Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Things to Do Instead of Talking to Your Family: 5.47

On this Thanksgiving weekend, why not waste time on the Internet instead of talking with your family? Because really, you know you're just there for the food.

So try these fun Internet time-wasters...

The folks at are rapidly expanding their pop culture-mocking offerings. They may not have destroyed TV as we know it just yet but if they

Check out this link for's "The Superficial Friends", a zany send-up of the SuperFriends with the Olsen twins, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie taking the place of Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the rest. And from the looks of the page set-up, the Superficial Friends have more episodes on the way.

It's here:

Or maybe you could do some learning on your vacation. Why not try a nice educational video about the scourge of PMS from "the 1950s" on YouTube?

I'd always wondered what PMS stood for.

Or if videos aren't your thing, why not do some random web surfing. My favorite method for this is the downloadable tool for your Firefox or IE browser called StumbleUpon.

Basically, with StumbleUpon, you input your preferences, from art to animation to porn (okay, I don't know if porn is an option...but it should be). Every time you're bored with a site, click the StumbleUpon button on your toolbar and you'll be magically transported to a site you've probably never heard of, but, thanks to your selected preferences, will probably enjoy.

And finally, because if you're reading this you must like blogs, several have kept up with posting over the holidays, including...
The Superficial
and the always-entertaining, catty-tastic Go Fug Yourself

Enjoy. And Happy Turkey Day everybody!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Treating Assistants Badly Is Especially Dumb When They're Not Assistants: 5.46

I was treated to a lovely story today at work by the person I had been trying to get fired.

Obviously, I have been unsuccessful thus far, so take that previous post there with that major caveat. You see, unfortunately, I've discovered that Chief Priestess is better connected in the biz than I'd suspected. And this makes it just about impossible to get her fired.

Fortunately, I did take my own advice and not push too hard for her ouster, so I've been able to fake my way to an improved relationship with her.


This Chief Priestess of my company, an easily flustered Shih-Tzu of a woman, treated us assistants to a lovely story. She'd recently been to an industry luncheon at which she'd been seated next to another woman, who was a bit older than her (we're talking 40s vs. 50s here).

The Chief Priestess will be played by Emma Thompson, who does a mean 'fluttery' in my opinion.

Other Lady doesn't get a high-profile actress since she's unlikely to reappear for reasons that are about to become obvious.
Since they'd been randomly forced to sit next to each other, Chief Priestess logically figured it would be a good idea to at least attempt small talk with Other Lady rather than sit through an interminably long silent luncheon.

They'd only briefly met before, just long enough for Chief Priestess to mention for whom she works-- Big Boss, aka- Biggie. Obviously, Biggie will be played by a just-risen-from-the-grave Biggie Smalls.

Oh, Biggie, did they ever find your killers?

Anyway, almost from the start, the Other Lady began treating the Chief Priestess dismissively. Granted, I think Chief Priestess is a raging cuntyface to work with, but most everyone thinks she's nice at first. So she started in with the "So what do you do?" riff that's pretty common at these affairs.

And immediately, Other Lady gets huffy. Isn't that her name right there on her seating placard?

"Well, yes," acknowledges Chief Priestess, "but begging your pardon, I don't quite recognize your name."

Another huff. "Well," she says, "I've been working in this business for more than two decades.**"

"Oh I'm sorry," Chief Priestess apologizes, "I guess I just wasn't aware."

"Look," says Other Lady, going in for the dismissive kill, "I've known Biggie forever. I've been through hundreds of his assistants."

"Well I'm not his assistant."

And then, after a quick question about Chief Priestess' actual occupation, lo and behold, Other Lady's attitude completely changed. She apologized for having 'jetlag', became slavishly nice, and started schmoozing to the gills.

Too late, Other Lady, but you're just as transparent as the biggest a-holes of the business.

And Chief Priestess was on to her, as she told us after she'd gathered all of us assistants upon her return. That includes, of course, your faithful Assistant/Atlas, who had to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. Because your faithful Atlas and his lovely readers know the story behind these words. Chief Priestess has realized her weakness among the assistants who hold her in low regard, the ones I was poisoning against her in my attempt to give her the boot. Telling a story about other people treating assistants badly and her (sort of) sticking up for them is carefully calculated to boost her support. Well played, Chief Priestess.

**For 'more than two decades' in the industry, Other Lady had a woefully tiny (and crappy) IMDB profile.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Imagine Your Statewide Officers as Superheroes: 5.45

Because really, that's the only way I can think to make this year's slate of politicians running for statewide office interesting. Unless, you look at election guides while really, really high. Hey, just as long as you're not high in the ballot box. I don't want to see that anyone has written in Cheech Marin for several random offices.

In this election cycle, in addition to all of the lovely propositions, I'm trying assembly my favorite team of faux superheroes. Feel free to vote along with me.

And just to recap, there are 7 executive offices in your super-elected team: Governor, Lt. Gov., Secretary of State, Controller, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner.

Sorry, Phil Angelides, you seem like a good guy, but the Gubernator is going to win. And since he's had the most action hero experience, in addition to being at the top of the ballot, the Gubernator will lead the motley crew.
Vote for Ahnold to keep the Democratic Legislature from doing some major crazy-making.

But to prevent Republicans from doing the crazy-making, we've got to keep Tom McClintock out of the Lt. Governor's chair. Whether or not the Lt. Gov. position is a stepping-stone to the governorship is debatable. Whether or not we want Tom McClintock in that position is not. You must vote for this wackjob's opponent, pictured below.
Lt. Gubernator
Vote for Democrat John Garamendi for Lt. Governor.

Here's why I want a Democrat as Secretary of State. Republicans can't be trusted to run elections (please see: Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004). I don't want a Californian Katherine Harris or Kent Blackwell. Well, not another Republican one, anyway. Plus, every team of superheroes needs at least one chick/woman/girl/female person, and she's the only one up for statewide office. So she can be Babe-ra Bowen, the Electionator.
Vote Democrat Debra Bowen for Secretary of State.

Next up is Controller, the office that's all about taxes and audits and balancing the books and stuff. Both candidates are pretty serious tax wonks, but John Chiang has even stronger geek mojo. And he's Asian. We definitely want the Asian guy working the books, an Auditnator to keep the Gubernator honest.
Vote for Democrat John Chiang for Controller.

And speaking of money, there's also the State Treasurer contest to decide. I'm going with Bill Lockyer if only for the fact that I don't think he'll screw anything up too badly.
Vote Democrat Bill Lockyer for State Treasurer.

Next up, Attorney General, the wild gun-totin', consumer-advocatin' (hopefully), justice of the peace. He's like the Sheriff, except, you know, he works within the law. Which is why Jerry Brown might not be such a good choice. Unfortunately, the Republican is a pretty big douche, so it's gotta be him. Sorry, California. But hey, Jerry Brown fills the crucial loose cannon role in both state government and the superhero team.
Vote Democrat Jerry Brown for Attorney General. Or write in Cheech Marin.

And finally, for Insurance Commissioner, there's Cruz Bustamante, who fills out my superhero team as the Cruzer.
And the Cruzer...
So there you have it, California, your elected superhero team. Or the one I'm hoping for, at any rate. Feel free to come up with your own names for them. And remember-- cuss words are too easy to incorporate and I'm looking for something clever.
Pic thanks mostly to the OC Register.

And I promise to be back with apolitical, Hollywood diatribes after the election. Until then, you better vote, biyotches. I'm counting on you.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Young Californian's Voter Guide: 5.44

Since mainstream media never does any stories that actually make politics relevant or, dare I say it, interesting, I thought I'd take a try. Well, I'll try for relevant, at least. I'm not egotastic enough to think that I can actually make this stuff interesting. I'll leave that to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The real reason to vote in California has essentially become the Propositions that fill the ballot each year. Since Cali is so heavily blue, they're one of the few ways most residents can get their voices heard. Thanks, gerrymandering!

Anyway, since I know you're not going to investigate all the Props properly, here's a handy voting guide. Feel free to take a copy to the polls.

Prop 1A: Transit Funding
Provides a funding straightjacket for fuel taxes, requiring them to actually be used in transportation projects. Currently, they're used for whatever the Legislature decides, which is usually last-minute funding bailouts when they run short of money.
Atlas Sez: Unpopular though it may be, the Legislature is supposed to be in charge of spending tax money. This is the best they could do to try to make sure transit gets funding. Unfortunately, approving this measure could mean big cuts elsewhere to things like schools and hospitals as the Legislature overspends or gets into an actual emergency.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1B: Transit Bonds
This would put $20 billion in bonds toward transit projects. It would also put about the same amount into the pockets of bankers: about the same amount is used for interest payments over the next 30 years.
Atlas Sez: Let's make the Legislature spend our money on this one. The needs are great, but they're not so critical that we shouldn't expect our Legislature to fix them without huge debts.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1C: Battered Women Bonds
Not only battered women and children, but disabled people, veterans, the poor, and military veterans will be helped with housing and services. All of society's neediest get a shout-out in this proposition.
Atlas Sez: It's only three billion, so I'm saying yes....but only because I'm a total softie. My head tells me to vote no, but this IS the cheapest bond, measured in the millions per year, not billions. Yes, we'll still be paying for it for 30 years, but it's not much each year and it's truly helping those who need the most help.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 1D: Education Bonds
Bonds issued for all sorts of education goodies: earthquake retrofitting, new schools, more vocational/tech schools, and all sorts of other educational needs.
Atlas Sez: Again with the massive interest payments! About half of the $20 billion this will be eaten by bankers. This is what the legislature is for-- to spend tax money. Theoretically, they'll do it somewhat more efficiently than this if they want to keep their jobs. Also, we'll be boosting education funding a bit later down the ballot, so you don't have to feel guilty for the kids by voting "No" on this one.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1E: Disaster Preparedness Bonds
Eight billion borrowed for disaster preparedness- including reinforcing levees in the Central Valley and other water protection improvements.
Atlas Sez: Wait, we're California and we're not prepared for disasters? Are you friggin' kidding me? Oh, you aren't? Yes, I guess a bond is appropriate since the likelihood of an earthquake strong enough to break levees is great when HUGE, ACTIVE FAULTLINES RUN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE FRIGGIN' STATE.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 83: The Sexual Offender Prop
Expands the definition of sexual predators, requires GPS monitoring of sex felons, forbids them from living within 2,000 ft. of schools and parks, too.
Atlas Sez: Dude, no one likes sexual predators. But exiling them, and spending $200 MILLION PER YEAR to monitor them is way, way too much. And attaching GPS monitors to criminals is not something I think we want to get in the habit of doing. Even for sexual predators.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 84: The Water Prop
Would issue bonds for water-related improvements to the tune of over $10 billion.
Atlas Sez: Sounds good, but look at the numbers: $5.4 billion for improvements, $5.1 billion for interest payments. We'll be paying for this bond for 30 years. They say it's preparing for the future, but I'd argue it's mortgaging our future.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 85: The Abortion Waiting Period
Requires minors to get parental consent for abortions.
Atlas Sez: Sounds okay, but the details burden doctors unduly with tons of new paperwork. Also, girls with abusive, strict, or insane parents could be in real trouble. Bottom line: it doesn't help keep abortions safe, legal, and rare.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 86: The Cigarette Tax
Taxes per pack of ciggies will jump by $2.60 to pay for various health programs.
Atlas Sez: You know, I actually might've voted for this increase, despite the fact that I do smoke, if there wasn't so much stupid waste in this proposition. Anti-tobacco programs have a spotty record of actually encouraging kids not to smoke, and a huge chunk of this measure will go for this. We can, and should, figure out better ways to use tobacco taxes.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 87: Alternative Energy
Taxes oil from $1-6 per barrel to create a $4 billion fund to develop new sources of alternative energy, increase energy efficiency, and reduce oil dependence.
Atlas Sez: While market forces are helping to create these sources, Big Oil is making huge profits. Even $4 billion is just a nick in their profits. And this will benefit all of us down the line. Well, young people, anyway. Everyone else will probably be dead of skin or lung cancer by 2025.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 88: Education Funding
Homeowners' property taxes will go up by $50 per year to boost education funding. The poor and disabled are exempted.
Atlas Sez: I'm not a homeowner. And if you're young and Californian, you probably aren't either. And since this is one of the few props that HAS FUNDING INSTEAD OF BORROWING, we might as well soak the rich to fix the schools. But, do note that important auditing provisions are included to help ensure the money is well spent.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 89: Public Financing for Campaigns
Cuts out corporate money, limits campaign contributions from big bucks donors, basically makes public support the real determinant of campaign funding.
Atlas Sez: It's about friggin' time we cut money out of politics, and this measure would not only provide public financing for campaigns-- but the public wouldn't even have to pay for it. This is the single most important reform on the ballot I've seen in the years I've lived in California. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to break the cycle of corruption.

Prop 90: Eminent Domain "Reform"/Gutting
Every time the government protects land from development, or buys it to build transit/schools/waterworks, etc., every property owner affected can sue for compensation based on the theoretical loss of property value.
Atlas Sez: The worst proposition on the ballot. Vote for this one and every time there's a new environmental protection, the local property owners can sue for 'lost value'. Basically, this would gut environmental protection and make it nearly impossible for the government to buy, use or control land for everyone's good. If you think permanently gutting environmental protection is a good idea, then by all means, vote yes.
Suggested vote: WHATEVER YOU DO, VOTE NO!