Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The kind hearts and gentle souls of Washington Post readers

Jesus. Hank Stuever's Extreme Home Makeover opinions are ignorant and callous -- he actually uses the word "schadenfreude" in a story about a family facing foreclosure -- but the readers' comments are often worse.

You know, Extreme Home Makeover is a terrible show in many ways. It's sappy and so beyond heavy-handed as to be exploitative. And this is not the first time someone's struggled in their made-over home. But I think the show has helped a lot of families and the vast majority of them are still in their homes. So I don't quite get Stuever's claim that "If it was wrong to think the economy could go on forever subsisting on money that no one actually had, then it was wrong to think there was something wonderful about watching shows where people got houses for nothing, and then expect them to live happily ever after." What does the sub-prime mortgage crisis have to do with this particular case? Stuever seems to breeze past another important point too: These aren't typical reality show contestants or random lottery winners. The Extreme Home Makeover families really have faced unimaginable hardship. The show has also built a church, funded college educations, donated to food banks and created a meeting center for Native American service veterans. Was it wrong to think that was wonderful too?

Stuever and his readers sure are clear about what isn't, in their opinions, wonderful. They abhor Disney. They don't have much regard for stay-at-home moms. They're indignant that the re-built houses are worth over $400,000 -- all those fireplaces! -- although I wonder what is the appropriate dollar value and design of a donated home? Look, I hate Extreme Home Makeover. I can't exactly believe I'm defending it. But it's silly to make this show and this family one big national symbol of whatever it is that's irritating you at the moment.

Another deadline

If you want to register for any of the State Fair Creative Arts competitions, you have two days left. I seriously covet a ribbon and the hobbies/collectible category seems made for me. Should I? Do I dare?

And oh yeah: Big Tex got new clothes, which means the State Fair news cycle is off to an exceptionally early start. Happiness!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Project Runway's Kelli and American Idol's Amanda: at the very least, they have to be drinking buddies

The eyeliner, the smoker's voice, the midwestern upbringing: maybe it's the same girl, just different wigs.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This makes two. And yes, this is my proudest Internet moment.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maybe the "Keep Austin Weird" movement should declare victory

It's one thing for Lance Armstrong to be seen with an Olsen twin then Kate Hudson. But now that Robert Rodriguez is having a mid-life crisis and Matthew McConaughey is trying to make everyone forget the Nicaraguan thing with new voice-over work, I'd say the city's nutty, weirdo, anything-goes image is in good shape.

What I do worry about though is the "state trooper on duty at the Governor's Mansion the night of the fire [who] spent about 27 minutes surfing Internet Web sites." He's being vilified, it seems, for spending "about five minutes on youtube.com, about two minutes on livevideo.com and 20 minutes on waterpoweredcar.com." But look, this is the water-powered message: "we could all be running our cars from pure H2O! Together we could heal the Ozone." Capitalizing "ozone." Kinda weird. Very Austin.

Pin-ups and low points

Look through these Guess ads and tell me who's the weakest link. It's Paris Hilton, isn't it? She's horrible. A complete blank. And her poses are so--cliche? stupid? I know we all make fun of her but it's a little shocking that a set of carefully styled photos could make her lack of talent so plain.

[via Kempt]

If at any point the creative brief contained the words "must convey qualities generally associated with an asshat," then they've succeeded

The only thing more annoying than the Ty Coughlin radio spots is the likelihood of the client seeing this, in positive terms, as "buzz."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

A little July 4th fireworks for you

Courtesy Love American Style. I don't know about you but when I think patriotism and romance, I think Andy Devine.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Please don't tell me you missed Rosalind Russell night on TCM

Because the woman is a national treasure. There's art just in the way she holds her chin.

Something I noticed for the first time: look at her suit from His Girl Friday. See how the seams on the sleeve are meticulously aligned with the seams at the hip so the geometric pattern is perfectly uninterrupted? Damn. Interesting that, while Russell wears only two suits in this movie, both are so stripe-intensive. It's from Kalloch, who evidently knew what stripes can do for a woman. And who was, obviously, a genius.