Lancelot Links postsThursday April 07, 2016
Lancelot Links Makes America Great Again
Sunday April 03, 2016
- Author Gabriel Sherman, who is used to loud voices, takes us inside the Trump campaign, which is small, inexperienced, douchey and massively successful. That Wall of Shame in his headquarters? There should be a lot more people on it.
- The call for “Open Carry” at the GOP Convention? That actually originated from gun-control advocates—pushing the Republican policy to its logical (read: illogical) conclusion. Adam Gopnik applauds and cries “Encore!”
- A quick history of the Panama Papers, the 11.5-million-file leak from Mossack Fonseca, the fourth-biggest biggest offshore law firm, via The Guardian, that exposes the private financial activities of the rich and powerful. A lot of the trails are covered up, but many lead to specific people like Vladimir Putin. Not to mention Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson. More, please. MF (nice acronym) is only fourth-biggest, after all.
- Paul Krugman points out that Obama's approval ratings are rising, and he feels it's because 1) the GOP is showing us what shitty leaders look like, and 2) his policies have been successful.
- Benedict Cumberbatch was filming “Dr. Strange” in New York, so what did he do? Stopped by a comic book store for research. Oh, and he also looks perfect in the role.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who turned a biography of one of the founding fathers into the biggest Broadway musical of the century, is asked by The New York Times what he reads. Turns out he reads a lot. He's reading like he's running out of time.
- If you've been paying attention, you can't help but notice that Netflix has fewer and fewer movies in its catalogue. Apparently this is a feature not a bug. It's also why I'm watching more on Amazon Prime—not to mention returning to Scarecrow Video to get the movies that nobody has.
- Indiewire has a new critic. Here's Jeff Wells' slow, backhanded clap. Agree with Wells on every one of these points.
- Omer Mozzafer picks his favorite Roger Ebert review: “Milk Money” from 1994. I didn't even know this thing existed. Anyway, it's a good review.
- Vox gives us 19 Nonsensical, Idiotic Things in the “Batman v Superman” movie. What's interesting is how many of them boil down to: This character has no motivation for what they're doing, and that's why we're bored.
- In the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza really breaks down the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders divide better than almost anyone.
Lancelot Links: Opening Day Edition
Friday March 11, 2016
- The Kansas City Royals are champions of the world, and Joe Posnanski wonders what lessons can be gleaned from their surprising rise to the top. They're good lessons, by the way, and not limited to baseball.
- The New York Times has taken a photo of Mets fans in utter misery as the Royals' Eric Hosmer slides in with the tying run in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series, and interviewed the heartbroken. So, so worth it.
- The Royals had an insane postseason but let's not forget the 53-minute 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and Rangers.
- Nor the epic article by Posnanski and Michael Schur about the 53-minute 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and Rangers.
- This spring, Posnanski continues to talk about the bat flip for the ages, as well as Bryce Harper's recent comments about how baseball should be more fun, and more demonstrative (but presumably with less neck-choking). A lot of the old guard, like Goose Gossage and Mike Schmidt, disagree with Harper but Posnanski doesn't. And he finds an old guarder who agrees with him: “Our time was our time; it's their time now.”
- Tyler Kepner has a Times piece on the “Endangered Species of Baseball,” which I thought might be: 1) young fans, or 2) African-American centerfielders, but is actually single-season stats players don't touch anymore. Recent ones: 75 stolen bases, 250 IP, 100 relief innings, 20 sac bunts. But what's 40/40 doing here? That was always an outlier—and most likely a PED outlier. Plus Cubs championship? If you're doing recent phenomena, why not a Yankees championship? Just one title since 2000. In Yankees history, that's a drought.
- How about some spring training action? Here, the Twins' Byron Buxton flashes some midseason form in center.
- Speaking of: Via Classic Twins blog, I came across this 22-minute doc on the 1970 Minnesota Twins, which is really the team that introduced me to baseball. It's my team: Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, Tovar, Cardenas; Blyleven, Perry, Tiant. I feel such a nostalgic pull seeing this. It's also, admittedly, pretty dull, in the PR spirit of the times, with an odd mid-60s soundtrack (think “Austin Powers”). Sponsored by Midwest Federal!
- A short oral history of how Dan Okrent and Lee Eisenberg discovered Bill James. Let me know when the longer version comes out.
- These days, it seems, Bill James has too much time on his hands. It's portrait of a stats guy doodling.
- Pinstripe Alley, a Yankees blog via Sports Nation, wonders why Hal Steinbrenner is pushing a revisionist history of his father that any fan worth his $15 beer knows is BS.
- More good news from Yankeeland: Hal is also pushing to reduce payroll for the Yanks.
- Who's going to win it all this year? Posnanski is one of many suggesting the 108-year dry spell of the Chicago Cubs is about to end.
- Finally, Josh Wilker, writer, father, “Bad News Bears in Breaking Training” apologist, has a sliver of time on his hands between his day job and parenting, so he writes about an old Ray Fosse baseball card and the possiblilty of boundless skies. And what could be more Opening Day than boundless skies?
Thursday March 03, 2016
Don't throw away that paper bag.
- Steven Spielberg in 30 shots: one per movie, basically. Don't know if I'd go with these, particularly, but it's not a bad group.
- From the usual folks: How 'Deadpool' should have ended. I wouldn't be surprised if the best thing to come out of the upcoming “Batman v. Superman” movie will be the follow-up HISHE cartoon.
- I saw this via Facebook: a 1988 Poppadums snack commercial with a Sikh Elvis. The guy's quite good. (Psst, this is how we win the war; with pop culture.)
- So you're cleaning out the attic, about to throw out an old paper bag, but look inside first. What's in there? A million dollars. Specifically, seven Ty Cobb turn-of-the-last-century tobacco baseball cards. The kicker? The family in question—in the South no less!—barely knew who Ty Cobb was. But each of those cards is worth approximately $150K. I'd sell six, keep one.
- Joe Posnanski began counting down his top 100 players ... when was it? Last year? The year before? Anyway, he's resurrecting it for the time being, and has a nice post about his No. 35: Cal Ripken. (I'd still take Junior higher.)
- Life, death, baseball: Josh Wilker on his Mike Miley card. Don't know Miley? Neither did Wilker.
- The very first New York Times article about Adolf Hitler, according to Vox.com, contains what we would now call the other side of the story: no, Hitler really wasn't that anti-Semitic. Can you say “false equivalence”? BTW: Three guesses as to why Vox is researching this.
- Mitt, McCain dump on Trump. To be continued. (And yes, “Dump on Trump” is the Dr. Seuss book that needs to be written.)
- But who's the alternative? Ted Cruz? He's like a less likable version Richard Nixon.
- And it's not just nationally; it's the GOP everywhere. A Scott Walker appointee to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Rebecca Bradley, now running for a 10-year term, called gays “degenerates who basically commit suicide through their behavior” in public letters and editorials in college in the 1990s. She wrote that they “deservedly receive none of my sympathy.” She was harsher with Pres. Clinton.
- Here's the superlovely Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton”) with the super grizzly Harrison Ford on Instagram. I'm “Hamilton”-obsessed.
- And here's the New Yorker's profile of Lin-Manuel Miranda from Feb. 2015. I missed it back then. I'm sure I dismissed it. Now I could kiss it. MC Erik!
- BTW: Five years earlier in The New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg wrote about why Alexander Hamilton's story would make a great movie; and why it's never been made. Both prescient and ironic.
- CBS News recently did a piece on Ron Chernow, the Hamilton biographer who inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the musical.
- RIP, George Martin, the fifth Beatle, and the epitome of class.
Linking the Koch Brothers' Chain
Tuesday March 01, 2016
- In Nevada, Koch brothers front group, “Concerned Veterans for America,” purchases big ad-buy for U.S. Rep Joe Heck (R) against former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D), to replace U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. Via Las Vegas Sun.
- The New York Times calls the Heck ad-buy the Kochs' “first political ad of 2016.” A Democratic spokeswoman says that the Kochs' support for Heck is unsurprising: “Whether it's supporting the privatization of Social Security, voting to turn Medicare over to private insurance companies, or opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Congressman Heck has spent his half a decade in Washington voting with the Koch brothers and special interests at every turn.”
- A letter in the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post points out that an anti-regulatory Op-Ed in the paper was in fact written by Thomas J. Pyle, “president of the American Energy Alliance, the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research. The group is a nonprofit that is primarily funded by the Koch brothers and their donor network. The organization slams everything solar, while promoting everything oil, gas and coal.”
- One thing—probably the only thing—good about Donald Trump? The Koch brothers don't want him.
- At the same time, they're not going to spend money to try to stop Trump. They only do that with, you know, Pres. Obama, climate change scientists, etc. Funniest line: “The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said.”
- Common-sense question from a Kansas City Star reader on Charles Koch, the head of the Koch empire: “Why does someone who doesn't need health insurance for himself or his family want to deprive it for so many?”
Lancelot Links Loses It at the 2016 Oscars
All previous entries
- It's two days later and do you know where your Oscar host is? And just how did Chris Rock do anyway? To be honest, I wasn't impressed. I liked the Kevin Hart joke. That's about it. The Times, I feel, was a bit kind in its review.
- What didn't work? The Jada joke—particularly bringing Rihanna into it. And the thing with Stacey Dash? Painful. But the worst, certainly the most controversial, was that Asian joke.
- VerySmartBrothas.com was less kind in its review, but what they want you can't get. They want an all-out attack at an event that's supposed to be a celebration. To be honest, I thought Rock attacked Hollywood too much for the #OscarsSoWhite thing. At what other event is the goal to shame the event? And for the zillionth time, I'd like to remind everyone that every time you say someone should have been nominated, you're saying someone else, someone probably in the same room as you, shouldn't have been nominated. Don't pretend you have all the slots in the world to play with.
- How long have I been saying this? Since my very first blog post. I'm obviously having a huge impact here.
- Meanwhile, Alex Ross at The New Yorker takes a look at the Academy using Wagner to force off the stage guys that made movies about the Holocaust, and guys trying to talk about racial tolerance.
- Meanwhile, Jeff Wells gives us 7 possible reasons why Sylvester Stallone lost supporting actor.
- This Oscars was also one of the lowest-rated Oscar telecasts ever. But let's face it, fewer people are going to see Oscar films. Plus we can all see the best bits of the broadcast on YouTube the next day.
- But here's a thought: Louis CK as host. Poor bastard.
- “Every Frame a Painting” (one of Jordy's favorites) takes a look at the reverse shots of the Coen Brothers. Also they're odd blend of comedy and tragedy. I learn new things every day.
- What was Justice Scalia doing in Texas just before he died? Mother Jones says he was with an “exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus.” Whatever gets you through the night.
- James Surowiecki on just how pro-business the Roberts court has been.
- Before the Oscars, we got the Cesars. Nathaniel at Film Experience counted down the winners.
- It's Joe Posnanski on Buck O'Neil again, but that's fine with me. At my funeral, you could read Joe Posnanski on Buck O'Neil and I'd be cool with it.
- The Atlantic wakes up to “Theeb” about a year after my review. Welcome to the party, pals.
- The best skewering of Donald Trump (a.k.a. Donald Drumpf), comes to us courtesy of John Oliver.