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Pop Culture Update 2/3/06

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Recent pop culture events that hit the headlines or just plain intrigue

Swear You’re Having Sex

It’s now 2006. Flashback ten years.

Yes, it’s 1996 and my ten-year-younger self happened to be on a temp assignment with a local accounting firm. During my assignment that accounting firm was purchased by none other than mighty American Express. Somehow, due to a resignation and my temporary position as the ersatz human resources person, I ended up with the fine job of changing all benefits from those of the local firm to the benefit package offered by American Express.

This required a quick study on said benefits. While I was experienced in such things somewhat, hence the initial assignment, this was the first time I had to sign up, ah, “domestic partners.”

The big problem then was how to define just who are domestic partners and who are just roommates. Do not laugh. It was, and is, a conundrum.

Suppose I’m out of a job with my health insurance gone along with the job. I have a friend who is gainfully employed at a company which offers domestic partner insurance. While she might claim single status, say I move in with her and she then requests coverage for me under the company’s domestic partnership package. Who’s to say we’re not same-sex female partners in a loving, permanent relationship?

Or, say, I am an opportunist willing to be identified as my platonic friend’s domestic partner for the greatly reduced price of group health care benefits through her company over the more costlier individual coverage. How can anyone prove the difference?

The problem here is that heterosexuals can live together, although there must be a marriage certificate in this instance, and have no problem with signing up for husband-wife or family coverage on the company group health care plan. This even though the heterosexual couple might well be in a strictly platonic relationship for whatever reason.

The University of Florida now requires that beneficiaries of domestic partner health benefits sign a form swearing that they are “non-platonic.”

Said signatory might not mean much but if there’s a lie involved in this signed declaration, I daresay that in the event of a major and costly health care crisis on behalf of one of the partners, the health insurance company would have ample reason to do a major investigation. What with that sworn affidavit on file and everything. Automobile insurers conduct such investigations all the time to prevent insurance fraud.

The whole thing is not as weirdly strange as it might sound is what I’m saying here.

All that being said, know that myself signed up at least two employees as domestic partners and I did not ask one single question. The firm’s directors called me in, a lowly temp, and read me a riot act. “So and so is as straight as I am,” one managing partner declared. Which only caused me to sigh. I was a temp, had no idea who so-and-so was or his sexuality, and I was not about to question it. Like I was some sort of Solomon capable of threatening baby-cutting to extract the truth of the matter. The people involved told me they were in a domestic partner relationship and that was good enough for me. A quick call to the temp agency and I got another assignment. Who needed this?

Here we are ten years later dealing with the same problem this lowly temp dealt with so long ago.


It’s possible this might go to the Supreme Court.

University of Florida employees have to pledge that they’re having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university.

West Wing Cancelled; Commander-in-Chief Flagging

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHere I am stocked with popcorn and ready for a Vinick administration. I even proudly posted a plausible scenario to write in the death of lead character John Spencer.

Methinks the writers were wary of trying to write for a Republican administration. What with the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House all Republican-controlled, The West Wing’s several year Democratic control of the White House needed serious revamping.

Although logic would have it that this is as good a time as any to end the series.

But there’s more! To my dismay, another of my most favored political series, Commander-in-Chief, is also flailing against competition by Fox’s American Idol and a slow return of the holiday audience.

I’ve been suggesting for almost forever that a Mel Gibson type step up to the podium and create a West Wing type series with a conservative slant. For sure the two top political shows are slanted liberally in terms of idealology although I never minded. Conservatives tended to grumble about it, though.

Well last I heard we still have free speech in this country. Republicans have lots of money, right? So why aren’t they out promoting their own cause?

Some suggest that Commander-in-Chief is some sort of nefarious brainwash to prepare us idiots out here in la-la land for a potential Hillary presidency. I say Pshaw! No way does Geena Davis’ character of POTUS in any way resemble Hillary Rodham Clinton save a few glimpses into a more liberal idealology. There is the female thing so perhaps that’s the connection.

At any rate, I await the new Republican political series that my political junkee hunger be assuaged.


NBC Cancels West Wing After 7 Seasons

From Media Life:

Commander In Chief’s” Geena Davis may have walked away with the Best Actress in a Drama award during Monday’s Golden Globes, but among the American voting public she’s sliding in the opinion polls that matter most, the ratings.

They’ve been on a steady decline for the once-promising freshman show.

“Commander” averaged a 2.4 rating on Tuesday night, an all-time low for ABC’s political drama. That’s down 14 percent from the previous week’s 2.8 18-49 rating, its second lowest, for the show’s first original episode to air since Nov. 29. And it’s down substantially, 38 percent, from the show’s 3.9 season-to-date average.

James Bond car sold for over £1m

Well it was a neat car. But a million pounds?
From the BBC:

An Aston Martin car driven by James Bond in Goldfinger and Thunderball has been sold in auction for more than £1m.

Kanye West Poses as Jesus for Rolling Stone

This is a fellow with little talent and a great big chip on his shoulder. At least as I see it. The link below includes a picture of West decked out in a crown of thorns and riddled with lash marks.

Whew. I’m supposing this fellow thinks he’s Jesus Christ now.

There’s been a popular sentiment roiling across the Blogosphere so let me pose it here. Many with an axe to grind of some sort against religion resort to using Christian icons to illustrate their disdain. I am reminded of the famous crucifix dipped in blood that was all the rage a few years ago.

Here’s the challenge Mr. West big-mouth. Dress up like Mohammed why don’t you and put your picture on “Rolling Stone”?


The Arab street would react immediately I’d suggest. Not at all like complacent Christians whose religion has been fodder for anti-religious zealots for far too long.

If Kanye is as big and brave as he pretends to be, he would have no problem playing Mohammed and Allah to the masses.

From Yahoo News:

In America, they want you to accomplish these great feats, to pull off these David Copperfield-type stunts,” he says. “You want me to be great, but you don’t ever want me to say I’m great?”

West also says his hit song “Gold Digger” was the best song last year and that it should have been nominated for the Grammy’s best rap song category: “That’s a gimme Grammy.”

Abramoff at the Golden Globes

I saw George Clooney at the Golden Globes ceremony and heard his very stupid joke about Jack Abramoff. I guess he thought it was funny, mocking parents who would name a child “Jack …OFF”. Man, that was such a stretch that I was almost embarrassed for Clooney. It certainly wasn’t funny.

It seems that Abramoff’s father took exception to the slam and wrote a letter proclaiming outrage at Clooney’s silly joke. Although, come on Mr. Elder Abramoff, Clooney’s comments were stupid enough on their own. You should have left well enough alone. That bit about “innocent and decent people who love” your son was really overkill.

Image hosted by

By Stephen M. Silverman

The father of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff did not find George Clooney very funny on Monday’s Golden Globes show, when the Syriana supporting actor winner quipped during his acceptance speech: “Who would name their kid Jack with the last words ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up.”

In an open letter to Clooney published Thursday in the Desert Sun newspaper out of Palm Springs, Calif., Frank Abramoff, 78, writes, in part: “Your glib and ridiculous attack on my son, Jack, coupled with your obscene query as to the choice his mother and I made in naming him, brought shame and dishonor on you and your profession.”

The father goes on to ask Clooney: “What drove you to this lapse in lucidity, I can never know, but you need to know that your words were deeply hurtful to many innocent and decent people who love my son and who cherish our family.”

Clooney’s rep declined comment to the Desert Sun, saying he had yet to see the elder Abramoff’s letter.

Blind Item Fun

From the NY Post Page 6


WHICH pop-singing sensation likes to troll the Internet for gay quickies? After one unsafe session, his homo hook-up contacted a tabloid to sell his sordid story and offered a DNA-encrusted washcloth as proof. If the truth comes out, the singing idol’s fans, mostly middle-aged housewives, will be very upset . . .

Clay Aiken?

blockquote>WHICH Oscar-winning actor is repeatedly unfaithful? He sleeps around so much, it’s taking a toll on his long-suffering wife, a former beauty now looking stressed-out . . .

Tom Hanks. His wife used to be beautiful.

Denzel Washington. His wife has had to put up with a lot

Warren Beatty. Annette Benning was in American Beauty. Beauty is a clue.


WHICH handsome network anchorman was holding hands with his former girlfriend, a model/actress, in Toronto? It wouldn’t matter – if he
hadn’t reconciled with his wife.

Ted Rowlands
The artist formerly known as JD Roberts?

Oprah and Osama’s Book Club

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThere’s been so much flack about Oprah and her bogus pick of the month book, A Million Little Pieces that I can hardly keep up.

From the NY Times:

To Oprah Winfrey, the power of James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces, lay not in whether the author really spent three months in jail, as he claimed, or whether he lost a lover to suicide. Rather, she said in her now-famous call to CNN’s Larry King Live on Jan. 11, where Mr. Frey defended himself against accusations that he falsified significant parts of his life story.

Ms. Jay said she voiced her objections about A Million Little Pieces to a senior producer for Ms. Winfrey’s program on Oct. 1, nearly a month before Ms. Winfrey’s interview

In the interest of fair and balanced, and because it’s somewhat dangerous for one individual to have so much power as Oprah has managed to glean, we present another famous person and his recommendation for Book of the Month.

Yes it’s Osama Bin Laden and he recommended Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum. Osama famously said in his most recent message from the cave:

“Washington’s war on terrorism is as doomed to failure as its war on drugs has been…”

Scuttlebutt has it that Blum’s book is selling like hotcakes.

Pat Fish is a published author and her books have drawn attention from her fellow reviewers on Blogcritics. Reviews of Memoirs of Josephine Fish and Mystery and Mirth have been conveniently provided for your reading pleasure.

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