I finally got around to seeing Quantum of Solace this afternoon. I’d actually intended to go the weekend that it came out, but we’ve been rather busy these past couple of months and I kept putting it off until it was down to playing only twice a day on a single screen. I’ve seen every Bond film from Diamonds are Forever onward during its initial theatrical run, and to break that 37-year streak was unthinkable.
Truth is, I wasn’t that excited about the flick, given its tepid reviews and my own partial indifference to the previous installment, Casino Royale. Yeah, I know, I know, that’s heresy. Casino Royale is the best Bond ever, reinvents the franchise, stone-cold killer, doesn’t give a shit about how his vodka martinis are prepared, yada, yada, yada. While I agree that Bond needed a 21st Century makeover, and appreciate the talent and care that went into the production, in the end I found myself missing some of the old Bond tropes.
Don’t get me wrong; I hate Moonraker as much as the next British spy fan. I despise the low points of the Roger Moore era*: the Tarzan yell, the Beach Boys surf song, the slide whistle sound effect. I’m not looking for a return to the bad old days.
On the other hand, I do come into a Bond film with certain expectations. There should be a megalomaniacal villain with an audacious plan (large scale model of a major landmark optional) and a visually distinctive henchman. There should be a couple of cool secret agent gadgets, and preferably a car with secret guns or rockets. And there absolutely must be a woman with an unlikely name suitable for a double entendre.
You see, while many decry The World is Not Enough for having Denise Richards play a nuclear scientist named Christmas Jones, I love it for precisely that reason. In a Bond film, of course the nuclear scientists look like Denise Richards. (And if anyone wants to make an argument that this sort of thing undercuts the seriousness of a Bond story, I’ll remind you that it was Ian Fleming himself that came up with Pussy Galore.)
So, on to Quantum of Solace. Right up front I’ll say that it was pretty good, certainly nothing that anyone should be embarrassed about. Daniel Craig may not be my Bond, but I accept him as a Bond.
That said, I think the best thing these modern Bond films have going for them is Dame Judi Dench as M. She spends much of her appearance here becoming increasingly exasperated with Bond’s tendency to kill their most promising leads, and provides some much-needed humor in contrast to Craig’s tight-ass.
There are a couple of big action sequences right off the bat that would be thrilling if it were at all possible to tell what was going on. Edited into a montage of split-second, shaky-cam shots, I had a hard time following the characters’ spatial relationships to each other or even what cool stunts they were attempting to demonstrate. Honestly, guys, it’s okay to allow a shot to exceed .61 seconds. Fortunately, things do eventually settle down a bit, and I found later set pieces involving a boat chase and an aerial battle much easier to take in.
One welcome aspect of this film is that it introduces a new villainous organization to the Bond franchise, a collection of shady power brokers known as Quantum. (Bond’s previous nemeses, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and Blofeld, are unusable thanks in part to legal issues surrounding the characters, and also to Mike Myers as Dr. Evil, who has forever ruined the credibility of Nehru jacket-wearing, cat-stroking wickedness.) Quantum’s goals and ambitions are left somewhat vague, but there’s a good foundation there for future world-domination plots.
Unfortunately, Quantum doesn’t make the best showing here. Main baddie Dominic Greene is little more than a bug-eyed thug, and his cunning plan is to secure the water rights for a drought-ravaged Bolivia. Excuse me while I couldn’t possibly care. It ain’t exactly a diamond-encrusted laser satellite or a rocket that eats other rockets, is what I’m sayin’. I think that various shots of dry, dusty Bolivian peasants are supposed to get us emotionally invested in the scheme, but even after Quantum is thwarted and their artificially-created drought is ended, I still have no sense that the lives of anyone are likely to be any better; the film makes clear that it’ll be only a matter of days before the next dictator takes over the country.
And, if any further evidence be needed that this was perhaps not the Bond film for me, consider this: the one woman that Bond beds is named Strawberry Fields, and that fact is never once referenced. She makes a point of solely calling herself “Ms. Fields;” only the credits give her full name. I mean, come on, would the whole franchise come crashing down were we to hear one sniggering sexual pun? Not even “Let me take you down, Strawberry Fields?”
* Not to be unduly harsh on Roger Moore, who was my Bond during my formative years. I actually like most of his entries in the series, with the obvious exceptions of Moonraker and A View to a Kill. It’s just that even in the middle of a decent romp like Octopussy, you get a moment so fucking stupid (the Tarzan yell) that you want to sink into your theater seat and hope that no one saw you in the audience.
The Thiel household has a number of unusual Christmas traditions, such as the gay snowmen that enjoy a place of honor atop our living room television. But the one with the most staying power is our annual screening of a 1967 episode of Dragnet. The plot, in which L.A. police detectives Joe Friday and Bill Gannon track down a missing Jesus statue, might be the stuff of banal, treacly TV Christmas specials. However, viewed through the deadpan filter of Jack Webb, it becomes an inadvertent comedy delight.
Or maybe it’s just us.
Earlier this year, I transferred my aging VHS copy–recorded some two decades ago from a “Nick at Nite” holiday marathon–onto a shiny DVD, and I’d planned to upload some highlights to YouTube in clear violation of their copyright protection policies (which I believe actually include the phrase “wink, wink”). However, Hulu has saved me both the trouble and the potential legal entanglement!
Our story opens on the day before Christmas, with Friday working the day watch out of Burglary Division. His partner Gannon (M*A*S*H‘s Harry Morgan) enters carrying a desktop Christmas tree that’s basically a twig with a stand. “It sure brightens the place up,” Bill declares.
“I bought it from this round-headed kid named Brown.”
He sees Friday writing out a stack of Christmas cards, and says “You oughta get married, Joe. Only system. Eileen does all this stuff for me. Mails cards, laundry, only system.” One wonders how Eileen feels about the system.
Bill hopes to get off early, as he still needs to complete his holiday shopping. (Laundry detergent?) Joe, however, has already bought his girlfriend a gift: a stationary set.
Gannon: “Joe, you never learn.”
Friday: “What’s the matter?”
Gannon: “No woman wants a stationary set. You get her something personal.”
Friday: “It’s got her initials on it.”
Gannon: “No, no, no. You want something more sentimental. Romantic.”
Friday: “What’d you get Eileen?”
Gannon: “Well, it’s different in her case.”
Friday: “What’d you get your wife?”
Gannon: “A sewing machine.”
Friday: “That’s romantic.”
Gannon: “Well, it is, in a way.”
Friday: “Why didn’t you buy her a catcher’s mitt?”
This banter–which is downright frivolous by Dragnet standards–is interrupted by a call. Father Rojas from the San Fernando Mission Church has reported that their statue of the infant Jesus has been stolen! Even though it’s in Foothill Division territory, Friday decides to meet with the father.
Father: “I’m sorry to bother you men.”
Gannon: “That’s alright, Father.”
Father: “Especially now, the holiday season.”
Friday: “We cash our checks, Father.”
I feel like this is something more of us in the service industry should say.
“Thanks for coming to fix my toilet.”
“We cash our checks.”
“This ice cream cone is tasty!”
“We cash our checks.”
Soon, Father Rojas and Joe Friday are in a full-fledged quip-off:
Friday: “How late is the church open?”
Father: “All night.”
Friday: “You leave it wide open, so any thief can walk in?”
Father: “Particularly thieves, Sergeant.”
Even Friday doesn’t have a smart-ass reply to that one.
Gannon: “Just for a check on the pawn shops, how much is the statue worth?”
Father: “In money?”
Friday : “Well, that’s the point in pawn shops, Father.”
Father: “Only a few dollars. We could get a new one, but it wouldn’t be the same. We’ve had children in the parish; they’ve grown up and married. It’s the only Jesus they know.”
Gannon: “We understand.”
Father: “And we’ve had children who died. It was the only Jesus they knew. So many of the people who come here are simple people, they wouldn’t understand, Sergeant. It would be like changing the Evening Star.”
A frequent paraphrase between me and Mrs. Thielavision: “They’re a simple people; they wouldn’t understand.”
“No, really. They’re fucking stupid. It’s a wonder they know to breathe.”
The detectives promise to continue looking for the AWOL messiah, and, if possible, return it for Christmas Mass. But before they go:
Father: “It’s sad, isn’t it?”
Friday: “How’s that?”
Father: “In so short a time, men learn to steal.”
Friday: “Yes, but consider us, Father.”
Friday: “If some of ‘em didn’t, you and I would be out of work.”
The thought of continued employment comforts Father Rojas.
Hitting the pawn shops, Friday and Gannon make the acquaintance of the absurdly cantankerous Mr. Flavin, owner of Flavin’s Religious Art. (“Fifty percent European items!”) The thing about Dragnet is that I’m never quite sure when it’s trying to be funny, but the things that come out of Flavin’s mouth are so bizarre that even Joe Friday begins rolling his eyes.
Actual dialogue (paraphrased): “How’d you know my name? We never met!”
Friday asks the shopkeeper if he has a large statue of the baby Jesus, to which Flavin responds as if he’s never heard of such a thing:
Flavin: “You don’t want a large one unless it’s fer a church. That’s where you want a larger one.”
Friday: “Could we see it, please?”
Flavin: “I guess. It’s not my due to butt in, but unless you live in a big place, this’ll make your living room all a-kilter.”
Friday: “Yes, sir. Do most of the people who go to the Mission Church trade here?”
Flavin: “Good many of ‘em. Especially the kids.”
Friday: “Why kids?”
Flavin: “More religious! Check on yourself. See if kids aren’t more religious than you.”
Friday: “Might be so.”
Flavin: “That’s what’s wrong with the world!”
I’m pretty sure that no old person in the history of humanity has ever said that a resurgence of faith is the problem with the world. Especially not the owner of a religious paraphernalia store. However, Mr. Flavin is bugfuck nuts, so there’s that.
“You wouldn’t want this here Jesus! It’ll rob you blind!”
The interrogation continues:
Friday: “Do people ever come in and sell back a religious article?”
Flavin: “Like a prayer book or rosaries?”
Friday: “Yes, sir.”
Flavin: “Second hand, you mean?”
Friday: “Yes, sir.”
Flavin: “Not since I ever been around. It’s silly.”
Flavin: “People don’t have religious articles so they can get rid of ‘em. They have ‘em so they can have ‘em.”
Gannon: “But if a man had a statue and wanted to sell it, he’d come to a place like this.”
Flavin: “Sure, but he wouldn’t want to sell it.”
Friday: “He would if it was stolen.”
Flavin: “No, sir! If a man was to steal a statue, he’d be crazy or something like that. The only place he’d want to go is where crazy people are.”
Friday: “You may be right, Mr. Flavin.”
Flavin: “I don’t know what you fellas are looking for, but if it’s somebody who stole a statue, he’s crazy and you won’t find him. You won’t find him as long as you live, or in a million years!”
Friday: “That should cover it.”
Point to ponder: If crazy people are impossible to find, why do I encounter so many of them?
You too can enjoy a visit with Mr. Flavin! Click here!
Confronted by this unassailable logic, Friday and Gannon retreat. They continue to check religious stores, but “none of them were as encouraging as Mr. Flavin.”
The flatfoots return to the office to be met by one of the Mission’s altar boys, John Heffernan, played by a pre-Brady Bunch Barry Williams. When Joe tells little Greg Brady that he didn’t have to come in (“A phone call woulda worked”), the boy replies, “My father said to get on over. He said that any kid that uses phones is lazy.” My, times have changed.
“Is this about the time I stole that goat?”
Heffernan hadn’t noticed the statue being Jesus-napped, but mentions a man carrying a bundle. Friday jumps at the chance to lead the witness:
Friday: “How large a bundle?”
Heffernan: “It’s hard to say.”
Friday: “Come on, son! Was it large or small? The size of the statue?”
Heffernan: “About that big! Yes, sir!”
“Then, Marcia was hit by a football…”
The search for the man with the mysterious bundle–a church regular named Claude Stroup–leades them to a hotel for down-and-out old folks called “The Golden Dream.” Stroup is absent, and the desk clerk is worried that he won’t return in time to sing in the Christmas concert with the hotel choir.
The Three Tenors eventually went to seed.
Clerk: “I hope it’s nothing serious for Claude. Fella’s troubles oughta be over.”
Clerk: “Way back. Wouldn’t count now.”
Friday: “Tell us anyway.”
Clerk: “It was something back where he used to live. He robbed somebody or something.”
Friday: “What else?”
Clerk: “That’s all. It was a long time ago, way far back. But he forgot it all, the robbing and everything.”
Friday: “No, not quite.”
Friday: “He remembered it this morning.”
Joe Friday has heard of the presumption of innocence, but holds no truck with it.
Later, back at the station, Captain Mack attempts to send Joe and Bill off to pick up a captured fugitive, but Friday is adamant about finishing his work for Father Rojas.
Captain Mack: “What is it, a ten, fifteen-dollar chalk statue?”
Friday: “Since when’s the price determine a case?”
Well, considering that the Champaign police never called me back after my Halloween decorations were stolen, I’d say that price very much determines the case. But this is Dragnet, so instead Joe Friday adroitly guilt trips the Captain into letting him continue in the search for Jesus, leading to one of the queerest looks I’ve seen in a police drama.
Click here to watch Friday play “Good Cop, Guilty Cop!”
At 4:45 pm, there’s a break in the case: Stroup has returned to the Golden Dream. As Joe puts it, “The desk clerk was right, Claude Stroup looked like a man who’d had his troubles at bargain rates.”
“How many badges do you see?”
Impatient about being unable to present his sweetheart with her personalized stationary set, Joe Friday gets cranky:
Stroup: “Honest, I didn’t do nothing against the law.”
Friday: “You haven’t been accused. We want to talk to you downtown.”
Stroup: “No, sir, I’m not goin’. I’m not goin’ anyplace. I’m not goin’ to talk to nobody.”
Friday: “You’re half wrong already.”
And so Friday and Gannon drag his happy ass halfway across town. A couple of hours pass, and Stroup still refuses to talk. Ultimately, the real reason for his reticence is revealed: earlier that day he’d gotten into a minor parking lot accident with a borrowed car. The suspicious bundle was nothing more than his spare pants for the Christmas Eve concert. Joe glumly releases him, and tells Claude to go home. Not that he offers the poor guy a ride. Or cab fare. Go home, Stroup. Get walking. Bargain rates, indeed.
With the pawn shops closed and all leads dried up, the defeated duo return to Father Rojas with the bad news. Just then, a small Mexican boy enters pulling a wagon…inside which is the baby Jesus!
Jesus makes Paquito’s nose itchy.
The father recognizes him as Paquito Mendoza, one of the locals, and translates his Spanish:
Father: “He says that all through the years, he prayed for a red wagon. This year, he prayed to the child Jesus. He promised that if he got the red wagon, the child Jesus would have the first ride in it.”
Paquito: (speaking Spanish)
Father: “He wants to know if the devil will come and take him to Hell.”
Friday: “That’s your department, Father.”
Father: (to Paquito) “El Diablo, no.”
At which point, Vic always shouts, “El Diablo! Si!” And then she hisses. That’s what we Thiels call Christmas spirit.
Paquito returns the statue to the creche, to be watched over by its chipped and worn Nativity-mates.
God in His natural habitat.
Approving Donkey approves.
“No, you see, you are simple, Paquito. You wouldn’t understand.”
All is well. The Whos down in Who-Ville will wake up on Christmas morn and never face the prospect of being hopelessly confused by a Replacement Christ. Paquito gathers his wagon and hightails it back to his life of petty larceny.
Paquito will soon learn that there are no red wagons in Hell.
Gannon: “I don’t understand how he got the wagon today. Don’t kids wait for Santa Claus anymore?”
Father: “It’s not from Santa Claus. The firemen fix the old toys and give them to new children. Paquito’s family, they’re poor.”
Friday: “Are they, Father?”
Off to solve the Case of the Purloined Dreidel.
And with that, we draw a close to the Dragnet Christmas special. I hope that it will become a tradition in your household as well.
I have been remiss in failing to mention Batman: The Brave and the Bold, an animated series airing Friday evenings on Cartoon Network. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it.
The original Brave and the Bold comic book started as one of DC’s generic titles, a catch-all that featured everyone from the Viking Prince to the Suicide Squad. Eventually, it became a Batman team-up book, and that’s the inspiration for its cartoon namesake.
It emulates the ’60s comics in other ways as well. Gone is the grim avenger of the night that’s become the default setting for Batman. Here, Bats is quick with a quip, and prone to adventures involving gorillas and dinosaurs.
It’s just fun, with a jazzy score, a light tone and a love for the odder denizens of the DC Universe. Each episode opens with a teaser sequence unconnected with the main story, in which Batman and a guest hero tackle obscure villains such as Clock King, Gentleman Ghost and the Sportsmaster.
My favorite villainous cameo so far occurred during Batman’s team-up with Plastic Man. In a flashback dealing with Plas’ early days as a petty crook, they recast him as a henchman of Kite-Man. I mean, really, Kite-Man? The criminal whose exploits involve strapping himself to a kite? I get the feeling the show’s writers are having a contest to see which of them can include the silliest old-school bad guy. Who’s next? The Ten-Eyed Man? Doctor Double X? Cary Bates?
Way back in February, I pre-ordered Hasbro’s super-deluxe collectible “Cloverfield Movie Monster” action figure. Seventy points of articulation? Interchangeable heads? Comes with ten “parasites” and the head of the Statue of Liberty? I was so there!
In October, my order (in fact, all orders) were inexplicably canceled. After checking with Customer Service, it appeared that Hasbro’s computer automatically killed them once the toy’s original October release date had passed. However, I was told that it would indeed be coming out in December, and that I should place a second order. Which I did.
Sometime between now and then, my original order was just as mysteriously reinstated. Long story short, TWO of them arrived on my front porch on Friday. And trust me, at 14″ tall and a hundred bucks a pop, two is definitely one too many.
Two, two, two giant shipping cases!
I contacted Customer Service again, and was told that it was all okay. All I had to do was to affix the included return label to one of them and drop it off at the FedEx office.
Guess what wasn’t in either box? I called again yesterday and asked them to e-mail me one, but apparently they can only do it by “escalating” my claim and sending a return label via snail-mail. Bleah.
As for Clovey himself, damn, he’s impressive. They weren’t lying about the 70 points of articulation. Dude’s got joints everywhere. I’m sure that there are still some I haven’t found yet.
The box is equally impressive, though in hindsight I’m finding it a problem. As a high-end collectible, it comes in a super-fancy, full-color box (featuring the decapitated Statue of Liberty image from the movie poster) that lifts off to reveal a 3D cityscape. Clovey really wants to be displayed there, but damn, it’s big for an already crowded toyroom. And even storing it away somewhere safe may take some doing.
I was a bit disappointed in the accessories. The parasites and Liberty head are apparently in scale, which means that they are tiny compared to the creature. I would’ve thought Liberty’s noggin was bigger, but apparently not.
Hobbes says “What the what?”
On the plus side, there’s the scary, second head with its open mouth. Pushing its tongue activates its eerie roar, which my cat does. not. like. And did I mention 70 points of articulation? I remember when “16 points of articulated evil” was enough to impress me.
One thing that I missed during my recent spell of gastrointestinal distress was the passing of uberfan Forrest J Ackerman last Thursday. Ackerman could’ve laid claim to a significant place in pop culture history for several reasons. He coined the term “sci-fi.” As a literary agent, he represented Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft and L. Ron Hubbard. (I’ll forgive him that last one.) Most importantly, for some 25 years he edited the preeminent newsstand magazine devoted to sci-fi, fantasy and horror, Famous Monsters of Filmland.
Forry and me, circa 1986.
The cheaply printed black-and-white mag was chock-full of terrible puns and rare photos from unheard-of or forgotten feature films. In the days before VCR, DVD or IMDB, Forry offered tantalizing, sometimes frustrating glimpses of horror flicks a young fan would’ve likely had to stay up until 3:00 am to watch, if they aired on TV at all. Famous Monsters inspired a generation of fantasy filmmakers, including a couple of guys named Lucas and Spielberg.
Forry was always approachable to his followers. Once, when I was in college, I called his home and left a message. (His phone number was an open secret.) It blew my young mind when he called me back and talked for what may have been a half hour. On his dime.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Forry was the fabulous “Ackermansion,” his house in the Hollywood outskirts in which resided a massive collection of novels, photos, movie posters and props. On most every Saturday afternoon for many years, Forry held an open house in which fans from all across the world visited to stumble in slack-jawed awe through the detritus of decades.
Inside the Ackermansion. Items depicted include a satellite from the movie Meteor, the Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, and the tattooed body of The Illustrated Man.
Now, truth to tell, I was a little dismayed at the condition of the some of the items on display when I made my first pilgrimage in 1986. Forry’s wife Wendayne was still alive, and she requested that the collection stay in the basement. As you might image, it was not exactly climate-controlled. Unique items from filmdom’s history, donated by Forry’s many industry friends, were scattered and strewn about the place, fondled by fanboys.
Several miniatures from Ray Harryhausen’s 20 Million Miles to Earth.
Forry would hold court, regaling his people (and I still count myself among them) with stories of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. I’m sure that he loved the attention, but still, one has to appreciate the commitment and willingness to share.
During my year in L.A., I had a couple of significant encounters with Forry. I once had lunch with him, though I’m pretty sure that the reason he invited me had more to do with my roommate at the time, a young woman named Margo who was a big Lugosi fan and had communicated with Forry for years. Forry was hailed as the Hugh Hefner of sci-fi, and I think that wasn’t entirely due to his magazine publishing interests.
Later that year, my friends and I crashed his 70th birthday party. Yes, we were the sort of people who did that sort of thing. Granted, at least one of us (not me) had an actual invitation, and no one questioned the others when we arrived at the hotel bearing his gift: a life-sized, head-and-shoulders bust of Charles Laughton as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I wound up at a table with Bela Lugosi, Jr.
The stegosaurus up top was an original animation model from the 1933 King Kong.
I talked to him a few more times in the 20 years since I left L.A. I even took Vic on the journey to the Ackermansion once.
The last time I spoke to Forry was perhaps four or five years ago. Medical and legal bills had forced him to sell his house and much of his collection, and he’d moved to a smaller abode. (He still had his regular open house, though.) At the time, I was occasionally filling-in as a host for WILL-AM’s interview shows, and I’d hoped to schedule Forry for an hour of chat. For whatever reason, it never happened. I’m sorry about that. It would’ve been fun to have him share his tales with our Central Illinois audience.
I doff my skull-cap to you, Forry. Whatever I am today I owe in at least some small part to you.
Last night, Christmas perennial Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on CBS. Now, this show is dear to Mrs. Thielavision and myself–we’ve currently got a large diorama of Rudolph characters lining the top of our entertainment center–but we have to admit that these days it inspires many nagging questions, the most critical of which is this:
Why is everyone such a dick?
Oh sure, you expect all of the other reindeer to be intolerant. (See “Reindeer Games, Denied.”) But the elves–at least the ones who are uninterested in dentistry–are similarly opposed to nonconformity. And then there’s Santa. Jolly old Saint Nick. Who visits children of all creeds and colors, but is taken aback by the sight of a baby reindeer with a glowing nose.
Donner: Now, I’m sure it’ll stop as soon as he grows up, Santa.
Santa: Well, let’s hope so if he wants to make the sleigh team some day.
Workplace discrimination? From Santa? Does he withhold toys from developmentally disabled children? How does he feel about conjoined twins?
Of course, in the end Santa comes around, but only after he realizes that he needs the little freak. And even then, if he’d had the foresight to install a sleigh-mounted spotlight, poor Rudolph would likely be moping around the North Pole to this very day.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still love Rudolph. The songs are great, and there’s imagination to spare. Where it really wins me over are the freaky details used to flesh out what is, after all, otherwise a very simple story. Not only is there Hermey, the Elf Who Wants to Be a Dentist, but there’s also the whole Island of Misfit Toys mythology. You see, there’s a lion with wings named King Moonracer who flies around the world collecting poorly manufactured toys to live a shunned, lonely existence on his own private island. Oooo-kay.
Now, leaving aside the oft-debated question of the exact defect of the outwardly normal Misfit Doll (said, by one official source, to be “psychological” in nature), there’s another bit of oddity regarding the outcast toys. The reason they’re on the island in the first place is that they were unloved and abandoned by children, yet at the end of the show Santa delivers them from his sleigh at Christmas.
I can hear the grateful kids now:
Hey, this sucks! This train’s got square wheels!
Mom! Tell Billy to stop squirting jelly at me!
What’s this? A cowboy? Riding an ostrich? Where’s my fucking bike?!?
I’ve been too busy to blog lately, what with the pledge drive in full swing. So instead, please enjoy this fine Vanity Fair article about Tina Fey. (Especially the photo on page one! Thank you, Alec Baldwin, for encouraging Fey to unbutton.)