Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

the weather in chicago

Mostly Cloudy

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Green is so yesterday

whatever you do, dont cut in line

Man killed over cutting in line at Manhattan food vendor cart

NEW YORK (AP) -- An argument that started over cutting in line at a popular Middle Eastern food vending street cart turned deadly when one man stabbed the other to death, police said.

Tyrone Gibbons, 19, of Short Hills, N.J., was standing in line at a falafel cart in midtown Manhattan at about 4 a.m. Saturday when he and his friends got into an argument with Ziad Tayeh, 23, about cutting in line, police spokeswoman Detective Theresa Farello said.

After a heated exchange, Gibbons and his friends got in their car, and Tayeh got in his, police said.

The fight erupted again a couple of blocks away, where the vehicles caught up with each other, and the victim was stabbed in the chest, police said.


Gibbons was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Tayeh, of Brooklyn, was picked up by police several blocks away and was being charged with second-degree murder, Farello said.

A woman who answered the telephone at Tayeh's Park Slope home on Sunday said she could not comment on the stabbing.

The food cart where the dispute started is known for its tasty Pakistani and Middle Eastern dishes, including its falafel, fried balls or patties of ground chickpeas usually stuffed into pita bread.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.


another hero dies

The man behind Celtics, cigars

There'll never be another like Red

Red Auerbach in 1962.
It was the night of another NBA opener a year ago, at the new Boston Garden, the one known as the TD Banknorth Garden. So it wasn't Red Auerbach's Garden at North Station in Boston, wasn't really the same place or the same parquet floor where Auerbach became the greatest basketball coach who ever lived. But it was the Celtics against the Knicks on this night, and it had been such an important rivalry once in pro basketball, even if both teams had been going the wrong way for a while. So we wanted the night to be special. And it was, because the old man showed up.

I had come down the hall from the visitors' locker room to say hello to Doc Rivers, an old friend who coaches the Celtics now. And there were a lot of people in his office that night one year ago, and one of them was Red Auerbach. He had been gravely ill a few months earlier, and no one expected him to make the opener. There he was.

"Why am I here?" he said. "Because they told me I wouldn't be, that's why."

There had been a time earlier in 2005 when we had been told to expect the worst, that he was in the hospital and on his way out. But he fooled everybody again. There was already a famous story going around about how he was in his hospital bed one day, and opened his eyes, and told an old friend sitting at his bedside, to come closer.

When the friend did the old man said, "I'll decide."

Meaning he would decide when it was time to go.

It was his time yesterday. He was 89 when his heart finally gave out. So he will not make another NBA opener this year.

That means this will be the first season in NBA history that opens without Arnold (Red) Auerbach. He was there when the league opened for business in 1946 and he was a part of that league all the way until yesterday. There has never been anybody bigger than this in the history of American sports.

He won nine championships coaching the Celtics, eight of them in a row. Nobody has won more. He won 938 regular-season games and led the world in victories until Lenny Wilkens finally passed him. He was Bill Russell and Bob Cousy and Sam and K.C. Jones. He made the trade that got the Celtics Russell. He drafted Larry Bird a year ahead of everybody. There was a draft day trade that got him Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. He went from being the best coach in league history to the best executive. He built a championship team around Russell and then in the '80s, he built another one around Bird with Parish and McHale. And if Len Bias hadn't died of a drug overdose, maybe a third championship era in Boston would have been built around him. That was another trade the old man made, and all it got him with Bias was the No. 1 pick in the draft. "That's the ache that will never go away," he said to me once, sitting in the little office he kept in downtown Washington, D.C. "Not just because of what might have been for the Celtics. What might have been for the kid."

His best friend was Paul Sann, the editor of the old New York Post when I went to work there covering the Knicks in 1975. Sann called Auerbach and said to be nice to the new kid. He only did that for the next 30 years. He was not just a giant of sports then. He was a friend of the family. He was so many days and nights of basketball conversation over those years I have lost count.

One night he was talking about one of those seven-game Finals the old Celtics always used to play. He said he was alone before Game 7, and he had given every pregame speech by then, pushed every button. He said he was out of words before the only game that mattered. He walked into the locker room and told the old Celtics sixth man, Frank Ramsey, "You give the pregame speech tonight."

Ramsey thought about it for a moment, stood up, walked up to the blackboard and wrote, "We win, $10,000. We lose, $5,000." He sat back down without saying a word.

"Greatest pregame speech I ever heard," Auerbach said.

Not everybody loved him. He and Red Holzman were not always the best of friends. He was still a giant of it all. There was even the time when Auerbach had gotten disgusted with the ownership of the Celtics, and Sonny Werblin thought he had talked him into coming to New York to run the Knicks.

It was a huge story at the time, in both New York and Boston, by the time Auerbach got on the shuttle to close the deal. Maybe the story got better over the years. Who knows what really happened that day? By the time the plane landed, Auerbach was staying in Boston.

"I was a Celtic," he said.

In the 1960s, he was the coach who started five black players in Boston, not because he wanted to make some statement about racial harmony in America, but because winning the game had made him completely color blind. He would take his chances with Russell and Satch Sanders and Willie Naulls and Sam and K.C. Jones. He had been at this a long time, all the way back to when he was 49-11 with the old Washington Capitols. The only thing that ever interested him, truly, was winning the game. A year ago, there was a moment when Doc Rivers said to him in his office, "Anything I can get you?"

And the old man said, "Yeah, one more banner hanging from the ceiling."

He looked as fragile as a teacup that night. Even the familiar growl of his voice sounded as if it was coming from another room. Then he went out and sat at one end of the court and they introduced him, and the old man got one more cheer in Boston. Not his Garden. But close enough. The old man died yesterday. Finally his time. He is survived by the most famous basketball team of them all.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

the weather in chicago


more controversy

NBC Rejects TV Ads for Dixie Chicks Film

Published: October 27, 2006

Filed at 9:26 p.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Citing its policy barring ads dealing with ``public controversy,'' the NBC network said on Friday it rejected a TV commercial for a new film documenting the furor over the Dixie Chicks' criticism of President George W. Bush.

Ads for the documentary ``Shut Up & Sing'' also were rebuffed by the smaller CW network, though local affiliates of all five major broadcasters, including NBC and CW, ran promotional spots for the film in New York and Los Angeles, the two cities where it opened on Friday.

The ad features footage of lead singer Natalie Maines declaring during a London concert in March 2003 that the band was ``ashamed'' to come from the same state -- Texas -- as Bush.

The film's distributor, the Weinstein Co., seized on the rejection of its spots as evidence of political censorship by NBC and CW and said it was ``exploring taking legal action.''

The studio provided media outlets copies of ``clearance'' reports from NBC's standards and practices department bearing handwritten notations stating the ads were deemed unacceptable because ``they are disparaging of President Bush.''

Similar documents from the CW cited ``concerns we do not have appropriate programing in which to schedule this spot.''

``It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America,'' studio co-owner Harvey Weinstein said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Weinstein, renowned for aggressive marketing tactics as former co-chief executive of Miramax Films, dismissed suggestions by several industry sources that his attack on NBC and CW amounted to a publicity ploy.

``The idea that we're making an issue of this for the sake of publicity is nonsense,'' she said. ``We're making an issue of this because we want the networks to run our ads.''

NBC, a unit of General Electric Co., and CW, a joint venture of CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. studio, denied they were engaging in political censorship.

NBC said it was merely following its ``policy of not broadcasting ads that deal with issues of public controversy.'' A CW spokesman said the press release issued by the Weinstein Co. was ``flat-out inaccurate, period.''

``We asked them where they wanted to air (the spot) on the network, and then they said, 'We don't have plans for a buy.' That's really all I can tell you.''

The studio said it is routine for movie distributors to seek advance network ``clearance'' for ads promoting limited-release films before deciding whether to proceed with a national advertising campaign.

A spokeswoman for the Dixie Chicks said the country pop trio were on tour in Canada and unavailable for comment.

But the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way weighed into controversy, saying NBC appeared to be trying to squelch political dissent less than two weeks before the mid-term congressional elections. ``This is a film about censorship, and now it sounds as though it's being censored,'' the group's president, Ralph Neas, said.

CBS and Fox, a unit of News Corp. Ltd. said they had approved the ads for network broadcast, but ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co. said it has not yet decided.

``Shut Up & Sing,'' directed by Cecilia Peck and Oscar winner Barbara Kopple, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the backlash sparked by Maines' anti-Bush outburst in 2003.

Maines later said she was sorry for ``disrespecting the office of the president'' but fanned flames anew when she retracted her apology in a Time magazine interview this year, saying: ``I don't feel he is owned any respect whatsoever.''

Many country music radio stations reacted by refusing the play the Chicks' records, and some even boycotted ads for their current ``Accidents & Accusations'' tour, leading the band to cancel numerous dates in the South and Midwest.

shut up and sing

On March 10, 2003, Natalie Maines fired a shot heard ’round the world. From a London stage, Ms. Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, declared, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.”

Her remark, uttered on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, when President Bush’s popularity was near an all-time high, had instant, negative repercussions. Overnight, the Dixie Chicks, America’s country-pop sweethearts, who had sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” less than two months earlier at the Super Bowl, found their music banished from much of country radio.

At angry rallies in the South, Dixie Chicks CD’s were gathered and destroyed, and Ms. Maines received death threats. How she, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison coped with the furor is the main subject of Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck’s documentary “Shut Up & Sing.”

On the surface, “Shut Up & Sing” is a modest film with no obvious axes to grind. As it follows the Dixie Chicks around for three years, it takes Ms. Kopple’s usual route and lets events speak for themselves. No talking heads appear to debate the politics of the Bush administration. Neither the group nor its manager, Simon Renshaw, sat for a formal interview.

Shifting back and forth between 2003 and the more recent past, as the trio prepares its newest album, “Taking the Long Way,” with the producer Rick Rubin, the movie offers a revealing case study of the relationship between politics, celebrity and the media in today’s polarized social climate. The hatred hurled at the Dixie Chicks seems outsized measured against an offhand remark at an overseas concert. As the Dixie Chicks would put it in their song “Not Ready to Make Nice”:

And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over.

The movie also brings up the skirmishes between the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith, the rowdy country star and superpatriot, which began in 2002 and heated up when Ms. Maines wore a T-shirt to the Academy of Country Music Awards bearing a four-letter acronym that could be interpreted as an obscene dig at him.

It all makes for a sad commentary on pop culture and public relations. The movie suggests how pop stars are marketed like politicians to targeted constituencies. Given the echo chamber of mass media feeding a public addiction to high drama, when an act like the Dixie Chicks goes against the beliefs of its “base” (to use a word favored by Republican strategists), reason is drowned out by noise, and there can be hell to pay.

The movie also implies that there is a double standard when it comes to celebrities’ speaking out: women are condescendingly assumed not to know their place.

The first question facing the Dixie Chicks after the incident: Should Ms. Maines eat her words and apologize? No way, she decides; she backtracks only so far as to say she supports American troops. The second question: Will the consequences of her decision rupture the solidarity of three women who call themselves a sisterhood? Another emphatic no.

To Ms. Maines’s surprise, the controversy doesn’t blow over in a week or two. The Dixie Chicks are forced to reassess their career and public image. Should they cultivate a blue-state audience? And if so, how far toward rock should they go? In their flashiest publicity stunt, they appear nude, their bodies stenciled with slogans, on the cover of Entertainment Weekly; they also go on the Bill Maher and Howard Stern shows.

The new album, “Taking the Long Way,” is finally released in May 2006 and sells one million copies within three weeks. But in the South the boycott persists. In a revealing scene of the concert business in action, ticket sales for a coming tour are monitored by computer from the moment they begin. It’s immediately apparent that sales in the South are weak, and so the itinerary is changed to take the group across Canada.

Although the movie focuses on Ms. Maines, it spends enough time with Ms. Maguire and Ms. Robison for us to get a sense of them. We meet Ms. Maguire’s twin daughters and observe the pregnancy of Ms. Robison, who had twins (a boy and a girl) in 2005. Ms. Maines has a historical perspective on it all. Coming from Lubbock, the birthplace of Buddy Holly, she recalls a time when Holly, an early rock ’n’ roller in a country music bastion, was no local hero.

The film’s generous helpings of the Dixie Chicks’ music culminate with thrilling performances of “The Long Way Around” and “Not Ready to Make Nice” from the recent album. Performing these anthems expressing passionate defiance and solidarity, the group has never sounded more vital and engaged.

“Shut Up & Sing” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for language.


Opens today in New York and Los Angeles.

Directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck; directors of photography, Christine Burrill, Luis Lopez, Seth Gordon, Gary Griffin and Joan Churchill; edited by Bob Eisenhardt, Jean Tsien, Aaron Kuhn and Emma Morris; music by the Dixie Chicks; produced by Ms. Kopple, Ms. Peck and David Cassidy; released by the Weinstein Company. Running tim


uly 30, 2006
Toronto Film Festival

Toronto – DIXIE CHICKS - SHUT UP AND SING, a powerful documentary from two-time Academy Award®- winning director Barbara Kopple (HARLAN COUNTY USA, AMERICAN DREAM) and director Cecilia Peck receives its world premiere as a Gala Presentation at the 31st Toronto International Film Festival in September.

With unprecedented access to the behind-closed-doors world of celebrities in the center of a political and pop culture storm, DIXIE CHICKS - SHUT UP AND SING provides a view of the real and raw emotional roller coaster of three strong women thrust into the turbulent center of a national debate. This is the first time in 14 years that the Festival has featured a documentary as a Gala Presentation.

On stage at a 2003 London concert, Natalie Maines, lead singer of Texan trio the Dixie Chicks, spoke these 15 words to a small audience at the start of their sold-out international tour: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." The comment was delivered on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, and drew cheers from the decidedly anti-war and anti-Bush British crowd. It was an off the cuff remark typical of the lead singer’s temperament. Natalie and fellow Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, thought little of it. But history and this film demonstrate that at this heightened moment of political polarization in the United States, many people did care, and empowered this simple, yet loaded remark to carry serious and longstanding ramifications.

DIXIE CHICKS – SHUT UP AND SING travels with the Chicks, from their peak of popularity as the national anthem-singing darlings of country music and top-selling female recording artists of all time, through the now infamous anti-Bush comment, and on through the days, months and years of mayhem. The film follows the lives and careers of the Chicks through the writing and recording of their first album since “the incident” – and three years of political attack, making music, birthing babies, bonding, death threats, and laughter. At the end, the film presents a complete reconsideration of who people think they are, who they want to be and who, ultimately, they really are as women, as public figures, and as musicians.

Directed and produced by Barbara Kopple and Cecila Peck, DIXIE CHICKS – SHUT UP AND SING is a presentation of Cabin Creek Films


Writer and Director Will Confer at Home

Published: August 27, 2006

THE director Jo Bonney is watching Eric Bogosian tear up the script of his play “SubUrbia.”

Rip, rip, rip. There go Pages 103 and 104 of the nine-character ensemble piece about young people lost, longing and addled as they head into their 20’s, afraid they’ll never escape the suburban mallscape where they have come of age. They feed off hunks of anger and frustrated idealism as thick and unhealthy as the pizza slices they buy from the Pakistani owner of an unidentified convenience store. As they hang out in his parking lot, their Rollerblades at the ready, their self-confidence is under siege and their jealous suspicion of outsiders ratchets up to racism and violence. They’re waiting not for Godot but for Pony, a former schoolmate nearing the brass ring as a rock musician who drops by in a limo with his publicist.

But the play was written in 1994, and as Ms. Bonney and Mr. Bogosian prepare for a new production at the Second Stage Theater next month, he brings in pages that are reworked to take into account the reality she wants reflected in the piece, about an American anyplace where everything, yet nothing, has changed. He really gets into shredding the old pages in front of his director and the somewhat awestruck young cast.

“Or maybe we should just autograph them and sell them at a benefit somewhere,” Mr. Bogosian, 53, said in a satirical aside. Ms. Bonney merely smiled a tolerant smile.

The actors include the likes of Jessica Capshaw and Kieran Culkin, no strangers to celebrity’s wattage. Nevertheless they seem fascinated to see this famous progenitor of bad-dudeness — writer and performer of “Drinking in America,” “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” and other genre-altering solos — at the professional beck and call of a respected, versatile and in-demand director, his wife.

Like, wow. Mr. “Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead” is married.

Yet the fact of their marriage was precisely why Ms. Bonney says she didn’t want to direct the play.

“That was a real stumbling block for me,” she said. “I had to eliminate knowing Eric. If I’d never met him, what would I think of this play? For so long my personal and professional lives have been separate: we would go off and work apart, then come together at the end of the day.”

Ms. Bonney, a graphic artist by training, got her start as a director inadvertently, helping Mr. Bogosian in the 1980’s on the acts with which he first made his name. But in recent years she has moved on, with notable success, to diverse ensemble works like Lisa Loomer’s “Living Out,” Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July,” Neil LaBute’s last two plays and this year’s hip-hop adaptation of Euripides, “The Seven.”

“There was this thing where our kids were older, and I could be Jo Bonney, in brackets, director, rather than, in brackets, wife of Eric Bogosian,” she said.

The notion of having Ms. Bonney direct “SubUrbia” came from Carol Rothman, the artistic director of Second Stage, where Ms. Bonney is an artistic associate. “We circled around it for two or three months,” Ms. Rothman said, “but I knew it was right for her. It has a large cast — she loves that — and it’s political.”

When Ms. Bonney and Mr. Bogosian met 26 years ago — he a caustic refugee from Woburn, Mass., she a hip Australian art-school graduate circling the globe and on her way to South America — both were avid participants in the downtown punk scene, sharing a commitment to anti-establishment culture and social change. They still do, as well as a belief in theater’s concomitant role.

Wait — South America? “I never knew that,” Mr. Bogosian said. Two teenage sons, a tranquil country house and breakfasts near home at Bubby’s in TriBeCa later, “she can still surprise me,” he said. “Whereas if I come up with a story she hasn’t heard, it’s a good day for me.”

The choreographer Bill T. Jones has known the couple since those early days and collaborated with Ms. Bonney on “The Seven.” “Jo wants to do what’s worth doing,” he said. “She takes on tough projects that come from the fringe and gives them new life in a way that helps move them into a position where they can encounter a wider audience.”

The original “SubUrbia,” with a cast that featured Martha Plimpton and Steve Zahn, managed the rare feat of drawing an MTV-conditioned audience to Lincoln Center Theater. In the intervening years it has become a staple of college theater and drama-school auditions. The actor Daniel Eric Gold, who plays Jeff, a would-be writer paralyzed by his ambivalent desire to make something of himself, directed and acted in the play as his senior thesis at Pennsylvania State University. Yet under Ms. Bonney and Mr. Bogosian “it’s like a new play,” he said. “It feels even more relevant. Kids in suburbia now have the Internet, and because it connects them to the outside, they feel even more stuck because they can see the larger world.”

MS. BONNEY said the context of politics and history made the greatest difference, more than any changes she or Mr. Bogosian had brought to bear. “What’s remarkable is how little in the play had to be changed,” she said. Still, as an observer of cultural tidings, Mr. Bogosian continues to update the play with small nuggets: a reference to “The Da Vinci Code,” here a nod to Eve Ensler, there a mention of Darfur.

Ms. Bonney has contributed a subtle shift with the set, no longer a rundown 7-Eleven but “one of those pristine, aluminum-gridded stores we see driving through New Jersey or Massachusetts,” she said. The bleak, dead-end mind-set of much of the teenage generation, she said, remains what it was in the 90’s — or the 70’s, when Mr. Bogosian hung at the Woburn strip mall that inspired the play — but the “cookie-cutter” quality of the surroundings is more threatening and depressing.

All the stores look exactly the same,” she said. “They have no character.” Take into account 9/11 and six years of a presidential administration representing Ms. Bonney’s and Mr. Bogosian’s worst political nightmares, and “SubUrbia” seems altered almost beyond recall. “It shows what history has done to us,” Ms. Bonney said.

Nazeer and Pakeeza, the Pakistani brother and sister who run the store, for instance, “have been dogged by events bigger than themselves,” she said. “Just the decision about whether they’re going to call the cops is so loaded, because the I.N.S. is such a presence now.” Suddenly the word terrorist is among the epithets the local teenagers hurl at them. And, unlike in 1994, these same thoughtless kids “could be sent off to war,” Ms. Bonney said.

For Tim, the alcoholic military dropout, Mr. Bogosian said he felt he had to create a glancing back story that “goes into Operation Iraqi Freedom but also explains why he didn’t see active duty.”

Manu Narayan, who plays Nazeer, “SubUrbia’s” immigrant conscience, added that in the new version: “Nazeer talks about the political situation in Pakistan and how a change of regimes affected certain classes of people, who had to leave the country. You understand why these people want to live here, which is more important to them than their religion.”

As for Pony, whether Mr. Bogosian and his vegetable-gardening, doting-father self likes it or not, Ms. Bonney said, the incipient rock star and the writer who imagined him into being are one and the same. Both were “suffocating in small places and had to get out, be allowed to be themselves and dangerous,” she said.

That residual sense of brooding anger is what led the playwright and television writer Warren Leight, who goes back 25 years with the couple, to push for casting Mr. Bogosian as the police Captain Cross in the new season of NBC’s “Law & Order, Criminal Intent,” on which Mr. Leight is also a co-executive producer.

“Eric just has to stand there, and the subtext comes across,” Mr. Leight said with a laugh. “You can tell his character has axes to grind, that it wasn’t easy for him coming up through the force. Eric wanted me to make sure Cross carries a gun. He’s probably packing now.”

More stage work is in the offing too. Though Mr. Bogosian said he was “done with the solo performance thing,” the actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz of the Labyrinth Theater Company have persuaded him to reprise a recent semi-solo piece next spring. Last year at the Labyrinth, which Mr. Bogosian has since joined, Mr. Hoffman directed him in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” as a gentleman by the name of Satan. “I was really intimidated about meeting him,” Mr. Hoffman recalled. “I mean, he was an iconic figure to us, he’s the guy. But he’s embodied the idea of the company, to be worker among workers, and he couldn’t be more self-effacing.”

The new show will be running around the same time that Ms. Bonney directs Mr. LaBute’s latest, followed by Alan Ball’s first play in 12 years, “All That I Will Ever Be,” at the New York Theater Workshop. And then a new production of “Talk Radio” arrives on Broadway, starring Liev Schreiber.

It will be another opportunity to look in the mirror of Mr. Bogosian’s career, as has happened on this project. “What’s interesting to me working on ‘SubUrbia,’ ” he said, “is that the guy I was 12 years ago was fascinated with the whole topic of fame and fortune — I was just coming off a period of pretty strong stuff like that — but that’s not the leading plane of it for me anymore. Not to sound pretentious, but I’ve been reading ‘The Three Sisters’ again lately, and looking at the way Chekhov paid such close attention to character. Which is what Jo is also so good at, the earned small beats, the little nuances. And no director I’ve ever worked with is as precise about the writing. She won’t let you cover up the flaws.”

He is not alone in this opinion.

“Jo is quick to dismiss and exile anything in the writing that isn’t top-notch,” Mr. LaBute said.

That’s where the sound of ripping paper comes in.

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 26, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 26, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Thomas Paine was a zealous insurrectionary. He wrote incendiary pamphlets that helped ignite and sustain America's struggle for independence from Great Britain. Early in his life, however, he worked making women's girdles, which are among the most constrictive and oppressive garments in the history of the world. Do you think there was a connection between his two gigs? Like maybe his later struggle for liberation was an unconscious atonement for his youthful labors? That's my hypothesis. In the coming week, Capricorn, I suggest you instigate a Thomas Paine-like boomerang. Think of something you did in the past that constricted your spirit or squeezed other people's possibilities. Use that memory as a launching pad as you unleash a brilliant stroke in the name of abundance and expansiveness. Halloween costume suggestion: freedom fighter.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dems strike back for Senator Clinton

Pals: Look who's talking

Rangel rushes to Hillary's side in cutting swipe at foe


Sen. Hillary Clinton's pals rushed to her defense yesterday, blasting John Spencer's comments about her appearance and suggesting that maybe - just maybe - he shouldn't be throwing any stones.

"Before he made those comments, I never knew who the hell Spencer was. So at least he got his name in the paper," Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) said of the leathery former Yonkers mayor running to unseat Clinton.

"He could take the plastic surgery," Rangel added. "She is a good-looking gal; she doesn't need it."

Clinton, meanwhile, continued to laugh off Spencer's speculation that she's had work done on her face.

"I've earned every one of these lines and wrinkles - and I'm going to keep them," she said emphatically as she picked up some key endorsements from police unions on Long Island.

Spencer's ill-considered personal comments to a Daily News political columnist have garnered him more attention in the last two days than any attempt he ever made to discuss issues. He's been on national TV more in those 48 hours than in his entire prior career.

And the state Democratic Party kept the flap going by releasing a series of comments by prominent New York Democratic women trashing Spencer.

"John Spencer's comments about Sen. Clinton are an embarrassment to New Yorkers of every party," said former Rep.Geraldine Ferraro (D-Queens), who battled political sexism when she ran for veep in 1984.

"Does anyone think if John Spencer were running against a man he would be making comments about her appearance?" Ferraro asked. "I think New Yorkers know the answer."

"These were desperate statements from someone who is losing," Assemblywoman Annette Robinson (D-Brooklyn) said. "These personal attacks on her are beneath the dignity of a Senate race."

Meanwhile, Spencer spokesman Rob Ryan appeared to want to keep the story alive, too.

While Spencer initially said the story was "fabricated," Ryan tried a new tack, suggested that saying someone had "work" done could just mean hair and makeup.

Jon Spencer is playing school yard tactics

Clinton foe: 'Whew' she was hideous before 'work'

The race for New York senator's now personal. GOP hopeful John Spencer has attacked Hillary Clinton's looks, telling a reporter he doesn't know "why Bill married her."
Clinton in '69 at Wellesley College.
Hillary Clinton's Republican challenger is getting personal and it's not pretty: He says the senator used to be ugly - and speculates she got "millions of dollars" in plastic surgery.

"You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew," said John Spencer of Clinton's younger days.

"I don't know why Bill married her," he said of the Clintons, who celebrated their 31st anniversary this month.

Noting Hillary Clinton looks much different now, he chalked it up to "millions of dollars" of "work" - plastic surgery.

"She looks good now," he said.

Spencer's bizarre comments came during a conversation with a reporter seated beside him and his wife, Kathy, on the 10:30 a.m. JetBlue flight Friday to Rochester, the site of the race's first debate.

In the wide-ranging chat, he also declared that his GOP running mate, attorney general hopeful Jeanine Pirro, was going to lose.

Howard Wolfson, an aide to Clinton, who turns 59 Thursday, said the senator has never had plastic surgery. But he declined otherwise to respond to Spencer's comments.

But Spencer's words crossed a political line that he has struggled to avoid during his underdog campaign against the former First Lady, a politician who inspires strong feelings among fans and foes alike.

He has limited most of his official comments to criticisms of Clinton for her doubts about the Iraq war, her opposition to tax cuts and her presidential ambitions.

In fund-raising letters, he has used more openly hostile language, allowing Clinton's aides to portray him as "angry" and out of control.

But few of Spencer's comments have been outside American political norm - and none before Friday had touched on Clinton's private life or personal appearance.

During yesterday's debate, he said there's nothing personal about their differences.

"I happen to like Hillary Clinton," he said, even declaring she would make a "tremendous" Democratic presidential candidate.

His remarks on Friday, though, show just how personal this campaign is to Spencer, a Vietnam vet who has always seen this campaign through the lens of a war he fought in and the Clintons protested.

His comments on her appearance came during a sporadic conversation as Spencer checked out the television on the seat in front of him ("My man Columbo's on!") and then settled into reading The New York Times. (In his words, "Checking in on the enemy.")

Spencer, the former mayor of Yonkers, dwelt at length on the contrast between his direct, honest and unfiltered style - and what he sees as the phony, controlled and staged nature of much of American politics.

"What's the matter with ruffling feathers?" he asked at one point.

The remarks about Clinton's looks followed a conversation about Pirro.

With a New York magazine story about Pirro's troubled marriage open in his wife's lap, Spencer offered some sympathy for his GOP running mate.

"Very bright woman," he said of Pirro, whom he once accused of using her old post as Westchester district attorney to probe enemies and shield allies.

He blamed her recent problems on her reliance on handlers and consultants.

Spencer had less kind words for her husband, Al, whose crimes, misdemeanors and ill-timed remarks have dogged her campaign against Andrew Cuomo.

"S-A-D, sad," Spencer said of Al Pirro, saying his own status as a recovering alcoholic helped him understand what he called Pirro's egotism.

"He's like a 12-year-old," he said.

"And Andy Cuomo's going to win," Spencer added.

A spokesman for Jeanine Pirro did not immediately comment.

Spencer is a Jerk and behind by 70 points

At Least He Didn't Call Her a Lesbian

WCBS reports that Spencer told the Journal News of the debates, "As long as I don't call her a lesbian, I'm okay."

Unclear from the story whether he's denying that too, or not.

Also, check out the re-run of NY1's Inside City Hall tonight at 10:30 (if you missed its airing just now) to see Spencer concede that, well, um, he actually said the things he's claiming I "fabricated."
Opponent denies calling Clinton ugly
Yahoo News via AP ^ | Mon Oct 23 | MARC HUMBERT

Posted on 10/23/2006 7:59:49 PM PDT by indcons

Sen. Hillary Clinton's Republican challenger on Monday flatly denied telling a reporter that Clinton was unattractive when she was younger and suggesting she had had "millions of dollars" of "work."

John Spencer, a former Yonkers mayor, acknowledged talking to the reporter during a flight on Friday but said he didn't make the statements attributed to him in Monday's New York Daily News.

"It's a fabrication. I would never call Hillary Clinton ugly," Spencer told The Associated Press. "That's outrageous. I didn't do it."

The reporter, Ben Smith, told the AP that Spencer made the comments as Spencer, his wife and Smith sat together. He said he didn't tape-record the comments but did take notes.

"You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew. I don't know why Bill married her," The Daily News quoted Spencer as saying about Clinton.

Spencer said Clinton looks different now, chalking it up to "millions of dollars" of "work," according to the tabloid.

"She looks good now," he is quoted as saying.

Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said Clinton has had no plastic surgery or similar appearance-enhancing work.

"Sadly, this is just the latest in a long line of insulting and offensive comments that John Spencer has made throughout his career, and it's unfortunate that he has chosen to run a campaign based on personal attacks," the Clinton aide said.

Polls have shown Clinton far ahead of Spencer in the Senate race.

In their second debate on Sunday, Spencer said he "liked" Clinton and that she would make a "tremendous" candidate for president, although he also said he would never vote for her.

The Clintons recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. She turns 59 on Thursday.

my chapin friends Bobbi and Sally

Mutts take on food nation

take some time to shmell the flowers

Prospero the Magnificent

the weather in chicago

Partly Sunny

personality Tests

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (60%) moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Orderliness (56%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.
Extraversion (70%) high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Are Somewhat Overweight

Your BMI is 26.8 - a healthy BMI falls between 18.5 and 25

While you aren't obese, you could use to lose a few pounds (unless you're very muscular).
Your BMI puts you at a slightly higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Don't starve yourself or crash diet. See a doctor to learn how to lose weight safely.

Don't agree? Blame the government standards we based this test on!

the weather in chicago


fall comes to MUTTS

helping the birds fly south

my favorite new TV SHOW

Ugly Betty

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 19, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 19, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
You may not have God on your side, but you've got the next best thing. Invisible means of support will soon become visible. Life may even give you permission to have your cake and eat it too. I'll go so far as to speculate that you'll be the beneficiary of a conspiracy to help you achieve goals you didn't even know you needed to achieve. In light of the fact that you will have most of the help you could possibly require, I can think of only one piece of advice that might prove useful: Being a little rowdy or impish could give your goodness greater impact.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

woman gets ticket for anti bush bumper sticker


Woman Sues Over Ticket for Anti-Bush Bumper Sticker

ATLANTA (Oct. 17) - A woman who was ticketed for having an obscene anti-President Bush bumper sticker filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday against DeKalb County and its officials.

Denise Grier, 47, of Athens, Ga., got a $100 ticket in March after a DeKalb County police officer spotted the bumper sticker, which read "I'm Tired Of All The BUSH*T." (The actual bumper sticker didn't delete any letters.)

Although a DeKalb judge threw out the ticket in April because the state's lewd decal law that formed the basis for the ticket was ruled unconstitutional in 1990, Grier is seeking damages for "emotional distress" against the county, according to the lawsuit.

Grier also seeks a declaration in federal court that her bumper sticker is considered protected speech under the First Amendment because she is "uncertain and insecure regarding her right to display her bumper sticker in DeKalb County," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

"This type of sarcasm in relation to political figures is as old as the country," said her attorney, Frank Derrickson. "We think this bumper sticker is just the latest example of this. We want to be assured that not just Ms. Grier but anyone who wants to have fun with the powers that be should be able to do that under the First Amendment."

Grier, a nurse who works at Emory University and other hospitals, also is seeking punitive damages against the DeKalb police officer who gave her the ticket because he "acted with reckless disregard" of her rights, the lawsuit said.

The state law prohibited lewd or profane stickers and decals on vehicles. A phone message to the office of DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones was not immediately returned Monday.

Derrickson said Grier still has the anti-Bush bumper sticker on her car.

"I think she's got better ones than that, at least the ones that I saw," he said.

deliver us from Evil

Producer: Amy Berg, Hermas Lassalle, Frank Donner
Screenplay: Amy Berg
Cinematographer: Jacob Kusk, Jens Schlosser
Editor: Matthew Cooke
Sound: David Streefkerk
Music: Mick Harvey, Joseph Arthur, The Saturday Music Group

Over the past decade, the Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of shocking scandals involving priests accused of molesting young children of both sexes. The fallout has been significant: apart from the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed from church coffers to settle the legal cases, the judgment of the institution and its senior bishops has been seriously called into question.

Director Amy Berg has been a producer for CBS News and CNN. Her first feature documentary delivers a shattering and revealing account of the human cost of this issue. She tells the story of Father Oliver O’Grady, a notorious pedophile who used his position – as well as his Irish charm – to rape and abuse members of dozens of Catholic families across northern California over a twenty-year period. His victims ranged from a nine-month-old infant to the middle-aged mother of another adolescent victim. Astonishingly, despite ample signs and warnings as to his proclivities, the Church moved him from one parish to another, covering up the reality of what was going on from both the unsuspecting members of each new community and from the police. Church documents prove that, beginning in 1973, his evil deeds were done with their full knowledge.

The most astonishing thing about Deliver Us from Evil is O’Grady’s participation in the film. Now living in Ireland, he agreed to cooperate fully and this casts an entirely novel light on the subject. Berg meticulously leads us through the past of these heinous incidents and into the present. O’Grady has his story to tell, and our shifting feelings about him over the course of the film make for a fascinating journey. We also hear the other side of the story, as his victims relate how his actions shattered their lives and their families. These scenes contain extremely powerful and emotional footage; the true cost of one man’s sickness is laid bare for us all to see. Berg certainly does not pull her punches when it comes to the Catholic Church, which betrays itself as an institution still unprepared or unwilling to confront the issue fully. There is no denying the justifiable outrage one feels when confronted with this story.

Amy Berg was born in Los Angeles. She has researched, written and produced documentary segments for programmes on CNN, CBS News and ABC News on topics including sexual assault, battered women, poverty, social welfare and medical research. Deliver Us from Evil (06) is her film directing debut.

Monday, October 16, 2006

the weather in chicago


Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Roches at The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary
240 Southern Blvd.
Chatham, NJ


Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.

If that sounds like a recipe for serious gloom and doom -- think again. From director Davis Guggenheim comes the Sundance Film Festival hit, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on a last-ditch, all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change. In this eye-opening and poignant portrait of Gore and his "traveling global warming show," Gore also proves himself to be one of the most misunderstood characters in modern American public life. Here he is seen as never before in the media - funny, engaging, open and downright on fire about getting the surprisingly stirring truth about what he calls our "planetary emergency" out to ordinary citizens before it's too late.

With 2005, the worst storm season ever experienced in America just behind us, it seems we may be reaching a tipping point - and Gore pulls no punches in explaining the dire situation. Interspersed with the bracing facts and future predictions is the story of Gore's personal journey: from an idealistic college student who first saw a massive environmental crisis looming; to a young Senator facing a harrowing family tragedy that altered his perspective, to the man who almost became President but instead returned to the most important cause of his life - convinced that there is still time to make a difference.

With wit, smarts and hope, ultimately brings home Gore's persuasive argument that we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue - rather, it is the biggest moral challenges facing our global civilization.

Paramount Classics and Participant Productions present a film directed by Davis Guggenheim,
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Featuring Al Gore, the film is produced by Laurie David, Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns. Jeff Skoll and Davis Guggenheim are the executive producers and the co-producer is Leslie Chilcott.

you can take the girl outta brooklyn but you cant take brooklyn outta the gurl

Babs goes brooklyn on audience heckler and tells him to shut the F**K up

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the guys counting leaves

the weather in chicago

Light Rain

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 12, 2006

Capricorn Horoscope for week of October 12, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
My Hollywood spies tell me that one of the new products placed in the gift bags for the celebrities at the Emmy Awards show was Oxyfresh's Pet Oral Hygiene Solution, a breath-freshening spray for dogs, cats, monkeys, and other beloved animals. It would be a good week, astrologically speaking, for you to obtain this product for the creatures in your life. More than that, though, it will also be a favorable time for you to scout out promotional opportunities for your own unique product or talent. How can you get your specialty into the hands of ripe prospects who don't know about it yet?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

streisand dropped the FBOMB

Streisand’s outburst spoils triumphant return
Singer shouts expletive at heckler during anti-Bush skit during NYC show

NEW YORK - It was an evening that elicited tears, standing ovations, raucous laughter and shouts of joy from the audience — and was just in the first few minutes.

Yes, Barbra Streisand’s return to touring after a 12-year absence was the extravaganza that it promised to be. Monday night’s show at Madison Square Garden was the third stop of a 20-city jaunt across the nation — a virtual lovefest between the ultimate diva and an adoring, sold-out, celebrity-dotted crowd.

Streisand effortlessly crooned through a select repertoire of the hits she’s amassed during her four-decade-plus career. But the night’s most riveting moment came during what was perhaps the only unscripted — and truly uncomfortable — episode in the three-hour show.
There was Streisand, enduring a smattering of very loud jeers as she and “George Bush” — a celebrity impersonator — muddled through a skit that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot.

Though most of the crowd offered polite applause during the slightly humorous routine, it got a bit too long, especially for a few in the audience who just wanted to hear Streisand sing like she had been doing for the past hour.

“Come on, be polite!” the well-known liberal implored during the sketch as she and “Bush” exchanged zingers. But one heckler wouldn’t let up. And finally, Streisand let him have it.

“Shut the (expletive) up!” Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause. “Shut up if you can’t take a joke!”

With that one F-word, the jeers ended. And the message was delivered — no one gets away with trying to upstage Barbra Streisand, especially not in her hometown.

Once the outburst (which Streisand later apologized for) was over, Streisand noted that “the artist’s role is to disturb,” and delivered a message of tolerance before launching into a serenely beautiful rendition of “Somewhere.” That put the focus back on what the audience came for — her voice, one of the greatest female instruments of her generation.

Streisand’s voice, at once soaring and soothing, doesn’t seem to have been affected much by her long layoff from performing. Earlier in the evening, she seemed to fall short of her full potential — moments where she once belted a tune she now seemed to simply sing at a steady register. But once the evening progressed, she got stronger, such as for her performance of one of her biggest hits, “People.”

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

babs in NYC

newday review

Barbra reborn at concert
Streisand returns to city roots in Garden song, political fest

October 10, 2006

Barbra Streisand isn't one for surprises.

From the rose-filled vases on the stage perimeter to the half-dozen TelePrompTers scattered throughout Madison Square Garden to ease her worry about forgetting lyrics, Streisand has it all planned out. Only a handful of artists could make such intense scripting work, but she is definitely one of them.

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Unlike earlier shows on the tour, Streisand was in fine voice from the moment she began "Starting Here, Starting Now," as she appeared in the middle of her 55-piece orchestra. And her skill at phrasing showed in the intricate twists of "Come Rain or Shine" and the subtle reworking of "The Way We Were."

For her first New York concert in six years -- since, you know, the one that was supposed to be her final live concert performance ever -- Streisand was determined to give the crowd what it wanted. "I still think of myself as a New Yorker," said Streisand, who plays the Garden tomorrow as well. "Go Mets!"

That New York attitude emerged later in the show, too. After a skit that poked fun at President George W. Bush, and a man yelled taunts at her, she said, "Shut the -- -- up if you can't take a joke," and then offered to return his money.

Politics aside, Streisand's show was, on the whole, well-paced and elegantly executed. She drew heavily from 1967's "Funny Girl," including an energetic "Don't Rain on My Parade" and the show-stopping ballad "My Man."

Her return was sparked by a desire to raise money for The Streisand Foundation, which will make contributions to health and education issues, as well as fight global warming, taking a bit of the sting out of tickets priced between $100 and $750. Streisand's return also gives her a platform for her political views, which, to no one's surprise, run counter to the Bush administration.

Her political skit, where a Bush look-alike spouts ridiculous ideas like selling off Canada to balance the budget, is harmless enough. The problem comes when "Bush" sings "Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy" with her, ruining one of her best songs.

The other main problem is bringing Il Divo, the multi-culti pop-opera hunks, into her show. Not only were they unnecessary, but the quartet brought the momentum to a halt when their mini-set was injected into the middle of Streisand's set. They also stomped on the lovely "Evergreen" with their over-singing, a feat they duplicated on another of her showcase songs "Somewhere."

It's a tribute to Streisand's mastery as a performer that she could build the energy level back after each of these setbacks, using a mix of familiar and unexpected songs. In a lesser singer's hands, a song like "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?" could come off schmaltzy, but Streisand made it gripping and emotional.

After six years, she hasn't lost anything off her game. Maybe her surprise will be how comfortable she looks onstage and how much she enjoyed performing aga


Streisand at MSG

Music Overpowers Streisand's Many Missteps

Published: October 10, 2006

Barbra Streisand took a carefully plotted step down from the imperial pedestal she has occupied for decades at Madison Square Garden last night and stumbled. The biggest miscalculation was the appearance, late in the show, of a George W. Bush impersonator (Steve Bridges) who Ms. Streisand, an ardent Democrat, interrogated in a tone that tried to be witty, and failed.

How would the president erase the national debt? Sell Canada; they don’t use half of it, he replied. “If I cared about polls,” he remarked, “I would have run for President of Poland.” And so on.

The tepid segment mercifully ended after the two joined voices for an unfunny spoof of the famous Judy Garland-Streisand duet of “Get Happy,” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

When Ms. Streisand stopped talking and started singing, she was her old self.

Accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra, she performed more than two dozen songs that encompassed most of her career. Missing were her hits with the Bee Gees, with whom she reunited on her last studio album, “Guilty Pleasures” (Columbia), and songs from her film “Yentl.”

Most heavily represented was “Funny Girl,” (both the show and the movie) in a thrilling end of Act 1 suite that peaked with three ballads: “The Music That Makes Me Dance,” “My Man,” and “People,” all beautifully sung.

One of the pleasures of a Streisand concert is hearing this diva of divas live, her voice unembellished by “improvements” carried out in the recording studio.

In her drive for technical perfection, Ms. Streisand has a longstanding tendency to apply too many coats of aural varnish to her records.

She should realize that sounding like an imperfect human being is more expressive than trying to sound like God, and her singing last night was frequently magnificent. Her voice is fuller than it used to be and still drips with the juice most singers begin to lose at 50. (Ms. Streisand is 64).

Another misstep was the choice of Il Divo, the operatic boy band, as her musical guests. While this multilingual, multinational quartet of singing mannequins, assembled by the diabolically market-savvy impresario Simon Cowell, belts in tune, they have the emotional spontaneity of robots in tuxedos.

An early low point of the show was their arrival on stage to bombard Ms. Streisand with smarmy flattery. Let’s hope she never records with these pretenders to the kitsch pop throne of Andrea Bocelli.

Befitting an event that suggested a one-woman Super Bowl in which the star competed with her legend, the concert was packed with distracting bells and whistles. A useless question-and-answer session in which she responded to randomly selected audience questions wasted precious time. During the Bush impersonation, a solitary heckler so annoyed Ms. Streisand that she lost her temper and hurled an obscenity.

A Barbra Streisand concert should be about singing. That’s what people really want. The rest they tolerate out of respect for her gigantic talent. And when she stuck to music, there were many magnificent moments. “Starting Here, Starting Now,” the “Funny Girl” suite, “When the Sun Comes Out,” “Children Will Listen,” “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,” and “My Shining Hour” were the musical high points of a concert that was further dampened by the lack of a pre-performance sound check because Ms. Streisand was stuck in traffic. As a result, the acoustics of the first half of the concert were muddy.

True to her show business instincts, she saved the best for last. In her final sprint, she might have a scored a winning touchdown had she not interrupted it with the Bush impersonator. And near the end sabotaged her own glorious performance of “Somewhere” by bringing Il Divo as a robotic harmony chorus.

A poignant moment for those who have followed Ms. Streisand’s career from the beginning was her rendition of (“Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair?” a Billy Barnes ballad that she recorded in 1964. Way back then, it was the reflection of an insecure ingénue feeling her first intimations of ennui after too much partying.

Sung four decades later, with just as much passion but an entirely different outlook, Ms. Streisand made it a rhetorical question about her own future. Has she stayed too long at the fair? Despite all the evening’s missteps, the answer is a resounding no.

the weather in chicago


Babs at MSG

i know that Lori was also in the Garden tonight for the first of the
two BStreisand shows in her hometown of NY...it was a whos who...I saw
Mike Wallace, Audra Mcdonald, Rosie Odonnell and Kelly ofcourse in the
front row, Tony Bennett walked in, Mayor Dinkins, Mayor Koch, Al
Sharpton, Jason Streisand and the place went wild when Oprah et al (
gayle king, stedman and body guards) walked in. There were many others
i couldnt pick out of the crowd. Oprah had front row center...right
under the jewish american beauty nose of Barbra Streisand...

Murph, i had a different take on the show... I could have done without
the Simon Cowell fabricated Boys Band. Il Divo is NSYNC for the opera
or classical crowd. if i wanted classical why would i need Il Divo
when I could go to the MET or to Carnegie Hall.. I left the room
during their set and each time they came back i tuned out..

The political bit was about 10 minutes and it was rather embarrassing
that an imitator so aptly represented the President....it was to be
all in fun...

it was an interactive crowd tonight... it always is in NYC.. . BABS i
love you, will you marry me.. You are Buttah....then after someone
Yelled....something i didnt hear it but the Brooklyn Babe did....

she turned right and i heard her yell
"shut the F**K up" "if you cant take a joke" "give him his money back"

itll be on the news by morning that Barbra Streisand Got Brooklyn
Ballistic and dropped the F BOMB infront of Oprah and about 50, 000 of
her closest friends in MSG...

she then had to sing some of the most beautiful songs, the optimistic,
hopeful ones... and
she apologized for losing her temper......

the crowd had a mixed reaction.... the man asked for his money back
and left the garden..
most complaints were about the Bush Imitator going too long...

how many DUMB BUSH jokes can you hear before they are redundant....its
sad that he is portrayed as being that DUMB...i think id rather deal
with the Clinton Sex jokes...

now i have seen it all... Joan Baez, Natalie Merchant, Linda
Rondstadt, the Dixie Chicks.. nothing compares to the Babs...
You can take the girl outta brooklyn but you cant take the Brooklyn
outta the girl....


Babs at MSG

i was in the Garden tonight for the first of the
two BStreisand shows in her hometown of NY...it was a whos who...I saw
Mike Wallace, Audra Mcdonald, Rosie Odonnell and Kelly ofcourse in the
front row, Tony Bennett walked in, Mayor Dinkins, Mayor Koch, Al
Sharpton, Jason Streisand and the place went wild when Oprah et al (
gayle king, stedman and body guards) walked in. There were many others
i couldnt pick out of the crowd. Oprah had front row center...right
under the jewish american beauty nose of Barbra Streisand...

Murph, i had a different take on the show... I could have done without
the Simon Cowell fabricated Boys Band. Il Divo is NSYNC for the opera
or classical crowd. if i wanted classical why would i need Il Divo
when I could go to the MET or to Carnegie Hall.. I left the room
during their set and each time they came back i tuned out..

The political bit was about 10 minutes and it was rather embarrassing
that an imitator so aptly represented the President....it was to be
all in fun...

it was an interactive crowd tonight... it always is in NYC.. . BABS i
love you, will you marry me.. You are Buttah....then after someone
Yelled....something i didnt hear it but the Brooklyn Babe did....

she turned right and i heard her yell
"shut the F**K up" "if you cant take a joke" "give him his money back"

itll be on the news by morning that Barbra Streisand Got Brooklyn
Ballistic and dropped the F BOMB infront of Oprah and about 50, 000 of
her closest friends in MSG...

she then had to sing some of the most beautiful songs, the optimistic,
hopeful ones... and
she apologized for losing her temper......

the crowd had a mixed reaction.... the man asked for his money back
and left the garden..
most complaints were about the Bush Imitator going too long...

how many DUMB BUSH jokes can you hear before they are redundant....its
sad that he is portrayed as being that DUMB...i think id rather deal
with the Clinton Sex jokes...

now i have seen it all... Joan Baez, Natalie Merchant, Linda
Rondstadt, the Dixie Chicks.. nothing compares to the Babs...
You can take the girl outta brooklyn but you cant take the Brooklyn
outta the girl....


i love autumn... i love pimpkin pie

Babs dropped the Fbomb


Streisand fans sing her praises
as comeback tour sells out MSG


Some major fans of Barbra Streisand came from as far away as England to see the singer perform live at Madison Square Garden.
Barbra Streisand wowed a soldout Madison Square Garden last night in a triumphant comeback that had fans wondering why the "Funny Girl" ever retired.

Performing old standbys with a new flair of showmanship, Babs proved to an adoring crowd of all ages that she hasn't lost a step in her six years away from the stage.

"I didn't get to see Elvis, so I'm seeing Barbra instead," said Diane Stilwell., 40, who came from England to see Streisand strut her stuff in a live performance.

Fans paid an average price of $250 to see the resurrection of the 64-year-old, Brooklyn-born icon. Some tickets for two Garden performances were going for as much as $1,195 each on the Internet.

But not everyone was pleased with Streisand's performance, especially when it turned to politics. Five songs into the gig, the chanteuse started ridiculing a Bush impersonator she brought onto the stage.

"I paid to hear Barbra sing, not make fun of President George Bush," said Michele Newland, 35, of Atlanta, who stormed out of the Garden before the concert was over.

The diva showed off her New York roots by waxing nostalgic about knishes at Yonah Schimmel's bakery while kvetching about her diet. One heckler prompted Streisand to air her Brooklyn brogue, telling the disgruntled fan to "shut the f--k up" and promising to give him back his money.

Don Henneberger, 52, of Springfield, Mass., said he admired Streisand's outspokenness.

"Politically she's done the best for gay rights of any entertainer," Henneberger said. "I'm a gay, married man and I wouldn't be where I am without Barbra."

Streisand has vowed to donate $10 million of the proceeds from her 16-city comeback tour to charity.

Lawrence Rush, 45, a Times Square street entertainer who performs Streisand songs, said he was determined to see the star as soon as he heard she was emerging from retirement.

"I've been listening to Barbra since I was a little kid," Rush said. "It's because of her I came to New York to follow in her footsteps on Broadway."

Marie Dente, 50, of Old Bridge, N.J., who suffers from lupus, said she got out of her sickbed when her daughter Linda Labatto surprised her with tickets. They both were dressed in evening gowns for the show.

"I've been singing Streisand to her since she was a baby," said Dente, pointing to the 29-year-old Labatto.

"We love Barbra," said Labatto. "She's classy and so we have to look classy to be here. She has helped us through so much. The first thing we do in a tragedy is listen to Barbra."

Originally published on October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

the weather in chicago

Partly Sunny

Sunday, October 08, 2006


i dreamed that i was at a camp setting and a small child offered me a Plum and when i took it from her, i had to bend over. as i bent up, i saw oprah winfrey. In the dream, i looked at her and nodded my acknowledgement and thought I have to go for it. I moved towards her, held out my hand and introduced myself. I explained to her that for years i have been saying that IF I EVER MET OPRAH, i would ask her to help establish a National Child Abuse registry. I explained to her that each state had their own and Therefore CHild molesters or abusers who had not been convicted of a crime could move freely and undetected to another state. They could establish themselves in jobs working wiht children because that state could clear them for prior child abuse charges. Oprah listened and advised her staff to get to me after the weekend.
I then saw her go towards the pool, i followed and she became Rob Thaler who i used to work with and he cannonballed into the pool. he looks like shrek in real life. So i thought in the dream that i had to follow him
and i woke up

natal chart

Interpretation for your Natal Chart
The sun represents vitality, a sense of individuality and outward-shining creative energy.

Sun in Capricorn

She is honest, reserved, circumspect, honorable and strong-willed. Quietly ambitious within the realms of the possible, she likes and takes on responsibility. She can work in the social domain.

Weaknesses: a bitter, hostile, disagreeable and mistrustful mind.

Capricorn ascendant Aries

Sun in X

Successful career is guaranteed, but may sometimes come late.

Opposition Sun - Moon

Conjunction Sun - Mercury

She is intelligent and knows what she wants. Is a good organizer, she likes moving, travel. She likes literature.

Square Sun - Ascendant

She has a lot of ambition, but is pretentious, vain and does not realize when her schemes are too ambitious, and therefore unattainable.

The moon represents a reaction, unconscious pre-destination, and the self-image.

Moon in Leo

She is brave and knows how to take risks, has the courage of her convictions, is honest , imposing and sharp. She has a great sense of and respect for justice. Organizational sense. Selectivity in friends, but is not influenced by them. Taste for splendor.

Weaknesses: changing and numerous affections. Emotional instability, pride.

Moon in IV

She likes family life, peace and quiet: she likes to stay at home, surrounded by loved ones, in agreeable circumstances. Positively influenced by the mother.

Mercury represents communication, Cartesian and logical spirit.

Mercury in Capricorn

Reflective, deep thinker: a fine and vivacious mind. Undertakes lengthy studies or, if circumstances do not allow, will teach herself. A rational person.

Weaknesses: rancor, coldness, malice, and often a pessimist.

Mercury in X

Her home and comfort are the only things important for her. She is intelligent and speaks easily and cogently. Easily keeps many irons in the fire and concludes her activities. Moves house a lot for business reasons.

Conjunction Mercury - Saturn

Venus represents an interest for emotions and values, exchange and sharing with others.

Venus in Sagittarius

Open-heartedness, devotion, generosity, charity, altruism. She likes foreigners or she can find love abroad. Has problems with the family or with the society in which she lives. She looks for affection, love far from the family circle or from the native country.

Weaknesses: she loves adventure and risk, and the unforeseen is always to be expected.

Venus in VIII

Not frightened by the unknown, death. She has a peaceful and happy end. Natural and late death. Possible inheritance.

Conjunction Venus - Jupiter

She is good-hearted, generous and has a good character. She likes well-being, comfort, a life without problems. She has good relations with her circle. She is easy to approach. All the same, she falls in love easily. She has a successful married and professional life.

Trine Venus - Uranus

independent in love. Her love life is rich, but with passing love affairs. She tires quickly and is scared of losing her liberty. If she marries, she will regret it. She has that little something that attracts the opposite sex: she likes amorous adventures, she is romantic. She is the eternal lover and, of course, is unfaithful if she has a serious relationship. She likes art, anything new.

Mars represents the desire for action and physical energy.

Mars in Capricorn

She is inflexible, rigid. She is very firm, controls herself, observes and is very watchful. She has a great sense of responsibility.

Weaknesses: she has a vindictive character, is hard and bitter.

Mars in IX

Deeply rooted opinions, which she knows how to defend energetically. At a certain moment of life, she can fight for a particular ideal but might abandon it along the way, being less convinced than at the beginning of its virtue or because she realizes that it is a losing battle. Conflict abroad or with foreigners.

Conjunction Mars - Jupiter

She has a good sense of organization, she is jovial, frank and sincere. She is full of dynamism and over-abundant energy. She loves life and takes all it has to offer. She likes sports and the outdoor life. She is successful professionally and emotionally. She usually has lots of children.

Trine Mars - Pluto

She is ambitious, has a great capacity for work, has self-confidence and goes to the end of her plans.

Trine Mars - Ascendant

Jupiter represents expansion and grace.

Jupiter in Sagittarius

She is agreeable, seductive, engaging and generous.

Weaknesses: immoderate taste for sport and games.

Jupiter in VIII

She is interested in the occult. She can work in a field associated with death e.g. as a funeral director. Marriage can help financially, the spouse having money.

Trine Jupiter - Uranus

She knows what's going on at a glance. She thirsts after knowledge, and is a good organizer. She is very independent, likes her freedom of action, is a non-conformist. She is very agreeable company and is always in demand.

Trine Jupiter - Ascendant

She likes meeting friends, around a good meal and in a cordial atmosphere. She is pleasant, jovial and engaging.

Saturn represents contraction and effort.

Saturn in Capricorn

She is scrupulous, honest, correct, worthy and respectable.

Weaknesses: melancholy, sullenness, disappointment and bitterness.

Saturn in IX

She is studious, patient, rigorous, austere. She likes reflection, meditation. She carries out all the plans she makes. She is a stay-at-home.

Sextile Saturn - Neptune

Her plans are realized in a methodical fashion, she works hard to achieve success.

Trine Saturn - Pluto

She perseveres, achieves her projects through hard work.

Uranus represents individual liberty, egoistic liberty.

Uranus in Leo

She is self-contained, resolute, tenacious. Likes freedom of action and independence.

Uranus in V

She is independent, likes even dubious distractions. Her amorous adventures are not only numerous but also very complicated, otherwise they hold no charm.

Trine Uranus - Ascendant

She is always changing, is unstable. She is ready to innovate, to change everything. She is inventive.

Neptune represents transcendental liberty, non-egoistic liberty.

Neptune in Scorpio

Investigation, inquiry, secrets.

Neptune in VII

Marries for love, to show the depth of her passion, but has a troubled conjugal life.

Sextile Neptune - Pluto

Pluto represents transformations, mutations and elimination.

Pluto in Virgo

Takes away her shyness.

House I is the area of self identity. The ascendant is a symbol of how one acts in life. It is the image of the personality as seen by other, and the attitude that one has of life.

Capricorn ascendant Aries

Ascendant In Aries

Social success thanks to her talents, good results at school.

House II is the area of material security.

House II in Taurus

Social success will be acquired by laborious, long work that will require a lot of patience.

House III is the area of social and intellectual learning.

House III in Gemini

She adapts well to any kind of change, and enthusiastically. She doesn't like monotony. Will need to move house because of work reasons.

House IV is the area of action and emotion.

House IV in Cancer

Likes family life, children have a large place in her heart. Sheis by nature calm, affectionate, delicate and tender.

House V is the area of self-security.

House V in Leo

Can only love an honest, upright and intelligent person. Likes to admire her spouse. A sincere, stable and faithful love. Refined education.

House VI is the area of learning by material transaction.

House VI in Virgo

Jobs in the medical or paramedic fields suit her the best. Weak point: the nerves and intestines.

House VII is the area of social et intellectual action.

House VII in Libra

Love-marriage with someone of a higher class, bringing the desired luxury and refinement.

House VIII is the area of emotional security and of security of the soul.

House VIII in Scorpio

Lots of vivacity and hastiness put life in danger too often, and one of these times could be too much.

House IX is the area of learning that shapes the identity.

House IX in Sagittarius

Long voyages abroad. Might settle permanently in a foreign country. Intellectual work, mathematical mind.

House X is the area of material action. The Mid-heaven represents the work one will do in his life, the place one will take in the world of society. It becomes more important as one grows older

House X in Capricorn

Someone who is completely trusted at work. Respectable, irreproachable in her work and moral qualities, scrupulous and praiseworthy.

House XI is the area of search for social and intellectual security.

House XI in Aquarius

Likes to re-make the world with her friends. These discussions can last the whole night and, with the ideal world created, she can retire to bed.

House XII is the area of education and of emotion.

House XII in Pisces

Contradictions, torments and harassments.


the treatmetn

E ve Ensler has been thinking about torture. Probably this should be no surprise. Since The Vagina Monologues began its march across the globe, she has made a steady habit of writing plays about important public issues, like women’s self-image and the plight of Bosnian war victims. And torture is certainly an important public issue—you can’t argue with that.

In fact, you can’t argue with any of it. Ensler’s two-hander, The Treatment, gives us a soldier (Dylan McDermott) just back from torturing detainees, and a therapist (Portia) trying to soothe his unquiet mind. Director Leigh Silverman tries to sculpt some drama here, yet the play can’t help but feel like a deposition. So torture is an abomination? Absolutely. It hurts both the victim and the perpetrator? No question. It has been inflicted on us by officials in Washington, who deserve our censure? Hear! Hear! But doesn’t that leave you feeling bad at the end of a play? It does—and doesn’t that feel great?

With all due respect to the mild virtues of Ensler’s play, I have had enough of inarguability. I’m tired of affirmation—I want an argument. At this point, I would very keenly like someone to write a play defending the tragic necessity of torture. I’d like someone to convince me that Dick Cheney genuinely has our best interests at heart and that Jesus really wants me to be rich. At least I wish someone would try. But until Karl Rove puts some playwrights on the payroll, I bet I’ll go on wishing.

Because while you can find many issue plays in New York, there are almost no political plays. The issue play dramatizes (or merely presents) a problem that has been in or near the headlines. Sometimes it suggests a solution, but almost always it points us toward a villain, if we can’t spot him already. This identification with the good and dislike for the bad renders issue plays essentially sentimental. Make no mistake, there’s room for such plays in the theater. Being part of a like-minded audience can build a sense of community and stiffen people’s spines. That has real value; sentiments, as Lionel Trilling wrote, have a way of becoming full-fledged ideas in time, and with work.

But a genuinely political play does more than affirm. It doesn’t just ask for our attention, it demands our engagement—moral, emotional, and intellectual. Paradoxically, it draws us out of ourselves to take us into ourselves, forcing us to rethink what we think we know. Mother Courage makes an overwhelming case against the horrors of war; it also features several very compelling arguments against the graver injustices of peace. You, in the audience, must adjudicate. The character in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt who won the sympathy of all us lefty New Yorkers was an old-school nun, a strident conservative who explained her preemptive actions in what might be interpreted as a coded defense of the Bush Doctrine. If she is right, was he?


Saturday, October 07, 2006

mooch's friday

the departed

Scorsese’s Hall of Mirrors, Littered With Bloody Deceit

Published: October 6, 2006

There are almost as many films fighting in “The Departed” as there are guys slugging it out. First among those films is Martin Scorsese’s cubistic entertainment about men divided by power, loyalty and their own selves. Hovering above that film like a shadow is “Infernal Affairs,” the equally sleek Hong Kong assemblage on which it is based and which serves as one of its myriad doubles. And then there is the film conjured up by Jack, as in Jack Nicholson, who when not serving Mr. Scorsese’s interests with a monstrous leer all but subverts those interests with a greedy, devouring hunger.

Leonardo DiCaprio, above, plays a cop who goes undercover. Matt Damon plays a gangster who joins the police force.

Each Scorsese film comes freighted with so many expectations, as well as the enormity of his own legend, that it’s a wonder the director can bear the weight. Compared with his last fictional outings, the period story “Gangs of New York” and the Howard Hughes portrait “The Aviator,” this new work feels as light as a feather, or as light as any divertissement from a major filmmaker who funnels his ambitions through genre. What helps make “The Departed” at once a success and a relief isn’t that the director of “Kundun,” Mr. Scorsese’s deeply felt film about the Dalai Lama, is back on the mean streets where he belongs; what’s at stake here is the film and the filmmaking, not the director’s epic importance.

In “The Departed” the camera work and cutting feel faster, lower to the ground, more urgent than they have in his recent films. (Michael Ballhaus shot it; Thelma Schoonmaker edited.) The speed and Mr. Scorsese’s sureness of touch, particularly when it comes to carving up space with the camera, keep the plot’s hall of mirrors from becoming a distraction.

There simply isn’t time to think about the story and whether any of it makes sense, including the astonishing coincidences involving its stealth doppelgängers: Matt Damon’s Colin Sullivan, a bad guy who goes undercover in Boston as a state police officer, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan, a state cop who infiltrates the underworld. Strangers to each other, Colin and Billy are brothers of a kind when it comes to Frank Costello, the gangster played by Mr. Nicholson. The evil this man does and portends is laid out with precision timing in the hair-raising opening minutes.

As the Rolling Stones wail on the soundtrack (“War, children, it’s just a shot away”), Frank moves through the shadows, his face almost entirely obscured. Dispensing Sun Tzu-like truths as if they were Pez candies, he sets his sights on little Colin Sullivan who, with eyes wide as plates, listens rapt. Frank buys the boy groceries, then leans into the girl behind the store counter, whispering something in her ear. (Her face says it’s something dirty.) Minutes later Colin (now played by Mr. Damon) has graduated from the police academy and is thanking Frank for his graduation gift. With a bag of food, the bad man has bought a soul.

Mr. Damon enters the story about the same time that Mr. Nicholson exits the shadows. Too bad he doesn’t stay there until the final credits. This Janus-like actor has long presented two faces for the camera, the jester called Jack and the actor named Nicholson. He has worn both faces for some of his famous roles, but over time he has grown fond of the outsize persona called Jack, with his shades and master-of-ceremonies sneer, and it’s hard not to think that the man has become his mask. Mr. Nicholson has some choice moments in “The Departed”: he owns the thrilling opening minutes and is persuasively unnerving in his early scenes with Billy, whom he only knows as a neighborhood loser ripe for the plucking.

But as the story twists and twists some more, Mr. Nicholson begins to mix too much Jack into his characterization. In Alexander Payne’s “About Schmidt,” he plays a man whose tamped-down disappointment meant that he had to pull the performance from deep inside; he committed to the part without the help of his sidekick persona. In “The Departed” he’s playing bigger and badder than life with engines roaring. It’s a loud, showy performance. Frank even comes equipped with a trove of gaudy accouterments: a goatee like an arrow, a leopard-print robe, a bevy of babes, a severed hand and a ridiculous fake phallus. Another actor might wear these accessories; Mr. Nicholson upstages them.

Mr. Scorsese, no wallflower himself, spends a lot of time vying for attention with his famous star. Mr. Damon and Mr. DiCaprio serve him better. Mr. Damon does some very good work as the buttoned-down gangster hiding a world of darkness behind a facade of normalcy; his boyish looks have rarely looked creepier than when Colin is eagerly doing Frank’s bidding. And Mr. DiCaprio’s own callow looks fit better with his role than they did in either “Gangs of New York” or “The Aviator.” He falls apart nicely, and in the scene in which he stands, anguished and wrung out, over the body of a fallen colleague, you see what Mr. Scorsese might have seen all along: a vulnerability that seems animal-like in its unknowing.

The role generally works to Mr. DiCaprio’s strengths since he has to keep a lid on the character and his own tendency to go overly big; even his physical performance, the way his arms and legs jangle, is more controlled. Billy melts down, but he melts slowly, his panic leaking through the cracks opened up by his escalating fear. Terrified that Frank will discover his identity, he unloads on a police shrink (Vera Farmiga, working hard to make a nothing role count), who also happens to be Colin’s girlfriend. The plot thickens, then reaches full boil among further complications, dirty dealings, blood on the floor and excellent performances from Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg (as detectives), who own their every scene. As do the rest of the actors, they prove that what really counts here, in the end, isn’t the film, but all its swaggering men.

Fine as Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Damon are, neither is strong enough to usurp memories of the actors who played the same roles in the original — Tony Leung as the good guy, Andy Lau as the bad — both of whom register with more adult assurance. That’s an observation, not an indictment. Comparisons between “Infernal Affairs” and its redo are unavoidable given how closely the screenwriter William Monahan follows the first film’s beats and scenes. But as fans of “Infernal Affairs” (and its two sequels) know well, the Hong Kong film owes an enormous debt to Mr. Scorsese, whose imprint, along with that of Michael Mann, is all over the trilogy. The Hong Kong and Hollywood action films are themselves doppelgängers of a sort, and Mr. Scorsese, himself larger than life, is one of their biggest, baddest daddies.

“The Departed” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). The language is dirty and the action bloody.


Opens today nationwide.

Directed by Martin Scorsese; written by William Monahan, based on the screenplay for the film “Infernal Affairs”; director of photography, Michael Ballhaus; edited by Thelma Schoonmaker; music by Howard Shore; production designer, Kristi Zea; produced by Brad Pitt, Brad Grey and Graham King; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 150 minutes.

WITH: Leonardo DiCaprio (Billy Costigan), Matt Damon (Colin Sullivan), Jack Nicholson (Frank Costello), Mark Wahlberg (Dignam), Martin Sheen (Queenan), Ray Winstone (Mr. French), Vera Farmiga (Madolyn), Alec Baldwin (Ellerby) and Anthony Anderson (Brown).
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the departed

The Departed
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Brad Pitt
Brad Grey
Graham King
Written by William Monahan
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio
Matt Damon
Jack Nicholson
Mark Wahlberg
Martin Sheen
Ray Winstone
Vera Farmiga
Alec Baldwin
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 6, 2006 (USA)
Budget $90,000,000
IMDb profile

The Departed is an American film remake of the popular Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs by renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The film has finished filming and is currently in the post-production stage, scheduled for release on October 6, 2006. The film was written by William Monahan, loosely based on an earlier screenplay from Hong Kong, Infernal Affairs, by Felix Chong and Siu Fai Mak.

Scorsese said he was unaware of the original trilogy when he read the script in late 2003.

Principal Cast & Characters
Leonardo DiCaprio as Billy Costigan
Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan
Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello
Mark Wahlberg as Dignam
Martin Sheen as Queenan
Alec Baldwin as Ellerby
Vera Farmiga as Madelein
Anthony Anderson as Brown
Ray Winstone as Mr French
James Badge Dale as Barrigan
Robert Wahlberg as FBI Agent Joyce
David O'Hara as Fitzy


The Departed is set in South Boston, where the Massachusetts State Police is waging war on the Irish Mob. Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Frank Costello (Nicholson). While Billy quickly gains Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan (Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informant for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there's a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy—and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself. But is either willing to turn on the friends and comrades they've made during their long stints undercover?


* Martin Scorsese and the producers wanted to shoot the film on location in Boston where the story is set. But due to economics and politics, the production chose New York City to double for Boston for their 15% tax incentives. Six weeks were reserved for Boston with the first half in June and the second half in August.

* Leonardo DiCaprio was cast in the title role in The Good Shepherd, but he dropped out to play Billy Costigan in this movie. Coincidently, his costar Matt Damon took his intended role in that film.

* Jack Nicholson signed on to play Frank Costello because he had done comedies in the past ten years, and he wanted to play a villain again, since his turn as The Joker in Batman. He has mentioned that he considers his character of Costello to be the ultimate incarnation of evil.

* Both Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg are returning to their hometown of Boston, Massachusetts in this film. Wahlberg's schedule was moved to the beginning of principal photography so he'd have time in his schedule for another film, as was Alec Baldwin's.

* Some of the stunts were performed and filmed in the old Fore River Shipyard just south of Boston. This location may have been chosen for the sightlines in the background so the Boston skyline would be true.

* Robert De Niro was offered, but declined, the role of Frank Costello.

* The Dropkick Murphys cover of Woody Guthrie's "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" from their latest album The Warrior's Code is in the soundtrack and trailer.

* Also in the trailer is the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb", as performed by Van Morrison during the 1990 staging of The Wall in Berlin.

* Jack Nicholson refused to wear a Boston Red Sox hat during filming and instead wore his New York Yankees hat.

* The Infernal Affairs Trilogy (Infernal Affairs II and Infernal Affairs III) bear some similarity to Martin Scorsese's classic Taxi Driver, ie. obsession with a female character, descent into delusion and paranoia and the final climactic shootout.