Saturday, December 30, 2006

The magic of DVRs

I have my DVR set up to tape tons of series, and as while I watch the ones I really like pretty quickly (Scrubs, Desperate Housewives), some shows just sit there a long time, sometimes until they are automatically erased but often just until there's nothing better to watch. 30 Rock falls in the latter category; it's usually boring for the first half then gets funny so every time I watch it I start thinking, I'm going to stop recording this and then by the end say, well, one more week.

This is the reason why I just saw an episode in which a character says, "maybe we'll be pre-empted by a big national story. How's Gerald Ford's health." Fascinating timing.

So that makes the show prescient. Sort of. Most notably it was the first episode that was quite funny all the way through, so maybe it turned a corner, or maybe when I watch the next episode I have recorded it will be back to hit and miss.

Kate Beckinsale's breasts; now there's a title that will drive some traffic to my blog

Recently I saw the awful, awful movie Click (very funny for the first half hour or so, just to trick you to keep watching). Kate Beckinsale, who has been very good in much better movies, had an uninteresting part in this one, and as I was looking at her I thought, she's so perfect looking, I wonder if she's had plastic surgery. Because so many people have their faces rebuilt that you really never know nowadays.

Googling on the topic, the first thing I check out was Beckinsale's nomination for The Ugliest Breasts In Hollywood at, a site whose purpose is pretty clear from the name. They do look oddly high and they do have stretch marks, although I read elsewhere that Beckinsale denies it, saying the stretch marks are from pregnancy and the change in breast size is from gaining weight, which she said she was asked to do by movie producers (I've always heard movie producers ask actresses to lose weight, but that's her story). Other articles say she later had the implants removed.

But I wasn't wondering about her breasts, I was just wondering about her face, and there's less about that. I did find something on Beckinsale's face at, another plastic surgery site (there are tons of places devoted to celebrities and plastic surgery; I have a friend obsessed with her perceived bad nose job who scours these sites). There someone posted a bunch of pictures throughout Beckinsale's career and then everyone comments about how much plastic surgery they think she's had. Pretty much everyone says she's had a nose job, some say her lips were shrunk and one or two said her chin was elongated. But I don't really see it. Her face has narrowed a bit, as generally happens with age, but the nose looks basically the same to me in all the pictures, and the lips don't vary enough to be any more than you could get by differing lipstick application. I'm not saying she hasn't had plastic surgery, but I do wonder if people obsessed with celebrity plastic surgery are actually a good source for information.

Anyway, it does look like she was always extraordinary looking, although I think in all cases celebrities aren't going to look as good in real life as in movies, where professional makeup and lighting people can create the illusion of perfection.

Beckinsale says she doesn't want to be thought of as the sort of person who would get plastic surgery, saying "That implies a kind of insecurity, shallowness and thoughtlessness that I don't feel applies to me very much." If she has had plastic surgery, well, then it's a dumb thing to say, but could be taken the way one takes closeted homosexuals decrying gay marriage; as a panicky attempt to distance herself from something she's embarrassed by.

But if she hasn't had plastic surgery then the quote bothers me, because I think it's incredibly judgmental for someone who is drop dead gorgeous to look down on people who want to be but weren't born that lucky. I used to be very down on plastic surgery (and I'm still down on breast surgery, because I have never seen breasts I didn't like so see no reason to shove silicone in a pair), but there are people I wouldn't date because I don't find them attractive, and there are people (many many people) who wouldn't date me because they don't consider me attractive, and really, why shouldn't we all get to be gorgeous and sought after like Beckinsale? (On the other hand, plastic surgery can only do so much; Paris Hilton has apparently had tons of it but she's still not in the same league as Kate).

What I find interesting is the reason there is all this discussion; actresses generally won't admit to having plastic surgery. I don't know if it's embarrassment at being perceived as vain, or actual vanity, or a perception that this will effect their career, but I think a lot more celebrities have plastic surgery than admit to it. Plastic surgery is often treated as a crime and celebrities will put on a defense; Tara Banks actually brought a doctor on her talk show to feel her up and pronounce them real (perhaps she should have other celebrities come on the show and do the same; it would probably be a popular segment).

Because this is such a moronic subject, I feel I have to point out that I don't spend all my time googling celebrity breast jobs. Just yesterday after watching some of Leonard Bernstein's Candide on PBS I went on a wikipedia hunt that took me from Candide to Gottfried Leibniz, whose theodicy was being attacked, possibly somewhat unjustly, in Candide, to an article on how various philosophers reconcile the existence of God with the existence of evil (evil is necessary, God isn't all powerful or he/she isn't all good, etc.), to a little reading on Taoism (which I love; my favorite Tao Te Ching translations are here and here). But none of that seemed as worth writing about as Kate Beckinsale's breasts.

Addendum: Unsurprisingly, this has been the single most popular blog post I have ever written, so I am just, apropos of nothing, going to put a link here to my Wii games site, because I get paid by the page view and have to drive traffic somehow. Please go there now. There are just as many pictures of Kate's breasts on that site as there are in this blog, so what the hell.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

being fat, another thing that you can no longer be judgmental about

Apparently how fat you are isn't just a matter of eating too many donuts and sitting too long on the couch. Scientists have found obese people have a different bacteria in the intestines than the rest of us. They're not sure why, but apparently switching bacteria in mice affects their weight. So have another twinkie and tell folks, it's not the twinkie, it's just my bacteria. Because that might actually be the case.

Wii Wii Wii, Me Me Me

There's a very good article in the Times by David Pogue on the health benefits of the Wii, but for me the main reason to read it is the first sentence:
I don’t ordinarily review games or game consoles; The Times has an excellent game reviewer in Charles Herold.

I've never been called excellent in the New York Times before; it's kind of cool. I probably get more excited about it than the game designers I've called excellent.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's so funny when someone is dying of anorexia

I was pretty disturbed watching Countdown and seeing Keith Olbermann and some guy from In Touch giggling hysterically about Nicole Ritchie weighing 85 pounds. My vague impression of Ritchie is she's some dumb, shallow pseudo celebrity, and normally I'm all for making fun of such people. But clearly she's suffering from anorexia, which suggests she's very ill, needs help, is self-destructive and could very well wind up hospitalized or even dead. I know Olbermann likes to make fun of celebrities, but I do think there's something distasteful about laughing so hard at someone, no matter how ridiculous she may seem, who is so psychologically damaged and such a danger to herself.

Celebrities are just people with too much fame and money, and hating and ridiculing them really isn't any better than obsessing over and worshiping them.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The difference between retarded and stupid

I just love

this story. A guy has been pretending to be retarded for years to defraud the government, insisting he couldn't read or drive a car. Then he goes to traffic court to challenge a ticket. Clearly the guy is not as retarded as he's been claiming, but he's sure no rocket scientist.