Riba Rambles:
Musings of a Mental Magpie

About the author: Elisabeth in early 2007, photo by Todd Belf
Elisabeth "Lis" Riba is an infovore with an MLS. This is her place to share whatever's on her mind, on topics both personal and political. [more]
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Saturday, June 07, 2008
Posted by Lis Riba at 11:00 PM
"Invisible Zamboni" — Miguel Tejada & Jose Offerman (05/14/2002) — Photo © Elise Amendola, AP; Caption by LR "Invisible Hoist" — Derek Jeter & Jason Varitek (10/16/2003) — Photo © Al Behrman, AP; Caption by LR
Friday, June 06, 2008
The best-educated Harry Potter convention?
Posted by Lis Riba at 7:11 AM

J.K. Rowling was commencement speaker at Harvard yesterday.

Here's the text of her remarks.

Also, a photo gallery of Harry Potter's Harvard. [Did you know Harvard has a manuscript by Nicolas Flamel?]

Thursday, June 05, 2008
I'm too busy for my blog
Posted by Lis Riba at 9:51 PM

Sorry that posting's been so light.

Here are a few links that have crossed my keyboard in the last week or so:

I've been somewhat disappointed that my haircut hasn't attracted enough attention.

I may re-dye it a more dramatic color to see if that helps...

Monday, June 02, 2008
Following Up
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:05 PM

Thinking further on the Bechdel Test, I realize that the two big summer blockbusters this year -- Iron Man and Indiana Jones both fail!

What does that say about Hollywood's warped worldview that nobody in the professional media has batted an eye at the lack of female characters in these movies, while they're openly impugning the manhood of any men in the theater.

Following up to Mark Evanier, I was criticizing the folks who put together that musical number for the 1979 Oscar telecast -- if it came across as an attack on Mr. Evanier, I apologize because that was not my intention.

"Singin' In the Rain" was not put in the medley hoping to get people worked up about Hollywood Revue of 1929 -- they included it because it's iconic for the movie Singin' In the Rain, for which it wasn't eligible.

Love is all around
Posted by Lis Riba at 7:55 PM

Melissa McEwan writes about the news coverage for Sex and the City, and how much of it has obsessed over the target audience -- women and gay men -- in an "Othering" manner.

It's hardly newsworthy when a blockbuster movie attracts an overwhelmingly male audience. Heck, I can think of major motion pictures where there's really only one female character in any of the leading roles.

But here's a film targeted towards women, and oooooh! how exotic.

I have neither seen the film nor intend to (I've never seen the TV series either), but I am curious about one matter.

In 1985, Alison Bechdel created the Mo Movie Measure (also known as the Bechdel Test) evaluating films by whether they:

  1. have at least two women in it, who
  2. Talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man.

So, can anybody confirm or deny:

Does Sex and the City pass the Bechdel Test?

Yay, 500!
Posted by Lis Riba at 7:40 AM
"Manny bein' Manny" — Manny Ramirez (04/17/2008) — Photo © Julie Jacobson, AP; Caption by LR "I haz a caption. Who needs ur intarwebs?" — Manny Ramirez (08/02/2005) — Photo © Elise Amendola, AP; Caption by LR
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Foxy Lady?
Posted by Lis Riba at 2:40 PM

Or just Crazy like a Fox?

Here's what my hair looks like after having it cut and colored:

I also learned, from the hairdresser, that this kind of style is known in the industry as "minking"

I'll confess, the red tips aren't quite as dramatically red as I'd hoped.

Though I'm not quite sure what to do about that. [Tips from those more experienced with the vagaries of haircoloring would be most welcome.]

An open letter to Mark Evanier
Posted by Lis Riba at 12:13 PM

[I'm also emailing this to him, but posting it publically so word gets around]

Yesterday, you posted a ten-minute medley from the 1979 Academy Award telecast of Steve Lawrence and Sammy Davis Jr. singing snippets of great songs that were introduced in movies but were somehow not even nominated for Oscars.

I listened with interest until they reached "Lucky Star" from Singin' in the Rain and realized that song wasn't eligible for an Oscar.

Only original songs are eligible for Academy Awards.

"Lucky Star" originally came from Broadway Melody of 1936. Singin' in the Rain was conceived as a vehicle for MGM's existing song catalog. The only original piece in the movie was "Moses Supposes."

It's one thing to advocate a change to the Oscar rules, but singing a lament to songs that weren't even eligible as if they'd been tragically overlooked -- it seems disingenuous and misleading.

And frankly, the current rules do make a certain amount of sense.

Do you want to see the Academy Awards dominated by rehashed Broadway hits?

How many historical set-pieces play the same classic tunes in the background? Do you want the Beatles eligible for a nomination every time a movie uses one of their songs?

Now, I do agree that recent Best Songs have been less-than-memorable. I really don't like the trend of commissioning one new song and only playing it over the closing credits in order to qualify. I'd much rather we have original music that was integral to the piece. And I've heard some rumors that there may be changes in that direction.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know, so your readers don't get the wrong impression about why some of these great songs weren't nominated.

Who Moved My Cheese?
Posted by Lis Riba at 11:15 AM

TOKYO (AP) - A homeless woman who sneaked into a man's house and lived undetected in his closet for a year was arrested in Japan after he became suspicious when food mysteriously began disappearing.



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