Archive for January, 2011

The Battle Hymn of The Kitten Mom: Meeeow!

Yale Professor Amy Chua’s recently published book The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother about raising children ‘the Chinese way’ now has a yang to its yin: The Battle Hymn of The Kitten Mom by American homemaker Sheila Burblang.

Burblang, the mother of three children ages eleven, nine and five, lives in Alemeda, California and became incensed when she saw Chua on a talk show discussing her book.

“Here was this Asian lady talking about not letting her kids have sleepovers, watch TV, play video games or do nothing but study hard, play pianos and violins and get straight A’s in school, said Burblang. “That may be the Chinese way, but it’s time someone stood up to raising kids the American way. So I wrote my book.”

Here are some excerpts.

“Poor Jimmy is bummed. All his friends are getting PS3’s and we still have an Xbox. ‘I’m tired of the crappy graphics on this dinosaur!’ Jimmy shouted while we were having dinner the other night. ‘Why can’t I ever get anything good?!’ I talked it over with my husband and it looks like someone will be getting an early birthday present!”

“Lisa woke up this morning and didn’t feel like going to school. ‘What’s wrong, precious angel?’ I asked. ‘The teacher keeps trying to make us learn really hard stuff,’ she began sobbing. ‘Well, honey, it will get easier, you’ll see. You just have to do your best and make mommy and daddy very proud!’ She began crying hard and shouting that she had the worst life ever! Then, she threw a book at my head. I felt so badly for her that I told her it might be a good sick day for her. I called the school and explained that she was ill. I’m looking into getting a tutor for the poor little thing– I don’t want our five year old to feel defeated!”

“Thomas is really upset with his baseball coach, and I can’t say that I blame him. The man is an overbearing tyrant!!! At yesterday’s game, Thomas hit a pop-up toward the first baseman. Thomas figured it was an easy out so he dropped his bat and went back to the dugout swearing because he felt the pitcher cheated him by throwing the ball where Thomas wasn’t expecting it. Anyway, the kid playing first base dropped the ball, then tripped on his shoes on the way to first, stepped on the base and then dropped the ball again but the catcher ran up and got the ball and stepped on first base so Thomas was out. WELL, the coach was upset at Thomas because he thought that if Thomas had run out the hit, he would have had an easy single since the clumsy first baseman dropped the ball. Well, Thomas got really angry because he said that the coach had been trying to crush his spirit ever since Thomas came on the team and Thomas wasn’t going to allow some washed-up adult wannabe-athlete bruise his ego and self confidence with his never- ending criticism and riding his butt over tiny things like having to do stupid things like run out every hit. Thomas threw a bat at the coach and stormed out of the dugout. I felt so sorry for Thomas, we stopped at Dairy Queen on the ride home and got him a big banana split and onion rings!!! Tomorrow I’m going to complain to the league commissioner about that mean coach and see if I can’t get him fired! I’m also going to stop by the trophy shop and see if I can just buy Thomas a big baseball trophy so he doesn’t have to deal with all this hyper-competitive crap!”

“Jimmy brought home his report card today. He got one B, three C’s and two D’s. I told him we were very proud of his B and that the C’s prove he’s an average kid– although we think he’s WAY ABOVE AVERAGE!!! But then I asked him to kindly PLEASE see if he couldn’t do something about raising those two D’s a little bit. Well, Jimmy got furious and threw his new PS3 controller at me. It broke into pieces so now we’re going to have to get a new one… plus, I had to get six stitches in my forehead and goodness knows how much the insurance is going to cover!!! Jeesh, parenting spirited children in a tough job…”

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And the big winner is...

I think you went overboard in the your Oscar nomination love for The King’s Speech and True Grit.

Yes, both films were well made, acted, and directed, but 22 nominations between them is a bit much.

You should have slathered much more love on The Social Network, far and away the best film that I saw last year.

You could have shown a little more love for Black Swan and The Fighter, two fresh takes on the human condition.

But, you went and did what you usually do: bow down and curtsey for the period movie with British accents, and toss rose petals at the feet of talented filmmakers who are being recognized more for their past work that you ignored than their film being honored.

Oh, Hollywood, you are so predictable you deserve to give yourself an award for consistency.

It's hard to become champ with a crackhead in your corner.

2010 was a pretty terrific year for movie lovers.

The Social Network, Winter’s Bone, The King’s Speech, True Grit and The Other Guys were some of my favorites. I recently caught two surefire Oscar favorites– The Fighter and Black Swan. Both are must-sees for any serious film lover.

In The Fighter, we see a tale that’s been told many times: the palooka beating the odds, trusting in himself and succeeding. But, this film based on true events throws in some interesting twists– a family that loves and manipulates so hard it’s crushing, and the perils of being trained by a crackhead.
Christian Bale is phenomenal as the washed-up older brother/trainer to Mark Wahlberg’s battling boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward.

Bale’s “Dickey” lives in his past glory days and deludes himself with dreams of rising again to be a serious fighter and contender. Until then, he has the crack pipe and his little brother to keep him occupied. The boys have an overbearing mother played by Melissa Leo, in a performance sure to get an Oscar nod. Mom is not only the matriarch of the family, she schedules upcoming bouts and manages her brood of fighting boys and doting daughters. Leo and Bale are a potent one-two punch (witness the scene in the car with the two singing).

Throw in killer performances by Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg, and you have a film best described by our firstborn son as “it’s hard to imagine a better sports movie.” Yes, yes it is.

Director David O. Russell really delivers the goods here; the pacing, camerawork, cinematography and performances are all terrific. That said, I cannot forgive Russell for the wreck that was I Heart Huckabees .

Ballet gets very, very frightening.

The other move that should not be missed is Black Swan, a film just under two hours that will haunt you for a long time to come.

While we’ve all seen many boxing tales, we probably can’t name many gripping ballet flicks. Enter Black Swan, a movie that’s part beauty, part beast, and has the creepy edginess of Psycho throughout.

Oscar, meet Natalie Portman, shake hands and get to know each other. She’s a lock.

Portman shed 20 of her unslightly pounds for the role of Nina Sayers, and she delivers a heavyweight performance as a dedicated-innocent-living-at-home-with-mommie-pursuing-perfection- ballet dancer. Her performance as an actor and dancer are believable, beautiful and incredibly disturbing. Director Darren Aronofsky never lets up with the tension and intrigue of this compelling thiller. No matter how much you think you don’t like ballet, I defy you not to be interested in this film. Of course, some hot sex scenes can spice up any story.

The supporting cast is superb. Barbara Hershey as Nina’s long suffering artistic mom, Mila Kunis as Lily, the back-tatted beauty in the company who is either Nina’s friend, enemy or a frienemy, Winona Ryder as Beth Macintyre, the fading ballerina star and Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy, the driven and manipulative ballet company artistic director.

I can say no more about the movie aside from this: Swan Lake scares me. See this film. Here’s a ballet film that keeps you on your toes. (Could I get a rimshot, here? A rimshot, please! Rimshot?!)

The Fighter and Black Swan are two great stories of finding strength from within in decidedly different ways. Between the two films, they’ll easily garner a dozen to a dozen and a half well-deserved Oscar nominations.

See them and see why.

President Hu appears to have a case of heart burn and getting burned!

President Barack Obama is one smooth and shrewd operator.

There was much mystery shrouding the small private dinner Obama held with China’s President Hu Jintao on Tuesday evening. The beltway was abuzz with who was attending and what the purpose was of the dinner held the day before an official state dinner. Now it has been revealed: the private dinner was about relieving a whopping $850 billion debt the United States owes to China!

Anonymous sources report that Tuesday’s private dinner included Hu, Barack and Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, actor Sally Kellerman, magician Doug Henning and Canadian rocker Geddy Lee of Rush. “It was a dream team of celebs and interesting personalities.”

“The menu was fabulous. Tossed green salad with iceberg and romaine lettuces, cherry tomatoes, sliced cukes, walnuts and dried craisins with a thick coat of Kraft French dressing. There were Pepperidge Farm rolls, too! The main course was tender beef tenderloins, green bean casserole topped with fried onions and those small seasoned potatoes. For dessert, pound cake slices loaded with strawberries and Cool Whip! It was an incredible feed, but the best part is what happened after dinner as Geddy Lee started performing a killer acoustic version of Tom Sawyer.”

“Obama coyly turned to Hu and told him what a gas it was to have him over, then he slipped the Chinese leader a bill for $850,000,000,000.00! He told Hu that in America we have a saying– ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ The President tells Hu that saying holds doubly true for dinner, so Hu owes us $850 billion for his tasty meal. Bam! Hu looked like he was about to die. He was one livid dude. Obama got him but good!”

The Obama ploy will erase a large portion of the U.S. debt to China. Sources say the President next plans to invite Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan to dinner.

Jay's in a vulnerable place; emotionally combustible even!

Comedian and NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno is tired of being played for the heavy.

Following Howard Stern’s recent admission to chat show host Piers Morgan that he did not like Leno “personally or professionally,” Jay began to cry like a child who is saddened by harsh criticism from Howard Stern.

“You’ve got to understand this about Jay Leno,” said a spokesman for the star, “he is a mega-talent who wants unconditional love from everyone. If he stabbed you in the back, he still wants you to love him for being a stepping stone for his ego and admit that you’ve been stabbed by the absolute best ever.”

To combat his negative perceptions, Leno plans to become “friends” with many of his adversaries. The spokesman reports that Leno has joined a new website on the internet called Facebook that allows people to openly pledge their friendships by requesting to “friend” one another. Leno has sent friend requests to Howard Stern, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

“Jay is confident that he can weasel his way back into the public’s heart by becoming friendly with his so-called enemies. It’s brilliant, really, when you think about it. But, you can’t expect anything less from a superstar like Jay Leno!”

OMIGAWD! I think I killed a mime!!!
I was on the corner waiting for a luxury sedan when a mime walks up (pretending like a strong wind was blowing) and starts giving me grief about having a clown in my lap–see, the angry mime’s a regular Lint Screen reader (he probably moves his lips as he does so) and he saw that picture of me with a clown in my lap (see below) and now he’s like really steamed because he thinks I like clowns way better than I like mimes and his wild gestures totally invade my personal space so what else can I do but pretend to pull out my imaginary semi-automatic (I have a right to bear imaginary arms) and give him a clip-full of reasoned debate and what-for and he falls to the ground and starts bleeding like Crazy McDaisy and I don’t think it’s pantomime bleeding cuz the sidewalk is all icky and I get scared and run down the street screaming and flailing my arms and now I’m huddled here in the J.K. Rowling section of the library shivering like a leaf of cabbage in a freezer with my laptop nestled in my lapal region wondering if I’m a stark raving killer who’s destined for resers in the crossbar motel and so I’m begging you PLEASE scrape together some bail $$$ cuz I think I’m gonna need it cuz I might have just killed me a mime, which I think is against the law…