Hello, and welcome to the Phile, the web's most updated blog. I know, it's Wednesday. Tomorrow we are going to Nashville on a top secret mission so I wouldn't be able to update the blog on the usual Thursday this week. In next week's entry I will tell you all about the mission. Six years ago yesteday, this country was attacked. Tonight I am not comfortable making jokes about drunk celebrities and Hollywood nutjobs. If, by the way, you are a drunk celebrity or Hollywood nutjob, don’t get the wrong idea, I’ll be back at ya next week. If I stop making fun of the celebrities, the terrorists win. Larry Craig, a conservative senator form Idaho, on the way back to Washington got into a little trouble at the airport. During a layover, he thought, “Great — just enough time for coffee then into the bathroom for gay sex.” He tapped his foot to an undercover cop in the next stall. According to the cops, this is the bathroom code for “let’s get it on.” Not necessarily! It could also be code for, “I like your shoes.” He said he tapped his foot in the next stall because he has a wide stance. It’s kind of like “the dog ate my homework” excuse. President Bush was in Sydney, Australia for the APEC Summit, a gathering of 21 countries, responsible for half the world’s trade. He started off by saying he was happy to be at the OPEC Summit. On Capitol Hill. Gen. Petraeus testified again before Congress about the Iraq war. Some Democrats are saying Gen. Petraeus’ answers are scripted by President Bush. Which explains Petraeus’ use of the word “surge-arific.” Several Jewish groups are upset because President bush issued Rosh Hashana greetings over a week early. They’re saying Bush doesn’t know when Rosh Hashana is. Bush says he’ll make up for the mistake by sending them all something nice for Christmas. More details coming out about Britney Spears' performance at the MTV Awards. Sources at MTV say that Britney Spears showed up for the rehearsal of her song three hours late with a frozen margarita in her hand. Britney defended herself by saying the frozen margarita wasn’t for her, it was for her kids. Britney was criticized for being over weight, out of shape, and giving a half-hearted effort. Which explains why today Britney was signed by the New York Jets. Fun fact: The state of Arkansas says it has reduced the number of obese people in thatstate. Apparently Arkansas did that by throwing a Twinkie over the Missouri border.
THERE IS A GOD
Britney Spears is allegedly planning to get chest muscles in an effort to land a lucrative nude centerfold in Playboy Magazine. Last month, Britney had been begging Playboy boss Hugh Hefner for an opportunity to pose in the skin mag. The Hef turned her down. Insiders tell the National Enquirer the magazine has been put off by the fallen star’s massive financial demands. Playboy believes a nude Britney Spears is worth only $400,000. “It’s amazing what damage five years, 20lbs and two kids can do to a girl’s asking price,” one insider told the tab. “Britney is truly delusional if she thinks anyone is going to pay giant bucks to see her nude,” the acid-tongued source continued. “She’s already bared too much flesh for free while out partying for that to happen.” “Britney wants to get a new boob job, and she’s planning to step up her workouts in an effort to get Playboy to reconsider,” another insider told the Enquirer.
“She’s determined to get her sexy body back.” God, I hope it happens.
Marié Digby is a big hit on YouTube. The 24-year-old's version of Rihanna's "Umbrella" is receiving airtime across the country, and her videos have been viewed over 2 million times. Last week, Walt Disney's Hollywood Records announced they'd signed her to a contract. A nice rags to riches story, heh? Except it isn't. The Wall Street Journal stripped the everywoman cover off of Digby by revealing that she'd signed with the record company back in '05. Her YouTube-based PR campaign was carefully constructed by Hollywood Records to launch her in a way that would gain the cache of authenticity viewers grant to user-developed content. Last year's controversial "LonelyGirl15" campaign demonstrated that some of the smartest people in America work in marketing. Noting the over-the-top success of that program, the ad industry is now awash with companies promising to launch viral campaigns of this nature, inspiring person-to-person emails for their product (you gotta see this!), and playing on the sense of ownership we have when we think we've discovered something authentic that others haven't. The question here, I think, is one of transparency. Obviously, in light of the way the internet has evolved, we plebeians are willing to trade some of our time viewing advertising in return for otherwise free content. I'm not convinced, however, that we are willing to embrace stealth marketing, where the message is disguised such that we may not identify it as advertising. The ruse of Digby's launch is minuscule in scope, but nonetheless causes me to trust what I see and read just a little less. Boy, Disney had a rough week. First the Marie Digby flap, and now this: In case it's not in your job description to pay mind to such things, the internet right now is all atwitter about a circulating photo of starlet Vanessa Hudgens baring her mouse ears, and then some. Miss Hudgens is one of the stars from Disney's very massive 'High School Musical' franchise, and girlfriend of HSM co-star (and perhaps budding shutterbug?) Zac Efron. But we're not here to judge -- well, I'm not here to judge. What's the complaint? "Disney creates these supposed role models for little girls and then they get famous and go off the deep end and we have a lot of explaining to do..." Whoa now, don't we know to expect this by now? I don't doubt Walt had great intentions, but the House of Mouse has loooonng been a sexpot factory. This ain't PBS, where every kid is special and all that -- this is THE Walt Disney Company. The Mickey Mouse Club tends to be pretty choosy about who gets to don those felt-letter sweaters. It so happens that toothy, telegenic girls predictably grow up to be bombshells -- the classic virgin vixens of textbook male fantasy -- and Disney has just been churning 'em out since Goofy was in short pants. Look past Britney Spears, the 800-pound gorilla of the species. You've got your Lindsay Lohan, your Hilary Duff, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Lisa "Blair" Whelchel (did you know Facts of Life pioneers Whelchel, Molly Ringwald, and Julie Piekarski all had Mouseketeer pasts? Internet, you are awesome.), Kim Richards (Tia from Escape To Witch Mountain... *sigh*), all the way back to Hayley Mills and Annette Funicello. I'm sure there's some web page somewhere (I don't want to look) counting the seconds until Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana turns 18. I don't have the collective worth of these women in front of me, but Uncle Scrooge McDuck didn't make all those fantasticatrillions by himself. Not to detract from the talents and virtues of any of these women, nor paint them all as tabloid fodder. But ultimately they're human, and they're adults. Parents can't expect their children's idols to stay 15 forever, and the effects of a star-studded childhood on a kid are all too well documented by this point for this sort of news to surprise anyone. Moms and dads, if you want to dodge uncomfortable conversations with your kids, I don't know what to suggest ... ween your loved ones on The Muppets, I guess. They still haven't gone gonzo on us.
JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW SOMEBODY
This is the follow up to the story on an old friend I knew five years ago at Epcot. Josh was on the college program at Disney and became good friends. I was invited to his wedding but didn't go, and my wife Jen was going to take professional pictures of he and his wife Lauren. Anyway, this is an article I found on him on a web site called teachersmackdown.com.
In Pooler, Georgia, Saint Andrew’s School music teacher Joshua Evans, 25, was arrested on federal charges of attempted sexual exploitation of children and child pornography charges. Since his home was searched by the FBI, US Immigration, GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation), and the Pooler Police Department I’m guessing that there’s more to this story than Evans looking at underage girls on the internet. Seems that Evans was trying to arrange to have sex and get nude photos of someone he believed was a 14-year-old girl. Whoops! The GBI began investigating Evans in May 2006 when an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl began communicating with him in an online chat room. They chatted several times and arranged to meet at a Savannah hotel. Evans told the “girl” that he wanted to have sex and watch porn with her. This wasn’t the only victim that Evans was grooming. Seems that he was also having online conversations with five South Carolina officers who were posing as a 12-year-old girl. Double whoops! A U.S. Magistrate judge ordered Evans to wear an electronic monitor. He can only leave his house for counseling to meet with his probation officer. While the investigation at St. Andrew’s School showed that nothing was going on at the school - either online or with the students - the principal fired Evans and is now looking for his replacement. Evans’ pregnant wife has been ordered by the judge to cancel the internet service to their home. She’s allowed to keep her computer for her work as a school teacher. Evans’ parents put up the $50,000 bond for their son. As partof his bond, Evans must undergo substance abuse testing and mental health treatment. He cannot have contact with children or possess any weapons. I’m glad they caught Evans. He certainly had a huge internet child porn/exploitation problem if he was being investigated by so many law enforcement agencies. Luckily there were no real victims…I hope. In fact, the only people Joshua Evans victimized are his wife, his unborn child, and his parents. I can only imagine the shame they must feel.
Courtney Love wanted to make big waves with her band Hole's 1994 major-label debut CD, but the circumstances around the timing of the album's success were unfortunate, to say the least. The album was set to come out one week after Love's husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, committed suicide in the couple's home outside Seattle. Hole's label released the ironically titled 'Live Through This' album anyway, and it quickly became a chart-topping alternative hit.
Hughie Thomasson, Outlaws guitarist: The Lynyrd Skynyrd Book of the Dead gets another member. How much you want to bet that they'll all be gone before gym teacher (and namesake) Leonard Skinner?
Steve Fossett?: How ironic; a Fossett, down the drain. If he doesn't have a shit load of water with him, he's a gonner even if he landed safely somewhere. If he's still in the air I think he's got himself another world record. And if he's still in the air he'll be a trillionaire for the patent on whatever kept him there.
Jane Wyman: I'll bet she was good and tired of all those "What was Robert Young really like?" questions.
TODAY IN HISTORY
The magnificent phallic symbol Cleopatra's Needle is erected in London on the bank of the Thames. It doesn't really have anything to do with Cleopatra. The obelisk has a twin in New York's Central Park, also named Cleopatra's Needle. It has nothing to do with Cleopatra, either.
NBC television premieres 'The Monkees', a sitcom about four guys in a rock band. When the show becomes a hit, the fictional Monkees somehow release a string of albums, even though three of the actors can't even play their instruments.
After releasing most of their captives, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine blows up three hijacked passenger jets in the Jordanian desert. The 40 remaining Israeli hostages are taken to secret locations in Amman, Jordan.
The body of Steven Biko is discovered on the floor of a jail cell in Pretoria. The South African civil rights activist had been beaten and tortured six days earlier, during an interrogation in Port Elizabeth. Police officials claim that Biko probably suffered the fatal injuries when he "fell out of bed."
Anthony Perkins, star of the Hitchcock classic Psycho, dies of AIDS in his Hollywood hills home. His extraordinary versatility as an actor is captured in the films Psycho II, Psycho III, and Psycho IV: The New Beginning.
After a night of boozing and smoking crack, Frank Corder steals a Cessna P150 and crashes it into the south lawn of the White House. The wreckage tumbles over a tree and a hedge before coming to rest against the West Wing of the Executive Mansion. Corder's flamboyant suicide attack never actually imperiled President Clinton's life, since the First Family was sleeping elsewhere at the time.
NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS
A teenager "quite literally went up in flames" after a 14-year-old friend sparked a lighter next to him, a jury at Cardiff Crown Court has been told. The boy denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but has admitted grievous bodily harm.
The prosecution said the 13-year-old suffered 29% burns and would probably need surgery for the rest of his life. The jury heard the victim had spilled petrol on his trousers after sniffing its fumes in a garage near Aberdare. Huw Evans, prosecuting, said the 13-year-old "quite literally went up in flames" in the incident on 12 April at the garage in Godreaman. Mr Evans added that he was in hospital for eight weeks and needed skin grafts. "He has been left very seriously scarred," Mr Evans added. The two boys were with others, who had been messing about with a friend's motorbike, the jury was told. Some, including the injured boy, had been sniffing petrol from a can but somehow petrol had been spilled onto his trousers. Speaking via a live video-link, the 13-year-old said he had been "tonking" or sniffing petrol, for the first time on that occasion and said it had made him feel giddy. He told the court the 14-year-old had spilled petrol on him, and denied he had done it himself. He said he "felt something wet" on his leg and that he had then grabbed his friend, who pushed him back. "I said 'light me on fire and you're coming with me'," he told the court. "I just remember running up the steps in flames." Other friends, and the mother of one boy, tried to extinguish the flames with milk and damp towels before an ambulance arrived. The boy said: "It was hurting like I hadn't felt pain before." When questioned the boy estimated 20 seconds passed between the petrol being spilled on his leg and the trousers going up in flames. The court heard that the defendant told police later that he was lighting a cigarete with his lighter when the other boy accidentally caught fire.
Neither can be identified. The case is continuing.
A cowboy is driving down a back road in Texas. A sign in front of a restaurant reads, "Happy Hour Special: Lobster Tail and Beer." "Hot damn," the cowboy says to himself, "My three favorite things!"
Two guys were out walking home from work one afternoon. "Man," the first guy said, "as soon as I get home, I'm gonna rip my wife's panties off!" "What's the rush?" his buddy asked. "The damn elastic in the legs is killing me!"
Q: What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup? A: Anyone can roast beef.
This post includes spoilers. Do not read this post if you don't want to know the plot of Magneto. Fans of The X-Men beware or enjoy. Yes, over at Obsessed With Film, they've learned the entire plot of the X-Men spin-off, written by David S. Goyer, who will also direct. Deciding not to reveal every plot point, OWF's Will Reynolds provides the basics, including the fact that the film will have bookending scenes set in Poland at the 60th Anniversary of the Auschwitz Liberation. After the basically present-day opening, Magneto heads back in time to that prelude in X-Men, where young Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) destroys the concentration camp's gates. He's then experimented on by Nazi scientists, including a Dr. Kleinman. Fast forward to the Ukraine, where we see Erik married to Magda, with whom he has a daughter, Anya. So far, we're following the comics pretty well. Then, apparently both Magda and Anya are killed when townspeople burn down the Lehnsherr's home (it should only be Anya, right?). From there, the spin-off follows the plotline in which Magneto goes Nazi hunting. Erik ends up in Paris and then moves to Argentina, where he searches for Dr. Kleinman with the help of a CIA agent. Eventually the plot moves on to Israel, where Erik meets a soccer-playing Charles Xavier (aka Professor X), who is said to be good at helping Holocaust survivors. Will the duo gang up to fight Baron Von Strucker and HYDRA? We'll have to wait and see ... Of course, there are more details over at OWF, as I think if you really don't mind spoilers, you might want to check out the site. From the description they've provided so far, the film seems more like a drama, like Munich, than a super-hero action flick. OWF also says Magneto, which may actually be fully titled X-Men Origins: Magneto, will feature Senator Kelly (young and old), Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth, who also shows up in the Wolverine spin-off -- good news for Tyler Mane) and Mystique. This is a lot more information than I was able to provide last week, and I have to thank OWF for giving just enough of a synopsis to keep me excited without feeling like I don't need to see the movie (like I would ever think I didn't need to see this!). The site likens the screenplay to Goyer's script for Batman Begins, combined with The Boys from Brazil (which is being remade just in time to go head to head with Magneto) and, of course, the X-Men trilogy. Keep in mind, as always, these are only rumors and the completed film could always head in a different direction.
I get really pumped watching the trailer when Robert Downey Jr. dons his superhero suit for the first time and the classic Ozzy song "Iron Man" starts pounding on the soundtrack. I hope there's a scene in the film where Downey has to bite the head off of a metallic bat.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
First Shia LaBeouf claimed he was not up for the job as Indy Jr. Then on the MTV Video Music Awards he pretended to, on the spur of the moment, "out" the actual, long-awaited title of Indy 4. Maybe they should have called it Indiana Jones and the Lying-Son-of-a-Fedora.
Actor Jesper Christensen, who bedeviled Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, claims he's definitely returning. Instead of poker, though, the two adversaries are going to square off in a brutal bingo game that turns deadly when they each hit O-69 in the championship match.
First there was the controversy over Sly bringing human growth hormone into Australia. Now, the new trailer includes a lesson from his dubious weight-loss plan. I don't see what the problem is: Firing a rocket launcher through somebody's gut really does take the pounds off.
There Will Be Blood
The first official trailer is online for Paul Thomas Anderson's latest. It looks pretty good, but I'm a little disappointed. When I heard the director of Boogie Nights was making an epic about oil barons, I thought it was going to be about porn stars getting into hot oil wrestling.
Benicio Del Toro looks like a feral animal in this frightening first promo pic. And, believe it or not, that's without makeup!
Producer Don Murphy revealed on his message board that any production is going to be delayed due to the impending Hollywood strike. If Murphy thinks screenwriters and directors are tough to negotiate with, he better hope that Optimus Prime doesn't join the truckers union.
Logan's Run remake director Joseph Kosinski has been hired to make the sequel to the classic video-game movie. He wanted the gig so bad he even shot a short audition reel. Personally, I think the direction he's going is a little out there, if you watch it.
The first poster for the religious spoof mocks people who see Jesus and Mary in their food by putting star Bill Maher's face on a grilled cheese sandwich. I once saw an image of Abraham Lincoln in an ear of corn and sold it on eBay for a hundred bucks.
Adrien Brody's a deranged scientist who splices together human and animal DNA to turn a woman into a winged beast. What's also spliced together? The script. Splice in a little Island of Dr. Moreau with some Species and — voila!
In the trailer, Woody Harrelson is completely floored when he finds out his wife is smuggling heroin in toy figurines across Russia. So when she finds his pot stash, it's no big deal, right?
There you have it, guys and gals, another entry of the Phile. The next entry will be next Thursday unless I have another mission to go on. Until then, spread the word, not the turd. Oh, and I still want to hit 3000 by Christmas.