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Archives: October 2005

John Hodgman and MB synchronicity

Hodgman.jpgRemember blog synchronicity? The phenomenon that occurs when the same thing comes up on your blog independently, like references to dwarves or The Grateful Dead or twinkies? Today we had MoDo synchronicity, because she was everywhere, dismissing men as unnecessary and Scooter Libby as really unnecessary, but even better, today we have a special treat: MB synchronicity.

MB synchronicty is defined as when the same thing pops up all across our beloved mediabistro, from blog to shining blog to homepage and back. Today, that has happened with John Hodgman, author of “The Areas of My Expertise” and subject of today’s MB feature which explores his famous “Little Gray Books” lectures, his infamous preoccupation with hoboes, and previous career as a literary agent (we’ve never heard of “Hook Man Speaks” but we’re sure he had a whole lot to say. Arrrr, matey!).

Any of this sound familiar? It should, otherwise you’re not reading enough Fishbowl, and that’s very sad. Hodgman and his Little Gray Books were recently the subject of a glowing Fishbowl post, as well as the source of our obsession with the acoustic version of “Baby Got Back” by his sidekick/player of mood music Jonathan Coulton. Aha!

But wait, there’s more! Hodgman was also the subject of a horace.jpg recent GalleyCat post when our bookish brethren in blogging discovered that Hodgman’s hobo obsession had taken on a life of its own on the internet, inspiring a full-on Flickrpage of illustrations matching his 700-plus painstakingly-rendered hobo names (oh – we should remind the gentle reader that Hodgman likes hoboes. Not quite a fetish, but if the bindlestick fits…). Hodgman was amazed and flattered, telling our GalleyCat cousins: “Here is the internet the way it should be: un-schemed, honestly undertaken, and fueled by pure enthusiasm by strangers.”

But wait, there’s more! For what is MB synchronicity if not the unschemed, honestly undertaken pure enthusiasm of strangers? And rarely does it get much stranger than Claire Zulkey, Lady and Mistress of mbToolbox, who interviewed Hodgman back in August about, well, all sorts of things including but not limited to remote-controlled zeppelins.

But wait, there’s… actually, that’s it, though we do have four wonderful other blogs: Fishbowls DC, LA and TV (aka TVNewser) and the stylicious Unbeige, all of whom are feeling a little left out. Don’t worry kids, you can link to this post. Fun!

Littlest Hobo.gifThere’s one last element of synchronicity here: not only are three of MB’s bloggers Canadian — Unbeige’s Eva Hagberg, GalleyCat’s Sarah Weinman, and me, FishbowlNY’s Rachel Sklar — but back in the 70′s, Canada was also home to an inspiring, family-friendly TV show called — ready for it? — “The Littlest Hobo,” about a wandering German shepherd who was forever on the road (I used to get so upset. Why didn’t he want to stay with the nice family?). Here’s the theme song, in Spanish, because that’s how we roll in Canada. Coincidence? I think not. Tal vez ma&#241ana, ya llegue a ese lugar; hasta ma&#241ana, seguir&#233 mi caminar.

The point is, MB synchronicity is COOL. No, Hook Man, I don’t want to shake your hand.

Pitching a Former Literary Agent: John Hodgman [MB]
Hodgman’s Hoboes Come Alive On Flickr [GalleyCat]
Baby Got Little Gray Book [FishbowlNY]
Pop Quiz: John Hodgman [mbToolbox]

Related:
Littlest Hobo in Spanish (complete with adorable video of Hobo trotting down the road with his tongue flopping. AW.)

Mediabistro Course

Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now! 

Sequel, Sequels, By the Sequel Shore

EXCLUSIVE: Fishbowl L.A. has learned that Lions Gate Films is greenlighting “Saw 3″ just twenty four hours after its $30.5 million opening weekend.

tb_bearsaws2-lg.jpg

Why, we haven’t seen numbers like this since… since… Well, since last month, when “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” opened at $30 million.

Well, no matter. Perversely, Variety’s Gabriel Snyder
points out that the movie pulled in — somewhat inexplicably — equal numbers of men and women. Nothing, it turns out, says “date movie” like a key embedded deep within your right eye. (See below.)

1029saw.jpg

Anyway, our Gate sources tell us that while Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman will probably involved creatively somehow, likely as not Bousman won’t be in the canvas chair screaming, “Action!”.

The really scary news, though, comes at the bottom of Snyder’s story: True, “Saw II” performed so well that it’s Lion’s Gate’s best weekend ever. But overall, box office of $6.97 billion is still down this year — a drop of 6.4%.

Aigh! Now THAT’S scary.

Happy Hallowe’en!!!

Happy Hallowe'en.jpg Happy Hallowe’en, everyone! Hope you all eat lots of candy and wear lots of fun costumes and dance around like the wild pagan spirits you are. If anyone needs to borrow a wig, I’ve got plenty. Enjoy!!

A hickey from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card: When you care enough to send the very best

That’s just one of the lines we learned from the movie “Grease” watching it slavishly for years and years and years growing up. Another line, delivered by Danny Zuko to Rizzo: “Sloppy seconds ain’t my style.” We repeated that without understanding what it meant for many years, until someone quietly pulled us aside and explained it to us. Oops.

We think that CBS White House Correspondent John Roberts probably knew what it meant when he said it in the White House Press Briefing today. Maybe he meant to say “second best” or “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” or even “not the President’s number-one choice,” but what he actually said was:

So, Scott, you said that — or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?

On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to apologize for John Roberts’ unfortunate phraseology, unwitting or not.

There is, however, nothing unwitting about the inclusion of an explicit definition on Drudge. Come on Drudge, just keep your cool, now you’re starting to drool. Eh, fungool. You’re Matty D.

By the way, my favorite part of this story is Scott McClellan’s straight-on response to Roberts’ question: “Not at all, John.” Such a stoic, that one.

Roberts Apologizes, Calls Choice Of Words “Unfortunate” [CBS Public Eye]
Quotes from Grease [IMDB]

Related:
The Story of the Johns Roberts, as told in Rush songs [FishbowlNY]

So set ‘em up Joe: MoDo’s got a little story she thinks you oughta know

A long tall drink o' MoDo.jpgYou’d never know it, but MoDo’s a kind of poet — well, okay, you’d probably know it, the woman has a Pulitzer and is one of the most quoted columnists in America. Though we have to be honest, that “profiterole” line kinda confused us. In any case, here at Fishbowl we are a big fan of funny captions, so we tip our hat to Matt Drudge for his MoDo caption contest. Wish his readers had brought the funny a bit more, though. Michael Wolff, what was it you were saying about Liberals?

Here are the good ones:

  • NYT’s Dowd to Men: “Why don’t you go jerk yourself a soda”
    (that’s Drudge’s contribution)

  • “For TimesSelect’s amazingly low price of $49.95 a year you also get…”
  • “Lookin’ for Rove in all the wrong places.”

    and my personal favorite:

  • “Put it on Judy Miller’s tab.”

    Fishbowl tried to think of something but man, those shoes just killed it. MoDo, please don’t take offense but I’m pretty sure that drag queen wants his shoes back.

    One For MoDo, And One More For The Road [Frank Sinatra]

  • Media short stack

    - Joel Stein uncovers unfair cable-pop-culture-talking-head-show compensation inequities. (Note: I was on one of these shows once and had to fight to get my parking validated.)

    - Microtargeting comes to California. I wish someone would microtarget MEEEEE.

    - Will November sweeps be less sweepy than usual?

    - John Carroll gets a fellowship at Harvard. Sorry about the weather.

    Give us your cute, your adorable, your on the brink of manhood…

    Er, and we’ll pass them on to ElleGirl, who are looking for the “coolest/cutest/most interesting guy under 25″ for a special year-long feature. Here are the details, sent to me by someone who knows that boys under 25 flock to me like pigeons to randomly-dropped food:

    ELLEgirl is searching for the coolest/cutest/most interesting guy under 25. We’re starting with 10 nominees and over the course of a year (ten issues), our readers will vote for their favorite. The last guy standing will win a cash prize of $10,000. We want smart, interesting, good-looking guys with cool stuff going on. (Example: animal rights activist, rapper, graffitti artist, chess champion, photographer, zoologist, Iraq vet, production assistant/filmmaker, designer, street musician, party promoter, hair stylist etc).”

    Once again, IT department guys and verbose bloggers are left out of the mix. What gives?

    Bah. If you think you’re cute/interesting/cool then let the ElleGirls know (c/o Erin Meanley) — send them your name, age, hometown, a short bio, and a jpeg or a website address (ladies, you can nominate your menfolk!). Hop to it, they’re picking this week. Good luck boys! Feel free to send us your older brothers.

    Scooter? Ew, I’d rather not.

    Ew. In addition to being a perjurous justice-obstructing war-mongering Cheney-loving Plame-smearing guy named for a Muppet, apparently I. Lewis Scooter Libby is also kinda skeevy. In addition to trying to cajole Maureen Dowd to do tequila shots with him at the 2003 White House Correspondent’s Dinner after-party (let’s face it, people, today Maureen Dowd IS the news), apparently Scooter has a fairly spicy novel to his credit.

    The Apprentice,” Libby’s 1996 story of Setsuo, a young virgin apprentice at a remote mountain inn in early 20th-century Japan not only tells the story of his romantic awakening by the beautiful Yukiko, but according to the New Yorker‘s Lauren Collins, also contains salacious details of coupling, quivering, and deliberating on whether to have sex with a deer (Collins: “the answer, dear reader, is yes.”)

    The above, by the way, refers to a different animal than this passage:

    At age 10 the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.

    No way, I thought they only did that in Canada! Just kidding. We’re totally encouraged to fall in love with our patrons.

    The bottom line: Scooter makes falafels and loofahs look positively pristine. Also, Lauren Collins is my new favorite writer. HILARIOUS.

    p.s. Customers who bought this book also bought “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife’s CIA Identity: A Diplomat’s Memoir” by Joseph Wilson. No joke.

    Scooter’s Sex Shocker [New Yorker]

    Hollywwod dupes press, over and over again

    In Slate, Edward Jay Epstein looks at the entertainment industry’s habit of ‘pushing the reality envelope’ in its dealings with the press. Well, pushing the envelope is kind of a euphemism. Consider:

    On Sept. 4, 2005, the New York Times printed the following intriguing correction:

    An article last Sunday about film piracy included incorrect revenue data supplied by the Motion Picture Association of America. Hollywood’s global revenue in 2004 was $44.8 billion, not $84 billion. Of the total, $21 billion, not $55.6 billion, came from sales of DVDs and Videos.

    The correction was the result of a Times reporter, Timothy L. O’Brien, asking the Motion Picture Association of America to urnish the combined global take of the major studios in 2004… Instead of supplying the New York Times with the actual numbers, the MPAA sent bogus figures. Hollywood’s DVD revenue alone was inflated by more than $33 billion, possibly to make the MPAA’s war against unauthorized copying appear more urgent. Of course, the reporter had no way of knowing these impressive-sounding numbers were inaccurate and published them in an otherwise accurate story on film piracy.

    According to Epstein, stuff like this happens all the time. Imagine! Do any of you entertainment reporters have similar stories about being misled? Let us know. Anonymity guaranteed, if you want it.

    Seductive, bewitching, and layered in lam&#233: NYMag on Maureen Dowd

    MoDo NY Mag.jpg There’s no two ways about it: Maureen Dowd is hot. Attractive, yes, but also smart and witty and spicy in that 40′s Katherine-Hepburn-one-liner kind of way. Challenging, playful, spirited; a match for any man — if she deems them necessary, the subject of her upcoming book (and also a previous Fishbowl post right here).

    I’d had my suspicions before reading Ariel Levy‘s cover story in this week’s New York, but that is clearly meant to be the takeaway: Levy describes MoDo almost continuously in terms of her sex appeal, reports that she’s “irresistible to men,” compares her to Jessica Rabbit, and makes me very uncomfortable by extensively quoting a gushing Todd Purdum who calls her “bewitching…a sorceress” with whom it is “almost impossible not to be a little bit in love” (NB Purdum seems to have been similarly bewitched by Tim Russert, about whom he writes glowingly in the previously-mentioned-on-Fishbowl NYT article, yet does not address Russert’s failure to address his own role in PlameGate. Oh, Tim, you enchantress!).

    Sexy and fantabulous as MoDo surely is, the article has other equally captivating elements, like the treasure trove of casual tidbits about MoDo and her beat, plus glamorous columnista girlfriends like Michiko Kakutani and Alessandra Stanley (Star columnists! They have relationship angst just like us!). It’s dishy, people. Here are a few of the choicest tidbits, plus one very important unanswered question. In no particular order:

    • MoDo screens Anna Quindlen’s phone calls.

    • The day she won her Pulitzer, Michiko Kakutano called MoDo “nearly in tears” moaning “Now I’ll never get a date!” We think Normal Mailer‘s off the list, at least.
    • Judy Miller responded to MoDo’s infamous “Woman of Mass Destruction” op-ed with a 7-point rebuttal email beginning “I like you, too.” Sense of humor, our Judy.
    • Jill Abramson, btw, had advised MoDo not to write it.
    • She’s also been “buried” under “all this Judy Miller crap.” We have a sneaking suspicion how Jill Abramson might have voted in our Fishbowl Poll.
    • Ariel Levy and your editors, hold out your wrists: the Good Witch of the North is GLINDA, for God’s sake! Glinda! My eyes almost popped out of my head at that one. Can’t you just hear her trilling “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” Here, now you can. In the name of the Lollipop Guild, we wish to welcome you to Munchkinland.
    • Todd Purdum has carried MoDo’s bags and fixed her computer in the middle of the night. Aw. That’s sweet. If this were a movie, you’d totally be MoDo’s soulmate. But, life isn’t a movie, Todd Purdum. Buck up.
    • Barbara Bush may be jealous of MoDo; George Bush 41 had a soft spot for her. I think it’s safe to say that George Bush 43 does not.
    • The article stops short of confirming whether MoDo dated Howell Raines. That seems very weird to me.
    • …but no weirder than her dating Michael Douglas.
    • …or bringing an extra suitcase of lam&#233 along with her on vacation with Aaron Sorkin.
    • Both Michael Kinsley and William Safire tried to talk her out of using the funny, womanly voice that has become her trademark. If I was a better woman, I would find the wiki joke in here that is tantalizingly close. Is there a big strong man out there who can do it for me? Golly gee, thanks.
    • MoDo’s mother found Tim Russert bewitching, too.
    • Kirk Douglas: “Do you have any idea how hard it is to make love to Lana Turner on an empty stomach?” Honestly Kirk, no, I can’t say I do. But I do know that we have something else in common.
    • You’ll watch Nick Lemann cook and you’ll like it, dammit.
    • DUDE! MoDo’s fiery head of hair is a keystone of your article — but in three of the accompanying photos she’s got full-on raven locks! What gives? Did she dye it back then or is she bottle-burnished now? It would be nice to clarify such a detail in any case, but seeing how the article is called “The Redhead and The Gray Lady” it kind of demands an answer.
    • Aw, nuts: men hate it when a woman uses her critical faculties AND the word “Dude!” Damn.

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