That’s entertainment

Movies, music, telly and anything else that might be deemed entertaining (possibly Tasers)

It’s obviously a family trait

A sense of humour, that is. And we’re talking about the Carlin family.

George Carlin (you know, the stand-up comedian who did the “seven dirty words” routine) died last year. In an interview on recordonline.com his brother, Patrick, tells the tale of what happened to some of George’s ashes.

Carlin points to the ground beneath a thick pine tree, near a rustling stream.

“We put some of George’s ashes here,” he says in the same street-smart way of speaking as George, who died last June at 71. “And then a bear comes by and takes a big dump. When we called George’s daughter, Kelly, she says, ‘Oh, Dad would be so happy.’”

A pause.

“The whole family rejoiced.”

Love it! And apart from anything else, I guess it answers that age-old question: Do bears shit in the woods?

That reminds me of a conversation I had many years ago with someone I worked with who wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box. She asked me a rather obvious question, to which I replied “is the pope catholic?”

She stared at me for a moment and said: “I don’t know, I don’t really follow religion”.

Anyway, here’s a young George Carlin with part of the now infamous “seven dirty words” routine:

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The other guy won … it’s a conspiracy

Runner-up Adam Lambert. How the hell did that happen?

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

I love that the interweb is abuzz with conspiracy theories and online tantrums now that American Idol has wrapped up for another year.

In fact, the drama-rama online is almost better than the over-the-top warblings of contestant Tatiana del Toro, who had a severe case of her bladder being too near her eyes (as my old dear mum used to say). She’d break out the tears at the drop of a hat and had a laugh that sounded like a nervous turkey in December.

YouTube has a nice wee selection of her insanity so soak it up and just be thankful that, unlike the people who deal with her in the flesh, you have a volume control at your fingertips.

Before I go any further, let me say I was (and still am) an Adam Lambert fan but I refuse to call myself a Glambert, the term adopted by some of his online fans.

The other guy (you know, the dude who won) seems like a nice enough bloke with a nice enough voice but for me, he was just a wee bit forgettable. For the life of me I can’t remember any of his songs from the competition and I’ve gone blank on his name.

Anyway, back to the online fallout from the decision. Celebrity blogger/famewhore Perez Hilton is on his high horse over the fact that Lambert is what he calls a “publicly closeted homosexual”. I’m not quite sure what that actually means but it would appear Hilton has got the pip because Lambert won’t come straight out and say which team he bats for. Yawn, who cares.

The news that the boys from Queen were interested in working with him probably came as no surprise to most after hearing him sing with the band during the big finale (yes, I know the other guy was there too, but I couldn’t hear him sing so that doesn’t count). However, it did seem to upset the odd Queen fan, with one saying “i will never be listening to Queen ever again, i will delete all their music (sic)”.

I can almost hear them stamping their foot.

The theories are everywhere about why the other dude won: it was an anti-gay movement, it was the Bible-belters mobilising, it was rigged phone lines, it was set up that way from the start Put your tin-foil hats away people, it’s just the way the cards fell. Besides, the people who vote in these things aren’t necessarily the same people who will go out and buy the CDs when they are released: Chris Daughtry didn’t get past fourth place and he’s gone on to become Idol’s biggest success story.

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Be afraid, be very afraid

Mr Grumpy Pants himself, the lovely, nipple-fondling Simon Cowell plans to have himself cryogenically frozen when he gets … er … voted off the planet.

(Aside: C’mon, you must have noticed how he has that habit of fiddling with his own nipples when offering up judgements on the assorted Idol contestants).

Oooh, a Simon popsicle? That will make him even more nipple-icious.

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RIP James Whitmore

Actor James Whitmore died on Friday. He was 87.

He had a long career in Hollywood, with his first movie starring role coming in the 1949 movie Battlefield.

The most well-known of his more recent acting exploits would probably be in The Shawshank Redemption (playing the part of  Brooks Halten, the old bloke who couldn’t handle life on the outside).

He also starred in Them!, that awesome killer ant movie from the 1950s.  Call me a Johnny-Come-Lately, but the first time I was the movie was in (I think) the early 1980s. It screened on telly here one Sunday night as part of our public broadcaster’s “Sunday Horror” series of movies.

The following week, we got the first of the traffic lights that emit a sound to help blind people cross the street safely. It sounded exactly like the sound made by the ants.

I was impressed. Once I got over the shock and stopped looking over my shoulder for a giant, angry ant.

ON THE WEB:

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The master speaks …

Stephen King has got the teeny-boppers abuzz after sharing his thoughts on JK  Rowling (y’know, the Harry Potter guru) and Stephenie Meyer (yawn, Twilight … dammit, I’m so over hearing about Twilight every 2 minutes).

 Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.

I love it!

Oh, and how lucky is Lorrie Lynch, getting to interview him?

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… sing along now …

Remember Perez Hilton’s catchy wee ditty, The Clap? Well, he now has a video to go with it.

Check it out here.

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RIP John Martyn

British singer-songwriter-guitarist John Martyn — who released more than 20 albums of his own and worked with the likes of Eric Clapton, Dave Gilmour and Phil Collins — died on Thursday. He was 60.  

ON THE WEB:  

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Time for a singalong

Okay, so Britney’s back on the straight and narrow (for now) and has managed to get through the past few months without shaving her head, losing her undies or shagging anyone too inappropriate.  So well done Britney and Britney’s dad.

She’s also managed to make some music during that time. And although it pains me to say it, some of that music is quite catchy. Annoying, get-into-your-head, hear-it-once-and-you’ll-be-humming-it-all-day catchy. Yes, I realise a lot of music critics won’t agree with me but I really don’t care. It’s bubble-gum music but it’s still catchy.

Now it seems like everyone’s having a crack at Womanizer. This is my favourite copy thus far, by the All American Rejects (updated video since the one I had here disappeared from You Tube!):

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Letterman’s 10 best George Bush moments

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Grrrr … the cat’s been let out of the bag

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

Spoiler warning: the whinging of an aggrieved television viewer and web surfer follows. If you don’t want to hear me whinge, turn the page and check out the gardening tips now.

A perfectly nice week working in Christchurch last week was ruined when, upon reading the Press newspaper on Friday, I stumbled across a story and photo that proudly announced the winner of the latest season of American Idol, a television programme that has become one of my favourite guilty pleasures — you know, the one that as of last week on New Zealand TV screens still had five contestants battling it out for the top spot.

How mean is that, letting the cat out of the bag in such a casual manner? It will probably come as no great surprise to any of you that I spend a considerable amount of time online.

And yes, I know the wonderful world of the interweb is full of interesting and exciting information just waiting to be discovered by curious surfers, and I’m certainly curious. However, if I had wanted to know the result of Idol five weeks ahead of its scheduled screening on New Zealand TV, I would have looked it up myself.

You see, I like to be surprised by the programmes I watch. I know there are websites out there with all the plot twists for Grey’s Anatomy, weekly accounts of who Simon hated on Idol and all the goss on who’s doing who on Nip/Tuck.

However, I make an effort to avoid those sites because I like to be surprised by the goings-on on the wee screen.

Back in the old days, coal-miners used canaries as something of an early warning system. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane in the mine would kill the bird before affecting the humans so they knew if the canaries stopped singing, it was time to get the hell out of Dodge.

Southland Times television reviewer Maree Field acts as my canary in the online mine of information, warning me when to avoid some of my favourite websites — such as Perez Hilton and Go Fug Yourself.

She did her duty in an admirable manner last week, warning me that the lovely ladies of Go Fug Yourself had a photo from the grand final.

Sadly, it was too late, I’d already been ambushed with the result.

I’m happy with the result, just peeved that I know it. Last week’s elimination show lacked the excitement of earlier weeks, when I’d been on tenterhooks wondering if my favourite would survive to sing another day.

I guess I’ll have to satisfy myself with waiting for judge Paula Abdul to perform her weekly act of lunacy.

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MEET YOUR BLOGGER

Jillian "George" Allison-Aitken

I live in the deep south of New Zealand, where smelly dairy cows are taking over from sheep in the livestock stakes. My hometown is the small but perfectly formed city of Invercargill, which is also the hometown of the original boy racer, Burt Munro. Find out more about me here.

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