Don’t look too close.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for an 18-year-old movie. If you haven’t seen “The Crying Game” and still would like to, best head for Gawker.

You can only watch “The Crying Game” once. It’s a surprise package (heh heh), and you get one shot at the surprise. Unlike other films with a fourth-quarter twist — “The Sixth Sense,” “The Usual Suspects” — it can’t be enjoyed a second time. I watch the latter two films for a few minutes when I surf past them on cable, just to see if they cheated, even a little bit. So far in my frame-by-frame examination: Don’t think so. “The Sixth Sense,” in particular, was very very clever in how it built to its climax, and you can go back through every significant scene and, nope, didn’t cheat there, nope, not there, etc. “The Usual Suspects” is more of a final-moments joke, but it’s an enjoyable one, and any rewatching includes Pete Postlethwaite, so, y’know, WIN. The only thing I don’t like about Pete Postlethwaite is spelling his name, and the way he says, “I work for Keyser Soze” cancels that out.

But back to “The Crying Game,” which I just can’t enjoy anymore. Loved it the first time, still think it’s a wonderful movie, but once you know the big honkin’ hairy secret, not so much. I keep yelling at the screen: Aren’t you wondering why this girl’s hands are so big? Aren’t her hips just a little too slim? And is she really that beautiful, or just…hello, Stephen Rea! Wake up and smell the coffee!

My pal Lance Mannion, who has a background in theater, says it’s an old stage trick, just a simple bit of conjuring. We know Forrest Whitaker was in love with this girl. Rea falls in love with her picture. Because he loves her, and we identify with him, we love her, too. I’m not the smartest moviegoer in the world, but I didn’t fall off the truck yesterday, and the big reveal totally surprised me. The whole theater gasped. And now the illusion is so well and truly shattered, all I can think on subsequent viewings is that Stephen Rea plays an Irishman who’s been brain-damaged by drinking, or is perhaps half-blind.

Poor me.

I’m talking about movies today because I’m thinking about movies, because this year’s holidays fall on weekends, and I intend to lap a few up, the first with Kate (“True Grit,” “The King’s Speech”) and I hope at least one with Alan (“The FIghter,” maybe “Blue Valentine”). And I’m looking at end-of-year lists, particularly David Edelstein’s Best Performances wrapup, which revealed one I hadn’t even heard of until now — “Mother and Child.” (Where are all these films playing? I live in a big city, and a significant percentage fly straight over my head.) I also enjoyed the 14 most thankless female roles of 2010, as at least one of these was inflicted upon me this year — “The Killer Inside Me,” which you should avoid like a cesspool.

And now I’m off like a prom dress, to do last-minute shopping of this, that and the other thing. I might also take my Mont Blanc pen in for a cleaning and degunking, which they will charge me for. I haven’t paid a repair bill on an Apple computer ever, but this pen is one headache after another. Good thing I do most of my writing on this thing.


Don’t ask don’t tell — repealed.

Census — not surprising. Michigan stands alone as the only state to lose population in the last decade. Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back to your hometown…

Finally, a Christmas movie you couldn’t pay me enough to see: Little Fockers. I wonder what they paid DeNiro for this thing. I hope it was a lot.


Posted at 10:43 am in Movies |

71 responses to “Don’t look too close.”

  1. coozledad said on December 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Uh oh. I’m afraid you’ve ignited another installment of the Mac vs. Mont Blanc debate.

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  2. Deborah said on December 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Nancy, back before the spoon was invented, the graphics department of the architecture firm I worked for then had a contraption to clean our rapidograph pens from the gunk that always clogged in them. It consisted of a container that you poured a solution into and then plugged it in, it vibrated the pen tips to cleanliness. They might still make those, you could use for your Mont Blanc.

    I’ve turned into a big movie curmudgeon, nothing appeals to me that is out currently. Give me the old classics and I’m happy.

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  3. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Say – speaking of Christmas shopping, I have a (purely theoretical) Christmas shopping question, based on this description of Lady GaGa, which accompanied a pretty nice photo of her yesterday (while she was in France*):

    Gaga stepped out in a Victorian-inspired dusky pink dress with an elaborately beaded top as she headed out to dine at Chez Andre. She accessorized with plenty of rings, a heavy pearl necklace, round-framed shades and her signature no-heels heels and wore her hair in an elegant French twist.**

    So, OK, I give up. If I wanted to buy Pam shoes that feature “no-heels heels”, what the hell am I looking for?

    *I see England, I see France; I see Lady GaGa uses double-stick tape, as Mary says!)

    **never mind all that stuff; it was just the wrapper and the ribbons surrounding the Main Attractions

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  4. alex said on December 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Gaga boots.

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  5. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

    brian stouder, the answer to your question is – you do not want to buy Pam no-heels heels.

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  6. Dorothy said on December 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Did you catch DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman on Letterman last Friday? It was trumpeted as Bob’s first appearance on Letterman. Judging by how it looked, it will probably be his last as well. I think he would have preferred to have dental surgery sans the pain killer over having to sit through a visit with Dave again.

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  7. alex said on December 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Not so much “come fuck me” shoes as they are “go fuck yourself” shoes.

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  8. ROgirl said on December 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Remember “M Butterfly?” That was based on a real story, so I guess some people don’t notice big hands, or much of anything else for that matter.

    For those who don’t remember, a French diplomat fell in love with a Chinese actress and they had a “relationship” for many years. Turned out she was a he and a spy.

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  9. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I see Alex and Sue provided the photos and I will second Sue’s advice. If you love your wife do not buy her those hideous shoes. Hideous and looking like some money making scheme dreamed up by a sadistic orthopedist.
    If you want to spring for some pretty shoes that don’t kill your feet. Albeit rather expensive shoes, check out Taryn Rose. Not trendy or extreme, maybe bordering on stodgy, but well made and classic.
    I own one pair I found on sale and I will attest to the quality of the leather and workmanship.

    Ooooh. Look at these too:

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  10. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Alex (et al) – wow! I mean really, wow!

    I was thinking “no heel heels” meant faux heals of some sort, and I was not just wrong but sideways wrong!

    I once read a book (of sorts) by Steve Martin called “Cruel Shoes”, and those things look like the very definition of Cruel Shoes!

    Forget about snow or ice (as we have today); any wet spot on the floor would send Ms Gaga ass-over-tea kettle! (although I bet she has legs of iron after a few weeks of wearing those things)

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  11. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Oh, Gaga, you are buying yourself future foot problems.

    We haven’t been to a movie in months and the DH is feeling the pent-up demand, but there isn’t anything out that I can’t wait for on Netflix. So I will have a choice of being a family-togetherness grinch by staying home or going along and spending too much money for a movie I’m not excited about. Bah humbug, I guess.

    But I’m thrilled about the DADT repeal. Is this going to the courts?

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  12. Carolyn said on December 22, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Mother and Child, thanks for the reminder, Nancy. It might have been the best of the handful of films we saw this year. Jimmy Smits was also shockingly good in it. After seeing Benning in it, The Kids Are All Right was actually a disappointment.

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  13. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Jimmy Smits can be really good if given half a chance. That crap TV show they hustled out this fall with him playing a supreme court justice who resigns and rides a motorcycle and does some sort of man of the people shit. Feh. He’s better than that. He must have needed the money.

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  14. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Dorothy, what was going on there? Is DeNiro like that on all talk shows or does he have some weird history with Dave? I saw it while I was flipping channels and watched for awhile, couldn’t figure it out.

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  15. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Oh deer.

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  16. paddyo' said on December 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Speaking of Xmas shopping (Brian S. @ 3), take 2:
    A contributor over at HuffPo, in an otherwise-rambling column about bad celebrity Christmas songs, lifted the following quote from an unrelated 2007 NYT story:

    “According to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, an average shop assistant hears ‘Jingle Bells’ 300 times in the few days before Christmas — enough to go mad.”

    As the son of a Woolworth’s store manager, I can attest to this. In college, when I cashiered at the other Woolworth’s store in town over a couple of Xmases, the Muzak-y carols were the Yuletide equivalent of waterboarding the ears, and the brain.

    And speaking of DeNiro (Dorothy @ 6), when he hosted SNL a few weeks ago, I was struck by his uncomfortable, wooden and forced effort. If you think about it, he was utterly out of his element. For decades, a great actor (“Fockers” excepted) on the screen, but live on TV? Fuhgeddabouddit . . .

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  17. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

    LAMary, don’t you think Prancer could use some no-heel heels?

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  18. coozledad said on December 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

    LA Mary: Prelude to the afternoon of a dork.

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  19. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Exactly, Julie.

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  20. coozledad said on December 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I din’t watch it all the way through. Does he do a Nijinsky on someone’s scarf at the end?

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  21. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Those no-heel heels DO look distinctly hoof-like

    btw Mary, I liked that footware.

    I suppose the smart play here is to give her the website, and let her make the call. (but luckily, I almost never make the smart play!)

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  22. Peter said on December 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Deborah, I don’t know if they still make those things to clean your Rapidograph (TM) pens, but it’s the same contraption people use to clean dentures, so maybe CVS has one laying around.

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  23. Chris in Iowa said on December 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Off like a prom dress … a colorful expression, but nothing near the truth, based on my own sad experience: Three proms, three dates and three dresses that I had no role in helping remove.

    And this was long enough ago that one of the dresses had a hoop skirt (at least that’s what I think it would have been called) that was so big my date barely fit into my car. These were not the skimpy dresses I’ve seen girls wear to prom in recent years. In my teen dreams, girls didn’t wear dresses like that.

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  24. Connie said on December 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

    My husband and daughter are so anxious to see True Grit that I expect them to be standing in the drive with their coats on ready to go when I get home from work. I am looking forward to The King’s Speech.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Julie (from #11) — I’m not hearing much of anything other than sotto-voce grumbling in the conservosphere on DADT repeal. The grown-ups, such as they are on our side, are saying “this was going to be done by court decision if it’s not legislated, and a court order to DO IT NOW is much more disruptive to the troops than a legislative timetable which the Pentagon gang will follow and roll out, step by step, saluting all the way.” Conservatives are, in general, saluting and moving on. I don’t expect any major court fight, but there might be some group that takes a flier and it should be quickly slapped down.

    I loved the comment I read somewhere about two Marines on gear maintenance in Afghanistan having this hypothetical conversation:

    “Hey, did you see the hot dvd going around with that chick from Transformers?”

    “Actually, I just passed it along, I’m more into guys.”

    “No shit? Didn’t know that. Hey, pass me the crescent wrench, wouldja?”

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  26. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    MMJeff, I’m just wondering if I’m being disrespectful now when I laugh at certain Monty Python videos.
    No, really, I’m actually wondering that.

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  27. Little Bird said on December 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Back when I worked in a grocery store, the day after Thanksgiving the Christmas music went on. I heard at least three different versions of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” roughly eight times a day. By the time Christmas arrived, everyone in the store was ready to kill the manager, who refused to play anything else. Even the customers were sympathetic.
    I will have to try to work on Deborah, because I want to see “The Kings Speech” too, and it’s more fun to go with someone.

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  28. Deborah said on December 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Just looked at CNN on-line and saw that the story about the fire fighters here in Chicago that were trapped in a collapsed building this morning has made national news. My bus ride to work through the Northwestern Hospital area was slow because they stopped traffic along Lake Shore Drive as they escorted the ambulances to emergency there. I figured it was related to a fallen officer or something, given all of the cop cars swarming the area. I popped out my iPhone and found out instantaneously what was going on. What did we do before iPhones?

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  29. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    For me you can’t beat Mitch Miller and the Gang singing “Must Be Santa.” It’s the most annoying recording of an annoying Christmas song.

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  30. nancy said on December 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    “Must Be Santa” loses its charm when sung by anyone over the age of 7. Under that, it’s golden and charming. Over? From hunger.

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  31. Deggjr said on December 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I think Bob Dylan did a great job with ‘Must Be Santa’

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  32. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I was just posting the same one. It sounds vaguely Slavic.

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  33. Dexter said on December 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I was just watching the movie on cable, not really trying to concentrate on every nuance, but watching it closely just the same…when HOLY MAMA, look at that!
    I remember thinking I wish I had read a spoiler so I knew it was coming, and like nance, I will NOT watch that excellent movie again.
    I have a decent cable package and I watch a few movies a week, all old ones…I do not watch bootlegs . Last night I watched John Cusack in “2012” I think it was…what a cornball film that is…jeez…the total destruction of the world is always about three feet behind his fast-moving heels.
    Like a lot of folks, I say thank you to TCM…especially since IFC has gone “AMC-ee” on us…commercials, stretching 2-hour films out to THREE hours! Well..fuck you IFC. Cuz I ain’t watching that shit. I got the package for you and you shit on me and film fans like this? Go fuck yourself you bastards.
    But hey…I ain’t bitter…I actually got a plumber to come and fix my damn shower after 4 days of crummy tub soakings…if you can do home-plumbing, and can avoid plumbers, you are blessed, and don’t you forget it. I had to call the guy because I had torn it apart expecting a quick fix and I couldn’t find the replacement parts anywhere, the plumber didn’t even have them…but he knew how to rig up a temp-fix until the parts are ordered.
    I think if I hit the lottery I will just live in a no-maintenance condo…I don’t even like shovelling snow and mowing grass anymore.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Sue — I love “Life of Brian,” if that helps any.

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  35. Joe Kobiela said on December 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Hey Dexter,
    Was that “Joe the plumber!”
    Pilot Joe

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  36. Dorothy said on December 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I videotaped my son’s school concert when he was in Kindergarden or first grade, and they did “Must Be Santa.” It’s a Must-Be-Viewed at my house this time of the year.

    Sue, DeNiro is notorious for being a lousy interview. I don’t know why he bothers, since he seems to be trying to disappear into the chair he’s sitting on, no matter who is doing the interviewing. I’m guessing his publicist insists upon him doing them, but honestly he’s not doing anyone any favors, squirming and refusing to make eye contact just to be polite.

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  37. MichaelG said on December 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    You guys have me all frusteracated because the filters here bar Gawker and have barred whatever site that is with the no heel shoes. They’re filtering more and more stuff all the time.

    The most irritating Christmas song for me is “The Little Drummer Boy”.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Kids under seven are adorable in almost any performance. There’s always one waving or even posing for the parents, one little girl lifting up her dress, one kid fascinated by part of the scenery, and of course, at least one picking their nose.

    Our classic Must-Be-Viewed is a video made from a 16mm film of our daughter at age two playing Mary. She made me read the nativity story everyday and then naturally wanted to act it out. When she was six or seven we played all those old movies on a screen and took a video of them. Since they were silent we encouraged her to narrate. Priceless stuff for us.

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  39. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    And the all-time greatest Christmas music, especially evocative when heard on the radio, when it’s very cold and starry as you travel down the highway to Grandma’s of an evening*, is Silent Night, by any good choir

    *”of an evening” = another good Hoosierism

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  40. Jolene said on December 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    The Hoffman/DeNiro appearance on Letterman was just awful. Letterman didn’t seem to be able to do anything to help the situation, but, to be fair, he was getting much help. Was disappointing in itself, but even more so because Hoffman, on his own, can be a great talk show guest–a great raconteur who can move easily from the most outrageous, bawdy humor to serious big picture points about his work, politics, and the way we deal with each other. Once he said that, while working on Tootsie, he had the experience of really being taken for a woman by unknowing visitors to the set, but essentially ignored because he wasn’t attractive. He said that the experience had made him realize that, by applying his usual appearance-based criteria, he’d probably missed out on knowing lots of interesting women. DeNiro may be capable of producing an insight like that, he certainly doesn’t seem capable of articulating such an idea.

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  41. Catherine said on December 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    4 YOs singing “Up on the Housetops,” complete with dance moves. Absolutely priceless.

    My kids’ rather progressive preschool (that was, interestingly, housed in and subsidized by a Baptist church) did a nativity play as part of their holiday performance every year. The twist was, the kids got to pick their roles in the story. There were frequently several Marys, all fighting over the baby Jesus doll, and one year the Jewish kid decided he just wanted to be a rock. So he was. To this day, I still call them “Wise Rulers,” because, hey, no gender discrimination here.

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  42. ROgirl said on December 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Lady Gaga launches her Armanis. My fave comment is, “I would freaking beat a bitch for those shoes.”

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  43. Dexter said on December 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    You crack me up Joe the Pilot. The one named Joe was on another job so another guy came…then…just ten minutes ago…two more plumbers came back. One of them searched the in-house odd-ball inventory cabinet and yes! The odd parts were found, and they came back and installed everything and now I have a non-dripping-Good Housekeeping quality seal of approval shower again, and the tide has turned, the malaise has lifted, and I am all set for a lovely Christmas in Columbus, because my daughter and her husband’s house is the only one large enough to accommodate us and the Las Vegas branch of the family who have flown in to Metro and are here with us now. It’ll take two vehicles to transport us to Columbus .

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  44. Bill White said on December 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Speaking of movies, have you seen “Pioneer One”? I though of NN and her annual indie film when I heard of it. They’re taking donations for future episodes: – free to download & watch (I’m not one of them – just a new fan). It’s an enjoyable production of an intriguing sci-fi premise.

    I think I read somewhere that they produced the first ep for 6000 bucks.

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  45. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Jolene, I remember reading somewhere that Hoffman made women on the set of Tootsie nervous by asking very personal questions under the pretense of doing research for the role. The gist of it was that he was harassing them. I wonder what the real story is.
    My son played Joseph one year in our Christmas pageant. You know how there’s always that part of the service where Mary and Joseph just sit there while everything’s happening around them? Joseph started feeding hay to the baby Jesus doll and Mary decided to help him. And Joseph was WAY old enough to know better.
    Evil Christmas songs? I choose anything by Mariah Carey. I believe I’ve mentioned here that she gives the words “Christmas Goose” a new meaning. Settle down, girl!
    And, it goes without saying, that Paul McCartney Christmas song.
    And we’ll just ignore the whole “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (novelty) and “The Christmas Shoes” (falsely heartwarming) subsets, ok?

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  46. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Say – leaving aside Lady Gaga’s wardobe, check out the photo at the head of this article

    You don’t have to read the article; you already know what it says; but that photo made me laugh out loud!

    Forget Tootsie; this woman looks very like Carol Burnett with the draperies (and the curtain rod) on.

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  47. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “I saw it in the window and I just had to have it!”

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  48. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm


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  49. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Mary, it could only be blasphemy to dogmatic people.

    Sue – great, great photo!!

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  50. mcegg said on December 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I worked at a gift shop during Christmas break for a couple of seasons while in college (early 80s). My boss loved Barbra Streisand’s Christmas album. When I hear her version of “Jingle Bells”, I must run screaming from the room. Worst version of that song ever recorded.

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  51. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    LAMary, did you take the time to read the comments? “I think Jesus may be a biter”

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  52. LAMary said on December 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I did, Sue. Great comment.

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  53. ROgirl said on December 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Mary, did you see the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry ate the Christmas cookies of the manger scene thinking they were animal crackers?

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  54. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Ok folks, I try to keep myself informed etc. etc., but where did I miss the big turnaround in the senate? Why didn’t I read the story explaining who found the goods on who, who’s got who by the naughty bits, to suddenly make everything start moving? DATD, First Responders, START, and now they’re confirming JUDGES? What’s going on? I’m so confused.

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  55. bobolink said on December 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Re: Dead Chicago Firefighters. When is fire science going to figure out how to curtail the spread of a fire to just let it burn when there isn’t any life at risk. Putting lives at risk to preserve property is crazy. Bob Hoff says the dead guys are heroes. I don’t agree. The abandoned buildings are more of this waiting to happen. Waste of life.

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  56. Jolene said on December 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Lots of explanations, Sue. When both Jon Stewart and Shep Smith of Fox News got their followers fired up re the first responders, it became pretty difficult to say no. Maybe something good came of that, as the bill became substantially less expensive as the haggling went on, yet the proponents seem pretty satisfied.

    On both the treaty and DADT, we owe a lot to Admiral Mullen, who summarily dismissed concerns about national security w/ regard to the treaty and spoke very eloquently on the contradiction between military teachings on integrity and the wink-and-a-nod approach that constituted DADT. From what I know about, the study carried out by DoD gave a lot of ammunition to proponents of appeal. I watched the hearings, and, as I think I’ve said here before was incredibly impressed by the testimony of Gen. Ham and Jeh Johnson, who oversaw that research process. Nice to think that facts can occasionally have an effect. Also, I think Obama was smart not to give in to the people who wanted him to overturn DADT through executive action. Much better to have done it this way.

    Many other players: Kerry and Lugar on the treaty, Lieberman (!) and Collins on DADT, Schumer, Gillibrand and NY House members on first responders. Lieberman also cited effective organizing and lobbying by gay rights organizations.

    On the less seemly side, I think some senators might have changed their views on treaty ratification when persuaded that certain aspects of nuclear modernization might take place in their districts. I’m sure we’ll hear more about who demanded what and who conceded what in the weeks ahead.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I love the dog nativity, but how in the world did they get them all to sit at the same time, in costume? Lots of great comments.

    bobolink, from what I read, the back of the building was open so they thought there might be squatters trapped inside. It’s horrible.

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  58. Jolene said on December 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    . . . how in the world did they get them all to sit at the same time, in costume?

    I wondered that, too, Julie. Those dogs must be better at “stay” than any dog I ever knew.

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  59. Jolene said on December 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Another Christmas entertainment, guaranteed to give you a smile

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  60. ROgirl said on December 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Julie, the picture looks Photoshopped.

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  61. Sue said on December 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Jolene, I liked this version. Thought the ‘unfriending’ of Joseph was thought-provoking.

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  62. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Yea, I thought of Photoshop too, but wanted to believe…

    Our daughter used the Social Network Christmas clip as thought provoker at the start of her sermon Sunday. It got a good response.

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  63. JayZ(the original) said on December 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Best government acronym of the year goes to the CIA’s new Wikileaks Task Force, better known as WTF.

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  64. beb said on December 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Sue@54: The turning point seems to have been passage of the (horrid) tax cut bill, which gave the Republicans every thing they wanted — extension of tax cuts for the richest Americans, huge exemption for inheritance taxs, huge exemption on gifts. An opening wedge to defund social security…. After getting that I think the party leaders retired with whips and let party members vote as they pleased.

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  65. Dexter said on December 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Michael Moore visits Rachel at the 92nd Street YMCA in NYC last night:

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  66. brian stouder said on December 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Dexter, a Maddow mystery for you, or at least – something I cannot figure out: the commericals for her shows with a live audience this week have a voice-over catch phrase that I CanNOT decipher. Even with DVR, I have stopped, backed up, played it again, called in others, played it for them, and still the question persists:

    What is the (male) voice saying? It sounds like he says Rachel is meeting with “America’s thought leaders” – but surely THAT’S not what they’re saying, right? Blog leaders? Top leaders? Hot leaders? Two liters of icey cold Diet Coke?

    I give up!

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  67. Jolene said on December 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    It is “thought leaders”, Brian. In my view, these shows have been disappointing. I had the impression she was going to the 92nd St. Y to host shows on “big issues” that reached across current concerns or specific legislative concerns. On Letterman last week, she said that she was going to deal w/ how the media deal w/ complex topics such as healthcare reform, which I thought would be good, but it seems like it’s just been more of the same in a different place.

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  68. Dexter said on December 23, 2010 at 1:22 am

    My daughters started this last year…they shop second-hand stores and Goodwill for outlandish sweaters that we all don for a holiday goof-photo. I drove the eldest to Goodwill today and she bought some real doozies, and I was looking at the paperbacks and …Eureka!
    “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour, an Introduction” by J.D. Salinger. I have never seen this book for sale in one of these stores, ever.

    Now they will sew stars and do-dads on the sweaters and pretty them up real nice.
    Just great.

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  69. Deborah said on December 23, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I was disappointed in Rachel mon night. I wanted to watch because of the DADT repeal which she had been a big advocate for. And she never said a word about Lieberman or Obama, as if they didn’t have a thing to do with it. I thought that was small of her. And I agree it was more of the same in a different place so I didn’t watch anymore after mon.

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  70. Jolene said on December 23, 2010 at 8:32 am

    She was much more generous on the subsequent nights, Deborah. I don’t remember what she said about Lieberman, but, on Tuesday, she said that DADT repeal was Obama’s victory. Then, and last night too, she went on to laud him for all of the achievements of the past two years. I was somewhat surprised actually, that she was so fulsome in her praise.

    Some of the complainers on the left are still saying that he didn’t lean into DADT repeal in the way that he did to get ratification of the START treaty. There may be some truth to that, but I think he deserves credit for, as I said above somewhere, making sure that this went through Congress in an orderly way and ended up w/ broad support. I believe, as has been the case in other countries, that this change will turn out to be a non-event once it actually takes place, but if it had been imposed through judicial or executive action, there’d likely have been much more opposition in the military and in the country more generally.

    I was surprises to see Lieberman emerge as an advocate, but, who knows, maybe Obama told him he’d support him for re-election if he’d carry the banner on DADT. He was certainly the right person to do that, in that he is from a deep blue state but his hawkishness and willingness to cross the Democratic party may have enabled him to be more effective in winning Republican votes than other repeal advocates.

    He is, in fact, practically the only person who spoke about DADT as a fundamental issue of fairness rather than focusing on the extent to which people’s fears were or weren’t valid.

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  71. Jolene said on December 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Dexter, apparently there’s a trend of “ugly sweater” Christmas parties–in offices, on campuses, and in families. There was a blog post about such a party on the WaPo web site yesterday that included (at the bottom of the article) a link to photos that people had submitted. Maybe you and your family should submit your “goof photo.”

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