Dispatches from the Control Room – January 8

* The Mike Gravel Crazy Train rolls on!

Talking to a bunch of kids, he said, “I’m sure a lot of you have tripped out on alcohol. It’s a lot safer to do it on marijuana.”

LEAD US! LEAD US, CRAZY MAN!

* Meanwhile, Hillary appears to be cracking under the pressure. What’s worse, guys are following her around telling her to iron their shirts. Come on, guys. How is she going to have time to iron your shirts when she’s running for president? Maybe after she loses. Or, maybe if we turn all the debate podiums into ironing boards, we could have the candidates multitask.

* Today was a weather day, which ranks right down there with all-hell-breaking-loose news days as among my least favorite. We just sit around, rolling video after video of flattened houses and flood waters. No matter how great the video is, you’re just numb after 30 seconds. Am I alone on this?

* I was reading ESPN: The Magazine yesterday, which is normally a total waste of time. But the most recent issue featured a profile on Dwayne Wade and the line, “Wade needs basketball like Amy Winehouse needs a comb.” That is likely the high point of my fruitless relationship with ESPN: The Magazine. What a mess of a publication.

* Went out to see “There Will Be Blood” yesterday. Huge fan of P.T. Anderson. “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights” are among the best movies ever.

“There Will Be Blood” is a total showcase for Daniel Day Lewis as a turn-of-the-century oil man grasping for power and money. The start of the movie is almost totally silent, reminding me of “2001.” And by the end of the movie, I was reminded of “Citizen Kane.” I walked out of the theater thinking I’d just seen one of the best movies ever. But there was so much to take in, I’m also kind of stunned.

Between that and “No Country for Old Men,” 2007 has a pair of great, creepy, confusing and brilliant flicks. Either can win the Oscar and it’d be fine by me. Neither is likely to snag it. Not enough frilly costumes or passionate love scenes for Oscar voters.

I was confused as to why “There Will Be Blood” was rated “R.” ‘Cause there was some smoking? A little off-screen violence? Hardly any profanity? So this and “Saw” and “Hostel” get the same rating? Way to go, MPAA.

* I helped a little old lady across the street yesterday. For real. Who knew such things happened anymore?

I thought we’d instructed our elderly to stay indoors for their own protection and for our preservation of the illusion of immortality…

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