Who’s naked now?

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m thinking I should be doing our taxes. It’s a perfect do-the-taxes day — not lovely enough that I should be outside, cold enough that inside chores are called for, and taxes are the ultimate inside chore. And yet, I’m not doing the taxes. I did organize the tax-document box, which is considerably easier now that I’m no longer freelancing. So yay me.

Instead, I’m thinking about naked Lena Dunham.

I’ve become a reluctant fan of “Girls,” the HBO series about 20something New Yorkers learning about life and love, at least that tiny slice of life and love as its experienced in hipster Brooklyn. All four of the titular cast members are the privileged daughters of wealthy artists and/or media figures, although I’m not sure you can call the former drummer for Bad Company, father of cast member Jemima Kirke, an artist. But what the hell, let’s go along with it.

Because these girls (the actors) were born into money and fabulousness and now have achieved the next level of money and fabulousness with cable-TV success, and because the show is a pretty accurate reflection of a certain sort of demographic (theirs), only they’re pretending to be poor and salad days-y, it can be a challenge to watch, much as it may have bugged the servants to watch Marie Antoinette pretend to be a peasant at Versailles. Everyone is hyperarticulate and crazy and impulsive and does stupid self-sabotaging shit, and it took me a long time to admit that what’s discomfiting about it is, it’s true.

And Dunham is naked in this thing. A LOT. The sex scenes are excruciating, in the way that watching actual sex is discomfiting and movie sex isn’t. The clothes come off with considerable trouble,
one party frequently looks to be having a terrible time, and Dunham cares not a whit that she’s overweight, pear-shaped, small-breasted and pretty much the polar opposite of what we consider suitable for public nudity. This is a little weird at first, but you get used to it, much as you got used to the idea that three of the “Sex and the City” quartet routinely had sex with their bras on.

She’s naked so often, in fact, that it borders on gratuitous, and that’s a word I don’t use lightly. Last week, the show petered out on Dunham’s character lounging in her tub, singing “Wonderwall” to herself, when Kirke’s character shows up. These girls love to bathe together, and it’s pretty clear Kirke is going to climb in, but not before Dunham rises to her knees, so we can get a shot of her breasts again. Alan, who likes boobs as much as the next guy, actually said, “Noooooo!”

Dunham’s wardrobe is also terrible. I’d love to see T-Lo take it on — beyond the red-carpet stuff they’ve already done, that is.

More on naked Lena.

Hope y’all had a good weekend, and if you were snowed upon, that it was pretty and not too awful. Some bloggage:

Tonight is the Grammy awards. I’ve always hated the Grammies, for reasons explained here. A sample:

1989’s Record and Song of the Year went to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” a T-shirt slogan of a song that has aged as well as a beer koozie that says, “Is that your final answer?” It beat Anita Baker’s “Giving You The Best That I Got,” Steve Winwood’s “Roll With It, ” Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror.”

The Michigan GOP gets on Wayne LaPierre’s train. I’m totally sure an armed, 110-pound female teacher will somehow never be surprised and disarmed by, say, a 220-pound high school linebacker who needs a weapon, quick.

Another homeowners’ association horror story, featuring two equally loathsome parties bent on mutual assured destruction. Enjoy, Jeff!

And let’s all have a good week.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Popculch, Television |

102 responses to “Who’s naked now?”

  1. Dexter said on February 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

    HBO’s “Girls” is just too painful to watch…that pear-shaped tattooed girl is just a pain in the ass…I gave up on that series already. Now Showtime’s “Shameless” last night was just a total fuck-fest, and there really is no better term to call it. And some of the characters were really getting their freak on. Sorry, I am done…I don’t understand the SPOILER ALERT! bullshit, but I respect peoples’ wishes.

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  2. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 4:13 am

    We don’t have our TV hooked up to do anything but watch DVDs but when we were at the hotel in NY last weekend I watched Girls and I have to say I liked it. I found Lena Dunham refreshing and interesting. The story was a bit puzzling, but I liked the characters. I may watch it in Santa Fe where the TV is hooked up to cable including HBO.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Right now, we can’t even agree on the date for the mandatory annual meeting, let alone dues for the 2013 assessment. Our latest meeting previous record was St. Patrick’s Day, and we might just beat that this time. To paint the ornamental, non-functional white fence along the main road, or not, and whose fault is it that it didn’t last more than three years (I believe the answer to that one begins in G- and ends in -od, not the painter or the mowers, it’s just been a few good years for mold & mildew).

    I’d quit if I didn’t fear most of the likely replacements for my miserable self. This is a motivation that apparently doesn’t move Joseph Ratzinger. Vale, Pontifex. Long live the pontifex.

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  4. Linda said on February 11, 2013 at 7:04 am

    The younger generation is comfy with the idea that a lot of people are going to see them naked. Indeed, people carry naked pics of themselves around on their phones to give away. WTF. Only SO’s, docs, and masseuses need to see me nekkid. As for a non-attractive young woman being publicly naked, that’s life. As annoying as her nakedness might be, I think it’s a reaction to the common idea that females have to meet a certain criteria of “wood producing worthiness” to get permission to display their bodies in public. And it’s annoying that the people who think it’s their job to loudly bestow that permission are not necessarily the most palatable members of their own gender, either.

    As for you, Jeff, I feel for you. My brother is the president of a co-op with a lot of finger-pointers and fascists, and I think that he would quit, except for the same reason that you won’t. It all makes me happy that I live in a separate, stick-built house.

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  5. Suzanne said on February 11, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I didn’t even watch the Grammy Awards. I mean, it interfered with Downton and I figured I wouldn’t know who 75% of the people were anyway.

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  6. coozledad said on February 11, 2013 at 7:41 am

    George Bush is another legacy hire who can’t keep his shirt on- but once you’re through the anal stage of painting puppies and horsies you’ve got to move to more serious subject matter.

    In these paintings, Kristol the Younger sees Degas, and we instantly understand that Kristol has been drinking wood alcohol. Clearly Bush is more of a Käthe Kollwitz who has had the misfortune of having an iron bar stuck through her amygdalae in a horrific industrial accident.

    George Bush’s nod to German expressionism arrives in the form of George Bush trying vainly to soak the blood off his hands, wrists and arms while looking in a spatially dislocated mirror. We can’t see the mouth of his circumscribed self-portrait, as it mumbles “Dead or alive?… dead or alive?” but we can see it is pitiless and self absorbed, a leering demiurge.

    Then there’s the funeral bath, an inverted DeKooning’s Woman on a Bicycle, the misshapen legs burrowing off into the picture plane to rest against the lip of a crypt/tub which is filled with translucent blue cake frosting- perhaps a reference to an eternal return, or the poisonous reckoning of Saṃsāra.

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  7. James said on February 11, 2013 at 7:49 am

    … And, of course, there’s that whole Pope resigning thing.

    My first thought? Was he caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl?

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  8. beb said on February 11, 2013 at 8:10 am

    At least this weekend’s “undies run” was for a good cause — hypothermia!

    I think James nailed it on why the pope is retiring.

    I’ve been mercifully free of the ravages of HBO so I don’t know a thing about “Girls” or Lena Dunham. I wonder if Dunham runs around naked so much to make up for the fact that she’s otherwise UnFabulous?

    I saw the article about the home owner’s association on Eschaton just before coming over here. Atrois linked to the story and wondered by conservatives are OK with HOA’s when they seem to tyrannical.

    Atrois, under his real name of Duncan Black, wrote an op-ed for USAToday arguing that so few people have survived the Great Recession with their saving intact that we should immediately raise Social Security pay-out by 20%. Specifically, the original plan for SS was that people would live on a combination of pensions, savings and social security, but pensions are rapidly disappearing and savings have been destroyed by the market collapse and flattened wages. So all most people will have is social security which is barely enough to survive on ($1200 a month).

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  9. alex said on February 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Speaking of nutty HOAs, the one in my parents’ neighborhood seems to be cracking up right now. There was a homeowner who made an offer of $7K to the association to buy a small piece of landlocked association property adjoining his own that is never going to be developed and doesn’t serve any good purpose otherwise. He probably should have just left things be and he could have enjoyed it all to himself anyhow. Instead, he got a bunch of busybodies’ tits in a knot.

    A majority favored the sale when it came to a vote, and a contingent of angries went home pissed. The next day, the HOA president received a letter from an attorney stating that he represents an anonymous client who is willing to pay the association $25K not to sell the land and to write into the HOA bylaws that it can never be sold. (Legally, you can only put a finite restriction on it and not a permanent one.) Those who voted for the sale wanted the sale to go through for $7K. So they consulted my dad, who’s an attorney, who told them that if they turn down the $25K it would be a dereliction of their duty to act in the association’s best interests and the anonymous party could sue the association.

    So we’re waiting to see whether someone really coughs up the cash or if this is just some sort of delaying tactic. Either way, it seems silly to try to prevent someone from purchasing a sliver of land that’s worthless to anyone but him and puts cash in the association’s coffers. If they could get cash for every useless odd parcel they own they’d be rolling in some big dough and should be happy when someone’s actually interested in any of it.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I’ve come to truly despise the phrase “breach of fiduciary responsibility” almost as much as “to protect our property values.”

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  11. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Coozledad, I thought those W paintings were ridiculously bad but Maureen Dowd raved about them being fabulous. Does she not have a clue?

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  12. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I thought the current Pope was the worst one in my lifetime, just like W was the worst president in my lifetime.

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  13. Peter said on February 11, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Well, Joe the Rat surprised me. I thought he’d high tail it to the Grotto with a cyanide pill, a loaded Luger, and Sister Mary Eva Braun before he’d resign. Although that could still happen…

    I think W’s paintings are good in a they’re so bad they’re good kind of way. Although Cooz I would compare him more to Henry Darger than Kathe Kollewicz.

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  14. coozledad said on February 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Deborah: Maureen Dowd gets paid to suck ass, and that’s all she knows. She wouldn’t know a work of art unless it figured prominently in some pop culture dreck that she could shoehorn into a piece to try and appear relevant.
    There’ll be a lot of hos trying to dump the water out of Bush’s infantile paintin’ dory. Just a milder repeat of the throatjob they gave him leading up to the Iraq War.

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  15. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Shrub’s paintings: I thought Incurious George was practicing his Karla Faye Tucker mockery voice in the mirror in the shower. The Kennebunkport Church painting? W goes full Kincade. The bizarre part, for me, was that he was sending those bathing pictures to his sister. Creepy.

    Last night’s installment of Downton was the best ever:


    Cousin Isobel got in some great lines on the Dowager, and who’s the strumpet? Edith’s green and white outfit was excellent in the scene in which she learned the improbable story of her own Mr. Rochester.

    I think the original intentions of HOAs had to do with enforcing codicils against selling property to black and Jewish people, so surprise, surprise. I recently got shit from my HOA for displaying a Special Olympics decal and a Sierra Club decal in a window. Funny, nowhere in the rules is this precluded, and lots of people have those phony-ass Sheriffs’ Association stickers, which indicate chiefly you’ve allowed yourself to be blackmailed by a phone call from alleged law enforcement.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I don’t get HBO and so have never seen “Girls,” but I have to give this Lena Dunham credit for a sense of humor about all the piling on. After Howard Stern sneered something about how the show was all about little fat chicks getting it going on, or something like that, Dunham showed up on Letterman a few nights later and laughed about it: “I want that on my tombstone. ‘She was a little fat chick and she got it going on.'”

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  17. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Excellent Oliver Sacks essay on memory, plagiarism, torture.

    I always thought Howard Stern (separated at birth from Slash, proof that Cousin Itt had sex at least once) commenting on another’s unattractiveness was the height of self-delusional hilarity. Does that guy own a mirror?

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  18. brian stouder said on February 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

    All I know is, you gotta love Nancy’s “titular” pun!

    Totally aside from that, I caught one detail from the ongoing mindless action-movie/real-life crazy-man cop story from Los Angeles, that stopped me in my tracks (so to speak) and which we should probably be hearing more about. At one point a few days ago, LAPD officers spotted a red pickup truck that they thought was their guy, and opened up on it – riddled it with bullets – and the occupants were not hurt (somehow) – and were not criminals.

    In the movie they’ll surely make about this ongoing crisis, the question will be: what pithy little throw-away line will they give the b-list actor who plays that police officer, when he discovers his error?

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  19. Charlotte said on February 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Sigh. Lena Dunham — I watched about half the first season, and they just annoyed me, all of them. Then there was this profile of her mother, Laurie Simmons in the New Yorker (sorry, paywalled, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/12/10/121210fa_fact_tomkins) who seems to be one of those artists whose primary impulse is to get attention, not to make something truly artistic. (Of course, believing that there is an art that’s “truly artistic” was my albatross in graduate school … so maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part.) But overall, I find Lena Dunham’s awkwardness part of an cheap attention-grabbing strategy that I find tedious.

    So if the pope resigns, can he be prosecuted for running an international pedophila ring? Who would do it? The UN? I mean, no one will, but in a perfect world, who would have the jurisdiction? My hunch on the resignation is that he was supposed to be a transitional pope — there was someone more liberal who almost won the last time, and electing Ratzinger was a compromise that was supposed to shore up the repressive wing of the church — no one thought he’d live this long. So my hunch is that the repressive wing has enough votes to assure they don’t turn back the tide to Vatican II, while perhaps having a candidate who is more charismatic than Ratzinger (who isn’t?) and who they believe can distract everyone from the ongoing revelations of pedophile priests. Hence, he can step down and still achieve his overall goal, which was to kill Vatican II. I hate this pope with an unhealthy passion, but have no hope there’s anyone better left in the pipeline.

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 10:51 am

    brian stouder: Are you sure? IIRC, it was a blue truck, and the occupants—a mother and daughter delivering newspapers—were shot, although not fatally. Unless you’re referring to another incident. In which case, God help LA’s residents until this guy is caught.

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  21. BigHank53 said on February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Prospero, Howard Stern has a great deal of money. That’s good-looking enough to a lot of people. I hear a fat wallet can do a great deal to enhance any other male shortcomings as well. Case in point: Donald Trump.

    I haven’t seen enough of “Girls” to comment on its artistic merits in one direction or the other. I still have clear enough memories of my twenties that I’m more likely to view ’em as “embarrassment” rather than “entertainment”, but the check I’m not writing to HBO every months entitles me to say exactly diddly-squat about what they produce and broadcast. I don’t find Lena Dunham attractive, either, and once again that doesn’t anything about Lena Dunham: it says something about me.* More power to her for having an artistic vision and pursuing it. Nepotism may have gotten her foot in the door, but HBO lives and dies by the bottom line. If Dunham can’t back up novelty with talent she’ll be gone faster than Cop Rock.

    *Is there anything more tediously privileged than men, anonymized by the net or newsprint, commenting on the appearance of women they will (a) never meet and (b) never have any kind of chance with even if they do? That petulant whine of “Why isn’t there more boner candy here?”….they might as well take out a marker and write ASSHOLE on their foreheads.

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  22. coozledad said on February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Apparently there’s a power struggle between Ratzi and the Italian cardinals. They want an Italian Pope. Someone’s already suggested Berlusconi, because at least the sex would be with adults.
    The question is, who gets to paint the ceiling of the Bunga-bunga room- fresco restoration grandma?

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  23. brian stouder said on February 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Bitter, I’d a’ swore the report I saw showed a red truck, but Uncle Google showed me this:


    TWO shot up trucks – and neither one was red….

    Ay yi yi

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  24. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Someone’s already suggested Berlusconi, because at least the sex would be with adults.

    Most of the time.

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  25. LAMary said on February 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Guido Sarducci’s time has come and I’m looking forward to it.

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  26. Heather said on February 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Maybe it’s time for the Vatican to get on board with 21st-century corporate practices and outsource the job. Or at least get a contractor they can fire easily. And they won’t have to offer benefits!

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  27. Catherine said on February 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Yes, LA is a weird place to live right now (more so that usual).

    Law enforcement found Dorner’s pickup on fire on a USFS road in Big Bear. When they towed the truck and examined it, they found a broken axle. They then made the assumption that the axle broke, car caught on fire, suspect escaped on foot. They spent the weekend searching Big Bear and came up completely empty. Now they’re re-examining the axle because possibly it was broken by the tow truck.

    I know Big Bear quite well. Media/law enforcement keep saying, “there are only two roads in or out of there,” meaning, “he must be here somewhere.” Hubby and I counted in our heads, in two minutes over breakfast, at least six routes, if you have 4WD or, more to the point, a motorcycle. It would be challenging in the winter but far from impossible. There are many mostly-empty cabins up there from which he could steal a motorcycle that wouldn’t be missed for weeks. They’re searching the cabins for *him* but not necessarily looking for garage break-ins.

    So my theory is, he set the fire as a diversion, took what he could carry, stole a motorcyle, and is someplace much warmer with fewer surveillance cameras, e.g., Barstow or rural Nevada.

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Guido Sarducci’s time has come and I’m looking forward to it.

    Oh ugh. Those Guido Sarducci skits were among the most tiresome that SNL has ever done, and they just seemed to go on and on forever. Was that guy ever funny?

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  29. Danny said on February 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Guido Sarducci’s time has come and I’m looking forward to it.

    Thread winner!!!!

    Bitter, Really?!? Loved that guy.

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  30. Danny said on February 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Didn’t Father Guido write a book, “Frosty the Snow: The Early Years”?

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  31. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Dorner in Big Bear is starting to sound like Eric Rudolph in the Smokies.

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Bitter, Really?!? Loved that guy.

    I dunno…maybe you have to be Catholic to think “Find-a da Popes inna da pizza” was funny. All I know is, whenever he came on “Weekend Update,” it was time for a bathroom break.

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  33. Sherri said on February 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I thought JPII had packed the College of Cardinals with enough conservatives to ensure that no liberal Pope would ever be elected again. Didn’t he increase the number of Cardinals by some large number?

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  34. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I am mildly freaked out because my 21-year-old niece is becoming a conservative Catholic. (She was raised in a Methodist Church.) She doesn’t live near me, so I haven’t had a chance to ask her what appeals to her about the idea, but her rapturous posts on Facebook scare me. They suggest that she believes God’s love is revealed by, among other things, the provision of a really nice boyfriend and good scores on chemistry tests. This morning, she posted an article indicating that she supports efforts in the state legislature to add a fetal personhood amendment to the state constitution. Of course, it’s her life, but, to me, her choices reflect an odd combination of insecurity about where she fits in the world and a sense of the righteousness of her course. I’m very curious to see whether she’ll stick with this as her life unfolds.

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    • nancy said on February 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Few life events are as comforting as the adoption of a very strict religion. It answers the question everyone has: “What should I do?”

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  35. brian stouder said on February 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Hah! Mary got me laughing with that one – although on reflection, I see what Bitter means.

    He wasn’t particularly funny, but then again, much of that show was that way…hence I fell away from it years ago (maybe that’s Sarducci’s clever RC church joke, eh?)

    The Catholic priest on Everybody Loves Raymond was often Charles Durning, and always funny (I thought)

    As far as that goes, the best part of SNL was always Weekend Update, and Jon Stewart (et al) have that covered, nowadays

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  36. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I thought the L’Oservatore Romana interview of Lazlo Toth by Fr. Sarducci was pretty funny.

    Fr. Sarducci: Lazlo Tothe. You smashed the Pieta, a beloved sculpture, with a hammer. How could you do such a thing?

    Lazlo Toth: Eh. It’s a job.

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  37. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Few life events are as comforting as the adoption of a very strict religion.

    Maybe at the beginning. Once the novelty wears off and the fine print starts to kick in, I’m guessing the comfort level drops quickly.

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  38. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Few life events are as comforting as the adoption of a very strict religion. It answers the question everyone has: “What should I do?”

    Exactly, and I think she has had some trouble answering that question that I don’t think her parents understand very well. What I want, of course, is for her to embrace uncertainty–to travel, to try things, to learn about the varieties of life rather than settling so early on such a rigid set of beliefs and practices. But I’m not in much of a position to suggest or support alternatives, so I find myself biting my tongue a lot.

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  39. brian stouder said on February 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    embrace uncertainty

    I think that sums up the meaning of life as well as anything I’ve ever read

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  40. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Once the novelty wears off and the fine print starts to kick in, I’m guessing the comfort level drops quickly.

    Yes, I’m curious, for instance, about whether her Catholicism and right-to-life views include rejection of contraception. Of course, I know that’s not the case for most Catholics, but I wonder if her status as a convert will make her likely to rely on the teachings of the church. If so, life could get complicated for her very quickly. I’m sure she expects to marry (She’s got that really nice boyfriend!) and would be surprised if she doesn’t do so at a fairly early age, but she also plans a career. Hard to manage that if you’re having a baby every year.

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  41. Jeff Borden said on February 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    As usual, Nancy cuts through it with a simple yet elegant truth. There are quite a few of us who want roadmaps and GPSs to guide us through this crazy world and are more than happy to accept those given out by religion or identity politics. I think that is one reason why polls often show conservatives are happier than liberals: They are absolutely certain of their rectitude while many liberals are always weighing things.

    Clearly, I am the resident boor on this site. I watched neither “Girls” or “Downtown” in favor of “The Walking Dead.”

    My wife loathes the series and I can understand why: the show does engage in ridiculous amounts of gratuitous grue and gore. For me the series is less about zombies than what happens to otherwise decent people when civilization collapses. Last night, the original group took in four other humans who stumbled about their hideout in an abandoned prison. Two of the newcomers talked of overcoming the woman and young boy on guard duty, stealing their weapons and heading out, arguing it was now “survival of the fittest.” But the leader of the foursome appealed to their humanity, pointed out how they had been welcomed and cared for by the group and that it was plain wrong to take such an action.

    Like “Breaking Bad,” it’s the moral choices made and not made that supply the drama, not zombies or DEA investigations.

    Pope Benedict? Ugh. Maybe the next guy will be better.

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  42. Dexter said on February 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    The last pope to resign was in 1415 and it was because of the benevolence of Gregory XII who appeased the situation of a church civil war in which two popes were fighting it out for the papal throne.

    Cooz has it: I too am convinced the next pope will be Italian, and he will be young, meaning under sixty, and he will be pope when I am dead, so this is my last pope. I hope Obama isn’t my last president, but the next pope will be my last.
    This is what old men think about! 🙂

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  43. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I tried watching “The Walking Dead” and was completely baffled by it. Isn’t it supposed to be about zombies? The episodes I watched were all about a bunch of urban hipsters and a bunch of rednecks trying to kill each other for no apparent reason, with an occasional zombie lurching out of the background for a few seconds. I guess it’s one of those things you have to watch from the beginning.

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  44. beb said on February 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Leaving Lena Dunham in the tub (or was it down the drain), Rex Reed, who is apparently still alive and criticizing, compared the female star of “Identity Theft” to a tractor, a rhino and I suppose some other less attractive objects. He is getting dumped on roundly.

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  45. Little Bird said on February 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I must say, I am not a fan of Girls. Something about it rubs me the wrong way. And I’d be just as put off by it off all the characters were stunningly beautiful. It seems like a bunch of whiny white girls with seriously first world problems.

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  46. coozledad said on February 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    The next Pope gets to watch this hit the fan, along with the childfucking.

    I guess the good news is the new Pope is unlikely to be one of the original brownshirts. Maybe a blackshirt.

    Imagine the gallons of shit in northern Italians’ drawers if some guy from Naples or Palermo squeaks in.

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  47. LAMary said on February 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Maybe I like Guido Sarducci because it was a period in my life when I was around a lot of Italians and the gradient sunglasses, the man purse, and the cigarette were dead on.

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  48. MarkH said on February 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Actually, Rex said she was a hippo, beb. No matter. He was edgy(?) at one time, but his shelf life was up in, oh, say 1979?

    I’m with Bitter. Sarducci was mildly funny and unique the first few times out, but then became like Franken & Davis early on. Bathroom time. imho.

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  49. Icarus said on February 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I wasn’t Catholic in the heyday of Guido Sarducci so I didn’t get many of his jokes. When I converted in 2000, the “message” I got was “we are trying to get along with everyone” not “birth control is bad, bad, bad”. Now I’m afraid I’m the stereo-typical lapse/cafeteria catholic.

    I wrote on Change of Subject: Okay so will the next pope be 1) black, 2) gay 3) a woman or 4) all of the above?

    Trick question unless they don’t name one until April 1 when The Onion will have a field day

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  50. Peter said on February 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Too bad the Vatican cafeteria doesn’t have me doing their menu because the daily special would have to be “ex” Benedict.

    I have to agree with MarkH and Bitter – Guido was less hit than miss. He was in the same mold as Al Franken, Buck Henry, and Tim Kuzurinsky – I wanted to like them, but it just didn’t happen.

    But his sister did OK for herself.

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  51. LAMary said on February 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Fun fact. Don Novello, who played Guido Sarducci, was the brother in law of Antonia Novello, surgeon general under Bush the first. She was pro-life.

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  52. paddyo' said on February 11, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Speaking of HBO and of popes, if HBO viewers haven’t yet seen the new documentary (I think it debuted last week) on the priest pedophilia scandal, please do. Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God is most excellent — in a sad and infuriating way. The despicable and unspeakable horrors visited upon kids in a Milwaukee home/school for deaf kids are center stage, but the doc covers the broader spectrum. This includes fingering Joey the Rat in his pre-papal days as a prime facilitator of the cover-up — not “new” news, exactly, but set in better context.

    I’ll haul out my ex-seminarian’s broken Latin and, with an assist from Google Translate, say: “Vale et remissio!” to this ghoulish pope. “Goodbye and good riddance!”

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  53. Charlotte said on February 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I just want to note that they found the cutest infant every to play baby Sybil on Downton. Although the Thomas storyline was ridiculous … and thank god Bates is out of jail. Most Boring Storyline Ever.

    My closest girl cousin age-wise has become a very right-wing Catholic in her middle age. It’s very odd, but she’s always been a depressive, and struggled with both drugs and eating disorders, then a bad bout of cancer, so I figure I can listen to a little cant about the Virgin Mary if it helps her keep her head above water. She and her husband also spend a lot of time volunteering in shelters, so that’s a good thing too I guess. Funny thing is how she disapproves of her aunt, one of my favorite relatives, who is a very liberal nun now in her early 80s.

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  54. LAMary said on February 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I prefer Joseph “Joey Rats” Ratzinger to Joey the Rat. It’s like Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo, one of my favorite mafia names.

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  55. paddyo' said on February 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    LAMary, mob enforcer Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro was always my favorite Mafia name. It came up a lot in the newsroom of the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal, my first paper(s) back in the mid-1970s, as our lone investigative reporter was pursuing mob stuff down in Vegas.

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  56. Suzanne said on February 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I try very hard to embrace uncertainty, but that slippery little bugger keeps escaping my grasp.

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  57. MarkH said on February 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    paddyo’ — famously played, of course, by Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro in 1995’s ‘Casino’.

    “Be NICE…!”

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  58. DellaDash said on February 11, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    “…he was universal and Catholic in his tastes…”

    From ‘Telegraph Avenue’ by Michael Chabon (paraphrased because I’m listening to the audiobook, narrated in basso profundo by the inimitable Clarke Peters of ‘The Wire’ and ‘Treme’)

    What are Catholic tastes? In context, this is a description of a character’s food preferences, which I’m guessing are supposed to be eclectic. If so, what makes that Catholic? Oh…could it be that Catholicism is practiced by such a globally diverse demographic?

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  59. DellaDash said on February 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Whoops…italic spill

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  60. Charlotte said on February 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Should be small-c catholic, synonym for universal — not capital C Catholic, which is specific to the religion. Bad Chabon!

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  61. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Catholic has another meaning beside being the name of the church. From dictionary.com:

    1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
    2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
    3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.

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    • nancy said on February 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      It still should be lower-case.

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  62. alex said on February 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I always liked Don Novello, and remember having belly laughs over his book The Laszlo Letters, which was a “Borat”-style effort to punk celebrities (but in the 1970s and via snail mail).

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  63. DellaDash said on February 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    The capital ‘C’ is my bad…(I’m listening rather than reading text). However, bad Chabon for being redundant, according to the definitions above. Calling something universal AND catholic, though, probably has more to do with Chabon’s riffing style rather than brevity.

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  64. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    It still should be lower-case.

    Yes, agree. But Della was listening to this book, not reading it. It might very well have been lower case.

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  65. LAMary said on February 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Speaking of mafia names:


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  66. Peter said on February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    What I don’t get is why Joey Rats (you’re right LA Mary, that’s a much better mob name) is quitting at the end of the month but they don’t pick the new capo until mid March if they’re lucky. Hilary stayed on while they went out and got someone; why can’t he? OK, maybe it’s awkward at the awards ceremony when they take the hat off of him and put it on the new guy, but shouldn’t Joey show the new guy around, like they do at the White House? I read that Buchanan told Lincoln which well had the good water; maybe Joey walks the new guy around the apartment, gives him some tips – got to jiggle the toilet handle, bad cell phone reception in the dining room…

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  67. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Ted Nugent, well-known pig, has been invited by Texas Rep. Steve Stockman to attend the State of the Union address tomorrow evening. If it annoys you that a man who has threatened the life of the president is being given this opportunity (generally given to people who have done altruistic things for their comunities), you can call Rep. Stockman at 202-225-1555 to tell him so.

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  68. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Whoops! Two m’s in community. So embarrassing.

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  69. paddyo' said on February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Love the imagery, Peter, old pope turning over keys to new pope. Maybe it’s just because they haven’t had a live pope like Joey Rats turning over reins to the new “capope” in nearly 600 years. It’s been so long, they’ve probably just forgotten how . . . Today’s NYT story says the last to resign was Pope Gregory XII, in 1415 — and he did so to mend a schism (probably with competing popes).

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  70. brian stouder said on February 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Jolene, you’re forgiven! Go forth, and mis-spell no more.

    That Nugent nugget you passed along IS annoying. Uncle Rush’s “new” meme is that Obama is only interested in DESTROYING the Republican party, and not in governing or compromise…!!!

    Which means nutters like Nugent now nod in agreement with THAT – after spending 4 years wishing for nothing but the destruction of that president

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  71. Jolene said on February 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Some low-rent humor to end the day.

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  72. Bitter Scribe said on February 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Why isn’t Nugent dead or in jail yet?

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  73. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    A really cool artist I knew in St. Louis, Bob Cassilly, was there when the Pieta was damaged and he pounced on Lazlo Toth, allowing him to be captured. I didn’t know this about Bob until he died recently, tragically, and it was part of his obit.

    And Chabon moved to Santa Fe recently after having lived in San Francisco forever. I am leaving for Santa Fe tomorrow, it’s a bit warmer there than Chicago in February. Not a lot warmer but definitely sunnier.

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  74. Charlotte said on February 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    According to the AFP, lightning striking St. Peters’ on the night the pope resigns: https://twitter.com/AFP/status/301074815287193601/photo/1

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  75. ROGirl said on February 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I love Joey Rats. It reminds me of Joey Pants (his real name is Joe Pantoliano), not a mafioso, but he played one on the Sopranos. He was the one whose head ended up in a bowling bag.

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  76. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I read this twice, and I still don’t get what the BFD is. WSJ expose regarding In Cold Blood. Seems like much ado about next to nothing. Given the source, I wonder whether or not it’s not just mainly some Truman Capote antithesis toward the druggy gay liberal wild child. In what conceivable way would the writer claim this diminishes Capote’s achievement? I thought The Executioner’s Song was a superior book, but In Cold Blood was undeniably riveting.


    There is a very good book called The Pope’s Rhinoceros about papal dirty politics, wars, and various hijinks and peccadilloes in the 16th Century:


    Written b;y Lawrence Norfolk, who also wrote the great Lempriere’s Dictionary.

    Those Grammy dress photos? Beyonce’s dress is nice. Katy Perry’s is nauseating. Adele looks like a parlor sofa. Florence Welch looks like she raided David Bowie’s attic. Taylor Swift looks like she’s playing Athena in a cheesy late 50s Hercules movie. And who in the world is Maria Menounos?

    I read this twice, and I still don’t get what the BFD is. WSJ expose regarding In Cold Blood. Seems like much ado about next to nothing. Given the source, I wonder whether or not it’s not just mainly some Truman Capote antithesis toward the druggy gay liberal wild child. In what conceivable way would the writer claim this diminishes Capote’s achievement? I thought The Executioner’s Song was a superior book, but In Cold Blood was undeniably riveting.

    The Sessions got lost in the crowd this year, but it’s excellent. Filled with generosity of spirit and great acting, and surprisingly loaded with funny lines about a somewhat sad situation. Definitely worth renting.

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  77. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Paddy’o@69: Shouldn’t the new Pope be wearing diapers?

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  78. Scout said on February 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Back to the artistic wizardry of Bush the Lesser; he’s almost as good an artist as he was a president. Possibly he took his inspiration from the likes of this genius:

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  79. Catherine said on February 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Jolene @71, John Mayer HAD to have known he was wearing Willy Wonka’s jacket, right?

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  80. MichaelG said on February 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Prospero @76, I don’t know about the new one but I’m sure the current one is.

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  81. Danny said on February 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I am not a train guy, but I do admire cool looking designs. Here is a pic of what is considered to be the tallest curved wooden rail bridge in the world… and it is practically in my backyard. Guess I ought to look up from my work once in a while.


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  82. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    John Mayer’s sartorial decision probably indicates he’s realized that no adult earth woman is ever buying his bullshit again.

    Shrub’s painting reminds me of his infamous Lump in the Bed poem, as related by his wife:


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  83. alex said on February 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Vintage Hitchens on Ratzi. Bitchy good fun.

    Our Catholic diocese lost a former bishop to cancer last week, one who committed the cardinal sin of whistleblowing about child sexual abuse and was thus taken from Boston and punished with placement in an outpost in the hinterlands. He was a gruff old cuss by most accounts.

    Regarding the Nuge showing up for the SOTU, here’s hoping he gets to have his “you lie” moment and the humiliation of getting the bum’s rush by the Secret Service.

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  84. Danny said on February 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Ted Nugent visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past.


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  85. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    That is one cool looking rail bridge Danny.

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  86. Prospero said on February 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Snagged that trestle picture for my desktop. Very cool.

    Pirate songs by a very rum crew:


    Starting with Tom Waits duetting with Keef, Shane McGowan, Iggy Pop, Mrs. Fred “Sonic” Smith and a whole host o’ ne’er-do-wells.

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  87. basset said on February 11, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Everybody get off the computer and go watch the Westminster Dog Show, it’s just starting. Friend from work is there showing her Scottish deerhound, didn’t make it past breed judging but still an accomplishment just to get in.

    And the Treeing Walker Coonhound is among the new breeds… I had a Walker/blue tick cross and a Walker/beagle cross, both fine hounds. A real dog, none of these little foo-foo dustmop things.

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  88. MarkH said on February 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Danny, great photo of a great piece of history. At first I thought it was the trestle used in the Charles Bronson oater “Breakheart Pass”. But these high-rise trestles do populate the northwest, this one being on the Camas Prairie Railroad just outside Lewiston, Idaho.


    This film is distinctive in that it was the last one where Yakima Canutt was stunt coordinator. Also it features a knock-down drag-out between Bronson and Archie Moore on top of a moving snow-covered rail car, with little, if any, use of stunt doubles.

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  89. MarkH said on February 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Prospero –

    Since you asked yesterday when I pointed out that John Mayer is Charlotte’s neighbor (she has yet to answer whether she runs into him at the Murray), according to CBS, he had a growth on his vocal chords that needed surgery to remove, and a two year recovery period. So, he reclused it to Paradise Valley. Don’t know how it might have affected his fashion sense. I suspect Katy Perry had more to do with that. Here’s the clip if anyone’s interested.


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  90. alex said on February 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    John Mayer’s songs always conjured in my mind for some reason the abusive ex-husband of a female acquaintance. After reading about him, I can see why. Fathers be good to your daughters. Mothers be good to your daughters too. Just what the older generation needs, a sanctimonious lecture from a B-list starfucker whose personal life betrays what little respect he has for women and why he chooses those he is with.

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  91. Charlotte said on February 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Oh yeah, Mayer moved here a year or so ago — bought John Banovich’s house in Pine Creek. I met him briefly at a small fundraiser last summer, and his sound engineer just married Tom McGuane’s daughter (I tutor McGuane’s granddaughter Maisie, who is smarter than the whole lot of them at 14, just love that girl). So yeah, he’s around. Seems nice enough I guess — but his music was never really my cup of tea. Rodney Crowell’s been spending a lot of time here the past few years, and he’s someone I’ve really grown to like — smart, really nice, and a pretty good writer.

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  92. Deborah said on February 11, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I have absolutely no idea who John Mayer is.

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  93. Dave said on February 11, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I knew that John Mayer is a musician but haven’t any idea what he sounds like. Tom McGuane was a vaguely familiar name but I see he was once married to Margot Kidder, who I thought was absolutely beautiful in Superman. Margot, of course, had issues.

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  94. Dexter said on February 12, 2013 at 12:46 am

    John Mayer is a kick-ass guitar player. This would be a good time to check out his shows on YouTube and see for yourself. He’s a major talent.

    I have been watching some of the new Bryan Ferry stuff on YouTube. He assembled an orchestra and re-made a lot of modern tune in 1920’s jazz renditions. It just blows my mind I love it so much. There’s nothing to compare to 1920s horns and piano.

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  95. Dexter said on February 12, 2013 at 1:50 am

    I learned a new phrase tonight: nut graf.
    Man, you journos are wacky! 🙂

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  96. Dexter said on February 12, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Prospero: What hath God wrought?
    “Makers Mark Now Watering Down Its Bourbon

    Makers Mark, known for its bottles sealed with red wax, told customers today that it’s reducing the amount of alcohol in the beverage in order to meet rising global demand. In other words, people love their product so much that they will reward that appreciation by providing a weaker product. Got it.

    Read more at qz.com”

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  97. Deborah said on February 12, 2013 at 3:34 am

    I do know who Tom McGuane is, read The Bushwhacked Piano ages ago.

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  98. Deborah said on February 12, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I had a senior moment yesterday and confused Chabon with Armistead Maupin (???). Maupin is the one who recently moved to Santa Fe. Doh.

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  99. Angela said on February 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Charlotte @ 19 — Thank you for articulating what bugs me about Lena Dunham. (I should note that I haven’t watched the show, but I’ve read some of her writing and some pieces about the show.) I’m only four years older than she is, but I just can’t seem to relate to her schtick *at all.* I guess if she is the voice of a generation, it’s not my generation. And what’s this about bathing together? /old fuddy-duddy rant

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  100. Brandon said on February 13, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Re: the Grammys: Milli Vanilli rule and you know it!D

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