Friday, December 1, 2017

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's hyphen-less hype

Earlier this fall I began seeing an ad for Steppenwolf Theatre Company on the el trains that carry me home from work. Next to a photo of Steppenwolf ensemble member (and costar of CBS's Elementary) Jon Michael Hill were the words "The beautiful. The absurd. The I-can't-believe-what-just happened. Onstage nightly."

I thought, What happened to the hyphen between "just" and "happened"? There should be one in that space. It was possible that the hyphen appeared in other versions of that ad for Steppenwolf, ones that weren't designated to appear above riders' heads on public transportation. But no, apparently someone decided that that particular hyphen wasn't necessary at all:

photo credit: Joel Moorman/Chicago Business Journal

photo credit:

Last month The Minutes, a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts, debuted at Steppenwolf. It's about "small-town politics," according to a print ad I saw in the Chicago Reader, as well as unhyphenated "real world power."

Next up for the acclaimed Chicago theater company is BLKS by poet-playwright Aziza Barnes. The promotional flyer that I received in the mail indicates that the play takes place on "one f**ked up night." That's less clunky than "one night that's f**ked up," but if "f**ked up" is your noun-preceding adjective of choice, it should be hyphenated.

You might be thinking, Who gives a f**k? I understand. But details matter — in drama, in advertising, and even in the f**ked-up real world.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Anna Faris, uncredited 19-year-old background actor?

I thought I spotted her in the final scene of the 1997 Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Picture Perfect on Netflix earlier today, but according to IMDb, I did not.

Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory, which airs on CBS, the home of Anna Faris's sitcom, Mom, appears in Picture Perfect in a credited role—"Little Girl"—but she was only ten in the summer of '96, when the movie was shot.

If you were a teenager that summer, and you're a blonde, and you currently star in a CBS sitcom, please leave a comment.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Why did Bob Dylan appear in a Victoria's Secret commercial in 2004?

Because he wanted to be just like Late Night With David Letterman regular Larry "Bud" Melman.

"He mentioned he always saw Larry [walk on] with those gorgeous models," Letterman's longtime bandleader, Paul Shaffer, told Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dave Hoekstra in November 2009 while promoting his memoir, We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives, cowritten with David Ritz. "Dylan said, 'Why is he with those chicks?'"

Two decades after first appearing on NBC's Late Night—Dylan also performed on the penultimate episode of Letterman's next venture, CBS's Late Show, in May 2015—the singer-songwriter was given the chance to emulate his hero. Well, almost—Adriana Lima is the only model, gorgeous or otherwise, who shows up in Dylan's ad for Victoria's Secret.

There are legends, and then there are legends. Advantage: Larry "Bud" Melman.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"My name is Prince and I am funky ..."

"... but not between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM Central Standard Time. Because my supervisor sits in the cubicle right behind mine, I am all business during those hours, with the exception of a half-hour unpaid lunch break and two 15-minute 'personal' breaks. Thank you for your patience."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"Oh, God! You Devil" ... is not the subject of this post, but the title of that 1984 sequel is entirely appropriate here.

A total of 666 IMDb users have given The Little Hours, an American comedy about naughty nuns in 14th-century Italy, an average rating of 6.6 (out of 10) as of 5:20 AM today, July 18, 2017. And because those nuns are naughty, the movie's critic-based Metascore of 69 is simply divine.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Good morning, excessive heat warning.

Last August I started watching the first 20 minutes of Good Morning America every weekday before heading off to work. I like catching up with the previous day's news (I never said anything remotely like that even when I was working at CNN almost 20 years ago), and I like seeing meteorologist Ginger Zee. She obviously knows her stuff, which is one reason why I have a crush on her, but she also happens to be very attractive.

I'm sorry for objectifying you, Mrs. Zee, but I promise to never send you a creepy fan letter or tag you inappropriately on Instagram. Your "excessive heat warning" is on my radar, however, as it was on yours yesterday morning:

A few weeks earlier, on May 11, you said, "It is very elongated in some areas," describing severe weather that formed in the scrotum of Texas and Oklahoma before climaxing in North Carolina. Or at least that's how it looked to me, a recovering adolescent, on your weather map:

I also seem to recall you referring to midwestern homes pelted with hail that "took a pounding in the backyard," but maybe I overslept one morning and dreamed that particular weather report. If I did, it wasn't "the wettest on record," to quote you once again, with "up to six-plus inches possible" (like you, I believe in science, not fiction, no matter how detrimental it might be to my ego), but if my crush could be represented on your high-tech ABC weather map, there's a 100 percent chance it would be a blushing bright red.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

History. History. (Notice how it repeats itself?)

"What's particularly striking in the new book, though, is the cluelessness of the stalwart Republican grandees of the Ford presidential campaign, who were both blindsided and baffled by Reagan's guerrilla victories in their own midst. A panicked internal Ford camp memo struggles to parse the 'unexpected Reagan success in certain caucus states,' where the voters who turned out in shockingly large numbers were 'unknown and have not been involved in the Republican political system before' and were 'alienated from both parties.' As if describing an Indian ambush in the Old West, the memo goes on to exclaim that 'we are in real danger of being out-organized by a small number of highly motivated right-wing nuts.' Among those shocked was the canny Texas political operator James Baker, the George H. W. Bush paladin, who couldn't get over how 'absolutely ruthless' these uppity Reagan shock troops were. 'Our people just aren't used to this uncompromising hardball stuff,' he told Time."

—from Frank Rich's review of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick Perlstein, The New York Times Book Review, August 3, 2014

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

David Ellis at his second best?

Ellis, where were you when James Patterson was writing Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls? Those books could've been twice as good with your contractually credited but professionally unacknowledged contributions to Patterson's effortless storytelling. You're fired!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

dystopian future

We're all watching The Apprentice now. And we're all going to pay for it one way or another.

—from "All TV Shows, All the Time" by Joy Wang and Michael Hastings, Newsweek, June 27, 2005