1. A performer who looks and sounds eerily like Kermit the Frog covers Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." (Hat tip to ALOTT5MA.)
"The needle tears a hole."
2. "The Arab Experience: Here & There." At Screengrab, Leonard Pierce
writes about nonfiction TV that explores the experience of Arabs in the West. With links to clips.
"At home, Arabs still don't have much of a presence on American television outside of 24 or in film outside of the odd portrayal of the "good Muslim" by Tony Shalhoub, everyone's favorite token middle easterner when he's not playing an Italian or a Jew. But overseas, a few Americans—including, of all people, Henry Kissinger and George H.W. Bush—have financed a reality show called On the Road in America to be broadcast over Saudi Arabia's MBC Network. The show features a lengthy road trip from one end of the United States to the other by four citizens of Arab nations; it shows their reaction to America (and its reaction to them) in a well-meaning attempt to counter the often-negative view of our country that often gets airtime in the Middle East."
3. "The Screenwriting Blog-a-thon." Mystery Man on Film sponsors a celebration of screenwriting through April 2, with links to essays across the web, including an essay by House contributor Edward Copeland on Woody Allen's script for The Purple Rose of Cairo.
"The Purple Rose of Cairo happens to be the first Allen film I saw in a theater, but it didn't immediately leap to the top of my list of his best movies. It took time and repeat visits to truly appreciate what a near-perfect specimen this bittersweet comedy is. I think part of the reason is that it is truly the only Woody Allen film that, if you took those familiar black-and-white credits away, you wouldn't recognize as coming from the writer-director. He's not aping Bergman. There is no character serving as the Woody surrogate either in a good way or an embarrassing way (think Kenneth Branagh in the god-awful Celebrity). It's the perfect blend of comedy, fantasy and realism and one of the greatest depictions of the magic of movies ever put on film."
4. Plea deal gets Australian nine months on terror charges: a military jury decided on seven-year sentence but was pre-empted." David Hicks, Guantanamo Bay detainee, is found guilty of providing "material support to terrorism." By Carol J. Williams of The Los Angeles Times.
"The 31-year-old Hicks, who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for more than five years, secured the reduced sentence by promising he would never allege he was mistreated in U.S. custody and would cooperate with prosecutors in any future civilian or military trials of other terrorism suspects. The deal that rendered moot the sentence imposed by an eight-member military panel appeared likely to draw more criticism of the Pentagon's detention and trial operations here, because it suggested political influence had been exerted on the case and because it exposed a potential flaw in the Military Commissions Act of 2006."
5. "Last thoughts on Chris, many thoughts on Sanjaya." USA Today.com's Ken Barnes on American Idol.
"At the core, I like the show—a feeling that sometimes seems rare in a build-'em-up/knock-'em-down media atmosphere in which the Washington Post, for example, routinely labels its Idol coverage "We watch so you don't have to." Condescend much? That kind of contempt for the show and its fans (clueless rubes that we apparently are) tends to make my blood boil. That's why Sanjaya's continuing presence bothers me so much—I'm tired of people rubbing their hands with glee about how much fun it is to undermine the show, if not ruin it. What would they prefer—a world in which the insipid Dancing With the Stars rules the talent contests? No thanks."
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.