Category Archives: The More You Know

TMYK–Leap Day Pt. 2

Who do we have to blame for this extra day?  Caesar, the originator of self-portrait coins, the King of Diamonds, salad dressing, and leap year:


This being February 29 — Leap Day — today is costing you an extra day’s interest if you’re repaying a debt. On the bright side, its earning you a tiny bit more on your bank deposits.

Whom do we have to thank — or curse — for this extra day every four years? Julius Caesar and his lover, Cleopatra.



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The More You Know–Leap Day Edition

–Contrary to popular belief, most med school grads do not have to take the Hippocratic oath. But it’s probably best your doctor doesn’t believe in everything the oath entails, which includes swearing your skills on the god Apollo and promising never to share any of your medical knowledge with anyone (even patients).

–Domestic cats have thirty muscles in each ear to control the intricate movements they make.

–How can you tell snail tracks from slug tracks? While your typical garden slug leaves a continuous trail of slime in its wake, snails leaves more of a dotted line, since they move forward in an up-and-down fashion, kind of like an inchworm.

–It doesn’t matter how fresh-picked they are, coffee beans are actually tasteless until they’re roasted.

–During the reign of the Roman emperor Nero, sausages were associated with the Lupercalia festival. The early Catholic Church outlawed the Lupercalia Festival and made eating sausage a sin. For this reason, the Roman emperor Constantine banned the eating of sausages.

–Forest Gump:  David Alan Grier, Ice Cube, Dave Chappelle and John Travolta all turned down the offer to play the role of Bubba from Forrest Gump. Chevy Chase also turned down the role of playing Forrest.

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A Spade By Any Other Name…


Ever wonder where the term “call a spade a spade” came from?

Well, according to, it, like many things in life, is all a big mix-up:

“The phrase means to speak bluntly, without euphemism or delicacy.

The phrase comes to us from Plutarch (c.46-c.120 A.D.), the Greek biographer and essayist, although not in its current form. Plutarch used the phrase to call a bowl a bowl in his Apophthegmata. The Renaissance scholar Desiderius Erasmus (1467-1536) translated Plutarch and made an error when he came to this phrase. He confused the Greek word for bowl with that for a shovel; in Greek they are very similar, coming from the same root.”

“The More you Know…”

Do Da-da- daaaaaaa

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The Oscar Picks pt. 3

So, this is taking longer to get through than I expected.  Let’s pick up the pace:


Best animated short film
“I Met the Walrus” A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
“Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
“Même les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
“My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production Alexander Petrov
“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Best live action short film
“At Night” A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
“Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
“Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
“The Tonto Woman” A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

If anyone has seen any of these, please say so in the comments field.  First nominees mentioned win.  I will then pass our choices off to the academy.


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and: Marketa Irglova
“Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.): Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas
“So Close” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney): Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Will anything beat the thrill of last year’s winner “I Need to Wake Up”?   Some say Melissa Etheridge won simply because she found something to rhyme with “inconvenient truth.”

Bit of a slow year, huh?  3 songs from one movie?  I bet if a movie had included the song my little sister wrote about peeing in the potty it would have been nominated.  That aside, I’d love to see Glen Hansard take it.  He’s pretty great, as is his band, The Frames.  In fact, the little bit of Oscar controversy this year is that the song “Falling Slowly”was actually included in a solo album of Hansard’s and a Frames album.  This, one would think, should disqualify the song as being an “original” feature, but apparently everyone has worked it out and moved on. The best news for the song is that the 3 from Enchanted may split the vote, so I’ll stick with “Falling Slowly.”


Best foreign language film of the year
“Beaufort” Israel
“The Counterfeiters” Austria
“Katyn” Poland
“Mongol” Kazakhstan
“12” Russia

(Closing my eyes and pointing to the screen…..)

“12”!!!  Well, I’d have to say, in a year when so many of the international films deal with such a heavy subject as these great works do, it’s quite difficult to just choose one.  Any one of these seminal works really reflect that ours is a truly global community that circumvents the prerogative…

(looking up what “12” is even about….)

Oh.  It’s a Russian adaptation of “12 Angry Men.”  Works for me.

Side note—I will probably be wrong as the winner tends to be about Nazis.  Only one of those, this year: The Counterfeiters.” You might do best to go with that one.


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
“The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics): Alberto Iglesias
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Kinda bummed that “There Will be Blood”wasn’t eligible (Johnny Greenwood used some previously written work, both by himself, and rockers like Brahms.  If you get a chance, give it a listen on it’s own, though. Very interesting stuff.

That aside, nothing beats Italian composers doing westerns“3:10 to Yuma” and Marco Beltrami do it for me.


Achievement in film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Christopher Rouse
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

“No Country” on this one.  Have you people seen this movie?  It’s pretty good……


Best documentary feature
“No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
“Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
“Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
“War/Dance” (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

“Taxi to the Dark Side”: The Academy’s shot at being political this year, without having to worry about Michael Moore.

Best documentary short subject
“Freeheld” A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
“La Corona (The Crown)” A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
“Salim Baba” A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
“Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

Who’s making you choose these categories?  STAND UP and say “NO!  I have no idea what these movies are and am PROUD OF IT!”


Achievement in art direction
“American Gangster” (Universal): Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount): Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

“Sweeney Todd” right?  Somebody tell me this is almost over…..


This post is getting longer than the actual broadcast……someone please help……..

Best animated feature film of the year
“Persepolis” (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
“Surf’s Up” (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

“Ratatouille”  Why do other movies even try?

Now if it were “Smurf’s Up,” it might win!  Get it?!  With Smurf’s!

oh lord, these jokes are getting even worse


Achievement in cinematography
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.): Roger Deakins
“Atonement” (Focus Features): Seamus McGarvey
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Janusz Kaminski
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Roger Deakins
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Robert Elswit

“There Will Be Blood”

“There is blood coming out of my ears”


Alright, I give up!  What do you want from me?!?!?  I can’t help you anymore!!!  I’M MY OWN MAN!!!  WHO ARE ALL YOU ELVES CIRCLING MY DESK???  DO YOU CRAVE MY SOUL????  I HAVE NOTHING TO GIIIIVVVEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!  YOU ARE A DOLPHIN-HEADED FREAK!


I apologize for that outburst.  It was uncalled for.  Thank you for reading.  I do not, as you may have heard, think you are in any way dolphin-like. 

Let’s move on to the big finish:

Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Ruby Dee in “American Gangster”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Though, Casey Affleck would be a close second.  And that would tie him for “Afflecks with an Oscar”)

Performance by an actress in a leading role: Julie Christie in “Away from Her”

Performance by an actor in a leading role: Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”– This year’s closest thing to a shoe-in.

Achievement in directing: “No Country for Old Men” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Best motion picture of the year: “No Country for Old Men”


That’s it!  Now go fill out those ballots! 

No, Thank YOU!


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The Oscar Picks pt. 2–The Techies

OK, folks—on to the nerd categories!

 Here’s to all those who slave behind closed doors, editing boards, and boxes of doughnuts:  We lift our glasses to you:


Achievement in visual effects
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners): Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney): John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

I’m gonna go with “Transformers” on this one.  Lasers always beat pirates.



Achievement in sound mixing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
“3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate): Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

My pick here is “Ratatouille.”  I could make up a reason why, but I’d just be kidding myself.


Achievement in sound editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): Skip Lievsay
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney): Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Christopher Scarabosio and Matthew Wood
“Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro): Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Hands down, who will win and who should win is the folks on “No Country.”   Good stuff.  Very sparse and specific with no fat.  Sound drove this story and made it the suspenseful trip it was.  That beeping receiving thingie in the hallway?  How creepy was that, as it got louder and faster?  Loved the sound in this movie.  How often do we get to take notice and say that?


Achievement in makeup
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount): Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney): Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

I don’t care who wins this, but if there is a God in heaven, “Norbit” will not win an Oscar.  Please, don’t let this happen.  I can’t live in a world where this happens.

I’ll go with “La Vie en Rose.”  Or “Pirates.”  Any one of them.  Please.


Achievement in film editing
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal): Christopher Rouse
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn): Juliette Welfling
“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment): Jay Cassidy
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax): Dylan Tichenor

Hmmmmm….a bit of a tough one, here.  Good nominations this year, all told.  Not sure who should win, but I’m gonna go with “Bourne Ultimatum.”  Those movies don’t get nearly enough credit.  Always really solid and better than any other big picture/thriller/effects movie that it faces.  Maybe some credit is due here.


Not sure if this belongs in this “techie” post, but, here are the nominees for:

Achievement in costume design
“Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood


“Across the Universe.”  Creativity rarely get rewarded in this category.  It almost always goes to a period piece, as if “costume construction” wins over “design.”  “Universe”‘s Albert Wolsky has been a standard in both film and theatre for quite some time, working with Fosse and Woody Allen.  His work on this film gave it much of the visual energy that made it a pretty great flick.


“Atonement.”  See above.

Random Trivia:

Costume Design was separated into 2 categories: Black & White and Color until 1957.

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The Oscar Picks pt. 1–The Screenplays


Need help in your Oscar pool this year?  Well, look no further, as here comes the 1st Annual Free Range Oscar Picks!

As is the standard format* at FRT**, we’ll order the categories from least “prestigious” to most.  

We’ll also skip those Scientific and Technical Awards things because no one has any clue what those are about.  This bit of the broadcast always illicits the same 2 responses from everyone watching:

1) “Oh.  Look who’s hosting–it’s Scarlett Kate Salma Gyllenhaal Alba.  ……Huh.”

2)  “That guy who just won—-I could swear he was one of the “indoor kids” I went to middle school with….”

*As standard as a 1st annual event can be

**Note to self:  when you abbreviate the name of your blog, it looks like a text message version of “fart.”  Look for new abbreviation.


So, here we go—

Original screenplay
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight), Written by Diablo Cody
“Lars and the Real Girl” (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
“Ratatouille” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
“The Savages” (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins


The award was called “Academy Award for Best Story” from 1928 to 1956.  The first winner was Underworld.  It was not about werewolves.


“Lars and the Real Girl” 

Come on.  It’s about a dude who has a “normal, meaningful relationship” with a blow-up doll.  Could you make that up?  No, me neither.  Oh, Hollywood!




In case you haven’t heard, the writer, Diablo Cody was a former stripper who wrote a blog about her experiences.  Or, you may have heard this EVERY TIME THIS FILM IS MENTIONED IN ANY MEDIA OUTLET.  But just in case, the Academy will be sure to hammer the fact home and make sure they legitimately get a stripper up on stage, for once.

Unless you count those dancers from the “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”  …..I’m going to go ahead and stop there.


Adapted screenplay
“Atonement” (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
“Away from Her” (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson


“No Country For Old Men”

Captured the pace and tone of the novel very well, while streamlining it for film.  Exactly what this award should…um…award.


“No Country for Old Men”

The Coens will get some love for their bit of a departure in tone and their first adapted script.

Their mother will exclaim, “Why is it so violent?  Why can’t you do another nice film with that nice boy George Clooney?”ap_no_country_071210_ms.jpg

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Now I Want a Dutch Toaster


Head over to the HEMA online store.  Hema is basically, the Dutch version of Target.  Except you can’t “fancy-fy” their name, Hollandse Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam quite as easily as “Tar-gjay.”

Anyways, their site is pretty wicked cool and makes we want to but stuff.  You know, if I could read the ordering instructions, and all.

Just click the link and wait for the discount magic.



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