken and his femur - the biggest bone in the body, cracked ... twice. Yeesh.

But the topper here is the Gov wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Why is this such a tantilizing fact? Because Jersey was the second state to require seatbelt use by law (next to my home state, the ever-ahead-of-the-curve New York, I believe) and one of the first to allow coppers to pull you over just for failing to belt up.

For now, the story is rightly about the Gov's health and recovery. Tonight's reports say he's still not out of the woods yet, is still on a ventilator and might need more surgery.

But, already, questions are being asked about why the Gov wasn't belted up. As they should. Corzine's chief of staff joked, sorta, that people don't usually tell the Governor what to do. But what about the state trooper driving his car - isn't it his duty to protect the Governor? Yes, and not just by driving carefully, by making sure he isn't the target of an assassin's bullet or whatever. He's supposed to keep the Govenror safe, even if it means safe from himself. That same chief of staff joked, again sorta, that the trooper perhaps should have ticketed the Governor. Funny, real funny.

The truth is, there probably isn't much a trooper could do if Governor Seatbelt wants to throw his own life away. Same as the morons who don't wear helmets on motorcycles. I usually chalk something like that up to natural selection. And I guess that kind of behavior extends to Governors too. Sad but true.

Friday, April 6, 2007

For Edwards, Cancer = Cash?

I didn’t think much would make me question the Edwards family these days. I was definitely among those who turned against Katie Couric for her berating of Elizabeth Edwards on “60 Minutes” and of the hyperventilating media that wondered how on earth the candidate could choose to campaign when his wife had cancer. To me, the answer is simple: He and she said so. End of discussion.

But now, I hedge.

The New York Post (I know, I know, but keep reading) has the Edwards camp confirming that they have been collecting email addresses from supporters who have sent Elizabeth get-well notes and using them for fundraising requests.

According to the Post, the link to Edwards’ campaign website invites people to “send a note to Elizabeth and John” and features what The Post calls a “sad letter from the former senator penned just after the couple found out her breast cancer had spread and is now incurable.”

Turns out those people have then been hit up for cash by Team Edwards and, if they provide it, their email is added to the campaign’s online database.

The campaign, contacted by reporters, said they would add an option to allow well-wishers to decline getting future emails.

All together now: Ewwww

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Chinese Zax

Today in China , the disputes aren’t quite what they were in 1989 in Tiananmen Square – when a student protester boldly stood in front of tanks rushing in to break up anti-government protests.

We all know now, the students won that round. But the images today are no less telling, and inspiring.

Today’s tale is brought to us courtesy of The Washington Post. Wu Ping and Yang Wu live(d) in the outpost of Chongqing , 900 miles outside of Bejing. Ping and Wu owned a small house among 300 in an area that developers wanted torn down to make way for the latest, massive bit of sprawl popping up in that land.

All the other owners sold out and moved. Ping and Wu held out. Eventually, all the other houses were raised. Wu and Ping held out. Their story became the stuff of legend around China , where they stood up to the government and the developers who refused to meet their demands – whatever those were - for three years.

It was shades of my good friends the Zax. Yes, the Dr. Seuss Zax. The north-going Zax ran into the south-going zax out on the Prairie of Prax one way and neither would budge. All around them, society rumbled on. And they kept standing, toe to toe, those Zaxes did, until the highway was built right around them.

But back in China , Ping and Wu caved – or their price was met, we’ll never know. And, under cover of night, the house was bulldozed over and the shopping plaza will now get built.
The picture of the house standing on its own tells the whole story. Was it stubbornness, fairness or just Nimbyism on a grand scale? I’m not sure and I don’t want to know.

But it is impressive – particularly in a place like China – to see the power of one or two people, committed and resolute, is still an immovable force.

Smoking Keith Richards

Now, it all makes sense.

For years, Keith Richards topped our annual dead pool – he still does. The guy is a walking corpse. Every year, as we toss names out, people nod knowingly when Richards’ name comes up. I mean, look at him:

Given the life he’s lead and, the theory goes, the drugs he’s taken, it’s only a matter of time, right? Wrong. This has been going on for years and the guy keeps on tickin’.

Well now we know why.
In an interview published by NME, a British music magazine roughly equivalent to Rolling Stone here in the states, Richards is quoted as saying:

“The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared, he didn't give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

Of course, now that it was published, Richards is saying it was all a joke – that he would never take cocaine now and that he truly planted his father’s ashes with a “sturdy English Oak.”


The halarious part of this is that Denis Leary called this exact scenario, years ago. Well, ok, sort of.

Back on his funniest comedy album, “No Cure for Cancer,” Leary actually joked about smoking Richards’ ashes for a high after the guitarist had died.

“I was reading an interview with Keith Richards in a magazine and in the interview Keith Richards intimated that kids should not do drugs. Keith Richards! Says that kids should not do drugs! Keith, we can't do any more drugs because you already fucking did them all, alright?There's none left! We have to wait 'till you die and smoke your ashes! Jesus Christ! Talk about the pot and the fuckin' kettle.”

Irony, oh, sweet irony.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

President Bush's Spilt Milk Theory

Thanks, Mr. President, thanks for today's near-admission you’d been wrong … and I stress the word “near.”

But this is George W. Bush. Wrong is wrong and he isn’t wrong. He’s the decider. Deciders can’t be wrong – even when he’s smacked down by the highest court in the land and even when that highest court in the land tilts in his direction. Nope, no wrong here.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Bush administration was wrong in not enforcing the key provisions of the Clean Air Act. It was the first true global warming argument brought to the high court and, boy, did it pack a punch.

Bush got dunked by the court and now he’s saying, well, nothing new really. He admits the court’s ruling is “the new law of the land” but doesn’t quite bring himself to admitting the administration had it wrong all along.

He argued that "anything that happens cannot hurt economic growth. I care about the working people of the country but also because in order to solve the greenhouse gas issue over a longer period of time, it's going to require new technologies, which tend to be expensive."

And he continued to push the theory that nothing the US does matters unless China and India get in line on global warming.

Bush said that "whatever we do, it must be in concert with what happens internationally. Because we could pass any number of measures that are now being discussed in the Congress, but unless there is an accord with China, China will produce greenhouse gases that will offset anything we do in a brief period of time.”

To me, this sounds like an argument my 3-year-old might make when he and his buddies are spilling their milk all over the floor. He may look at me and say he won’t stop spilling his milk until the other kids do too. Sure, we have to stop the other kids from spilling milk but, for God’s sake, stop spilling yours first - not just because it'll mean there is less milk on the floor but maybe, just maybe, the other 3-year-olds will stop spilling their milk too.

And how does that jive with the Bush administration's immigration policy, by the way? This is the team that wants to put a fence on the border to cut off the flow of immigrants. Well if it makes sense to turn off the spigot there to stop the flood, why wouldn’t it here, too?

But that brings us back to the 3-year-olds and milk. You can't try to inject logic into a completely illogical mind.

Minute 13 of 15, I hope

There isn't much out there these days that tops this photo on the weird-o-meter.

Obama is Christ. Perfect message for the holy weeks we are in, perfect.
I can see the bumper-stickers now: "Don't Blame Me, I Prayed For Obama."

Here's hoping this "artist's" 15 minutes are at 13.

The Globe Plot Thickens

The plot thickens this morning on the Globe's Metro page. Where Brian McGrory's column usually is, there is nothing today. Often, the editors will put notes at the bottom of the page if a columnist is on vacation or just not writing. Today, nothing.

This, of course, only heightens my interst.

Presumably now we will see McGrory's typical Tuesday column tomorrow, in the Wednesday/Sunday slot previously reserved for the now bought-out Eileen McNamara. And then Adrian Walker back in his normal slot Thursday and then what Friday - another no-column day?

Why would the Globe make a change of this seeming magnitude but not tell anybody? It makes some sense to me that they wouldn't announce a new hire or that the post wasn't being filled this early in the process - but why not at least announce that McGrory was switching days and that, during the search, no column will run in McGrory's old Tuesday/Friday slot?

So far, I haven't heard back on my official query to Globe spokesman Al Larkin and my unofficial queries to others at the paper. I'll let you know if that changes. The website page at that lists the Metro columnist schedules hasn't changed either - still listing McNamara as Sunday/Wednesday, Walker Monday/Thursday, McGrory Tuesday/Friday.

Odd, very odd.

UPDATE: So it turns out part of the mystery wasn’t really a mystery at all – just an undersold announcement. Thanks to a reader, I’ve now seen the italicized note at the end of Brian McGrory’s Sunday column that I clearly missed on Sunday: “Brian McGrory's column will appear on Wednesday and Sunday.” I stand corrected.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A Signal from the Globe?

From the update department, as usual, readers of Guarino-Blog are paying more attention than Guarino.

"Jason" wrote this afternoon in a post to my McGrory item from the other day - "did we get our answer in today's paper?"

It took me a second but I realized that the Brian McGrory column I'd read not 20 minutes before had, indeed, been in the Sunday paper. McGrory writes on Tuesdays and Fridays - or, at least he did.

So does this answer part of the question, anyway? Is McGrory the new marquee writer, scoring McNamara's treasured Sunday Metro column? The Globe officially hasn't said anything that I've seen and the city's media critics haven't posted anything on their blogs. I'll ask around.

Guess in hindsight, we should have picked this up a day earlier when McNamara wrote (perhaps her Swan Song?) on Saturday - which is usually a day without a Metro column.

Of course, all this could mean nothing. McGrory might have just had an extra column sitting around and offered it up.

Could be I'm the only one in town who cares about these tea leaves. But I don't know why - this is the marquee journalism job in the city and, for my money, the biggest single soap box now available in New England.

We'll be watching. Stay tuned...