Separated at birth?

by Steve, August 12th, 2009


My coworker has me on a Bollywood crash course. Evidently, you don’t know Bollywood if you don’t know the classic 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam (The Emperor of the Mughals). This film has everything: love, war, music and dance. It was shot (mostly) in black and white, with critical scenes in Technicolor, then re-released in 2004 fully colorized.

When I watch “foreign” (i.e. non-U.S.) films, sometimes the actors start to seem familiar in strange ways. It took me a while to figure out that Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor) reminded me — a lot — of Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen). Turns out they were born within a year of each other.

Then I start to think the Anarkali (the beautiful Madhubala) looks a lot like Cher (Madhubala was about ten years older than Cher).


By the time I get to the end of the film, I’m sure I’ll find a match for Salim.

Sir! No Sir! screening Saturday

by Steve, February 23rd, 2009

Sir! No Sir!, the suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam, is being screened this Saturday as a benefit for the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee’s anti-war delegation to Venezuela.


  • Saturday February 28
  • Doors open at 5:30pm
  • Event begins at 6pm
  • Limited seating – Tickets: sliding scale $5 to $10
  • Musicians Union Hall, 325 NE 20th Ave., Portland, Ore.
  • For tickets call: Dan Shea 503.661.1317, or e-mail

Fundraiser for PCASC’s anti-war delegation is an effort to cultivate ties of international solidarity between activists for peace and social justice in the US and Venezuela.

Proceeds from this event will go to help send IVAW (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Against the War) along with a PCASC delegation as observers to witness and to report back on the recent elections, supports and oppositions to the Government of Venezuela. An event is being arranged in Caracas to have a Winter Soldier hearing (eyewitness reports by IVAW) on US policies that have endangered the lives of our military men and women and innocent Iraqi civilians leading to war crimes and reasons why members of IVAW are refusing to redeploy, or to further participate in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. IVAW is organizing active military soldiers to join them in building a GI resistance movement and to advocate for returning veterans rights, jobs, benefits and healing by working for peace and reintegration into our communities.

If you cannot attend or if the screening is sold-out but you want to help support this effort and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution you can write a check to Education WithOut Borders, earmark PCASC/IVAW 2009; mail to: EWOB, 19716 NE Flanders, Portland , OR 97230.

Thank you, Paul Newman

by Steve, September 28th, 2008

Paul Newman had some great scenes in his unbelievable 53-year cinematic career. Here’s one from Slap Shot (1977) with Strother Martin (in a twist on their roles in Cool Hand Luke). I love the way he acted with his eyes (Not safe for work!).

Besides being a great actor, Newman protested the war in Vietnam, was proud to be on Richard Nixon’s enemy list, and helped save The Nation when it faced economic troubles (here’s John Nichols on Newman in The Nation yesterday), among other things. And he did his own skating in Slap Shot. What more could you want from a guy?

Like Wacky Mommy said about him and Joanne Woodward, “It’s not like they were out taking off their panties in public and having nervous breakdowns in their SUVs.” No, Newman was a class act.

Thank you, Paul Newman for showing the world how to do it right. I’m going to go watch Slap Shot right now.

The Weight

by Steve, December 11th, 2007

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies… The Band with the Staple Singers, for your enjoyment.

Disney on Ice, Ogie Oglethorpe and Me

by Steve, November 17th, 2006

meSo yesterday I’m going for a cuppa joe with my cubie neighbor, and he mentions that he and the clan went to Disney on Ice the night before. I called the wife, and before I knew it we had tickets for last night’s show (half price thanks to the Entertainment book). The kids, they loved it. Well, “love” may not be the correct word. They were a bit overwhelmed, I think. Little guy, who was dumbfounded throughout the show, finally broke his silence on the way home. “I will always remember this day,” he said.

The show, Disneyland Adventure Featuring the Incredibles, was (predictably) long on tech and short on literary value. The whole “On Ice” genre is a little weird to me to begin with. There’s always this sense of forcing together elements that really don’t belong together. At a basic level, there’s some really good skating, but the kids don’t care about that. Nobody cheered for the double and triple jumps these guys and gals were landing in costume in the midst of props and lights and smoke. Then there’s the awkward attempt at retelling part of the movie. The outline of the script could be done in 25 words or less. Most dialog serves only to setup the next action sequence. There is no irony, no appeal to grown-up humor, and no subtlety whatsoever. Just a ton of flash and sizzle. But that’s all I expected, really, having once before experienced Toy Story 2 On Ice.

Anyway, here’s a late Thursday Thirteen, which I will call Thirteen Things About Disney on Ice:

1. Disney on Ice is produced under license by Feld Entertainment.

2. Feld Entertainment got their start in the circus, as owners of Ringling Bros.

3. In 1979, Feld bought the Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice.

4. In 1981, Feld produced the first Disney on Ice show, and has held the exclusive license for Disney on Ice shows ever since.

5. Feld Entertainment employs 450 professional skaters in 8 shows touring continuously world-wide.

6. Who are these skaters? Good question… In the early days, they employed well-known Olympic skaters, but today you won’t find the names of the skaters anywhere. Not on programs and not on Web sites. I did find this one interview with a member of the chorus ensemble of Toy Story 2 On Ice. She’s been doing the same show for four years. Sheesh. What a grind that must be.

Ogie Oglethorpe7. After all these years, and with all that crazy, overwhelming tech (lights! sound! pyrotechnics!), it still comes down to the pinwheel. In this show, it was performed by “robot copy” Syndrome’s army. During this, I leaned over to Wacky Mommy and whispered “Oglethorpe fucked her, you know.” She said “Huh?” “It’s true,” I said, “I heard it from a couple of guys. Ogilthorpe fucked the last girl on the pinwheel of the lce Stravaganza. That’s her, right there.” Then I yelled towards the ice, “Get yer butt in gear, for the love of Mike!” (I recorded the whole thing on my cell phone! No, seriously, if you don’t get the Slap Shot reference, you probably think I’m a real a-hole.)

8. If you want to skate with the anonymous hordes of Disney on Ice performers, you need to be 17 and have a high school diploma.

9. If you can’t skate, Feld may have an opportunity for you in Animal Care. You don’t need a diploma for this one. One area of responsibility is “manure pickup”.

10. If animal poop is a turn off, you may prefer the Circus Nursery Attendant position. One of the duties of this job is “Directs children in resting and toileting.” But you get to run away with the circus.

11. Disney on Ice has been performed in 45 countries on six continents.

12. Feld Entertainment is the single largest employer of figure skaters in the world.

13. “Well after that, we don’t have to go to Disneyland,” said Wacky Mommy on the train ride home. “Yes we do!” cried little miss missy. Damn it! Stupid sexy advertising!

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Hockey (and Spinal Tap)

by Steve, March 1st, 2006

Derek SmallsNo, seriously, if you take the view (as I do) that everything in life is metaphor, you can learn valuable life lessons in anything you do.
Reggie Dunlop
For instance, in a previous avocation as a musician, I played bass. In hockey, I play defense. (I’ve come to realize that I spent the first half of my adult life living “This is Spinal Tap.” Now as I enter the middle of life I’m living “Slap Shot.” In the words of Reggie Dunlop, “Fuck ’em.”)

If you’re not familiar with music and hockey, here are the similarities between bass players and defensemen:

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