Lancelot Links postsFriday July 11, 2014
- The WSJ's Law Blog has a good primer on the big cases the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on this session, and how each justice voted. Apparently we have two swing voters now: Kennedy and Roberts. Even if they don't swing much. Or well.
- The Huffington Post gets its fact wrong about “Wire” creator David Simon and regrets it.
- Kevin Smith visits the new “Star Wars” set and really, really, likes what he sees.
- A friend of mine traveled with the Seattle Mariners in the early 2000s and met many of the players. Most were not exactly gentlemen, but two, she said, most definitely were: Jamie Moyer and Raul Ibanez. Joe Posnanski has now given us a beautiful post on the great after-30 career of Ibanez.
- Posnanski again on the introduction of the Lou Boudreau/Ted Williams shift, which is the talk of baseball this season.
- From my friend Andy, an old New Yorker piece: “Why You Should Read W.G. Sebald.” Which translates to why *I* should read W.G. Sebald.
- From my friend Ciam: Alan Brennert on getting screwed over yet again by the comic book industry—in this case, DC Comics. When there's money to be made, someone else besides the creator is making it. (Cf. Obadiahs' line in the movie “Iron Man.”)
- Related: Nicola Smith on how to sell a query letter. Via my friend Mike Smith, who's working on his first novel.
- Via Jim Walsh: The All-Star Game is being held in Minneapolis this year, Target Field, so local broadcast station WCCO looks back at the first All-Star Game held in Minnesota in 1965—with the help of Tony Oliva, whom you may have seen around this site once or twice. Possibly with me, age 8, hugging his butt.
- Andrew Sullivan tries to hold some of the chattering necons accountable in his perfectly titled post, “Never Listen to a Neo-Con Again.”
- You know how the third act of the latest “Transformers” movie was set in China? Well, it's paid off.
The Return of Lancelot Links
In the Age of Social Media (2008-present), there hasn't been as much linking going on as there was in the Age of Blogs (2002-2008), and I've been as guilty as anyone: I haven't done one of these things since last April.
- Nathaniel Rogers over at Film Experience gives a rundown of Oscar hopefuls from the first (generally forgotten) half of the movie year. My main hope? That Ralph Fiennes' performance in “Grand Budapest Hotel” isn't overlooked but I assume it will be. It has three Oscar strikes against it: 1) early release; 2) gentle humor; and 3) Wes Anderson, whom Oscar traditionally ignores.
- Nathaniel also talks up the Blu-Ray release of the Adam West “Batman” series, sorts through his favorite Catwomen, and criticizes the top-heaviness of Henry Cavill's Superman.
- Joe Posnanski has a lovely, thoughtful piece on how we disagree about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- What did democracy mean to E.B. White in 1943? This.
- My friend Vinny alerted me to this thoughtful video essay by Tony Zhou on why Michael Bay, for all his horrendous awfulness, works. As Werner Herzog says: Do not avert your eyes. P.S. The car crashing through the hillside village? That's a ripoff, too, of Jackie Chan's “Police Story.”
- I like Jeff Wells on Harold Ramis (R.I.P.) playing the doctor in “As Good As It Gets”: “Sorry. I know this scene is just a calculated James L. Brooks massage but it gets me anyway. I didn’t know Ramis at all (spoke to him maybe two or three times) but the gentle vibe was real.”
- Andrew Sullivan dissects the positive June jobs report and the lowest unemployment rate since the Global Financial Meltdown.
- Finally, Jeffrey Toobin reminds us why we need to take Ted Cruz seriously. (He's a great debater, and a former solicitor general of Texas, who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court nine times.) Toobin also lets him get away with some doozies. (Particularly on SCOTUS “striking down” Prop 8 in California, when it simply ruled the appellants had no legal standing.) Hold your friends close.
Julie Newmar's Catwoman from the 1966 “Batman” TV series: so sexy it hurt.
- Writers from “The Simpsons”—Conan O'Brien, Al Jean, Jeff Martin, Jay Kogen, and Mike Reiss—sit around a table and talk about the early years of the show. We get anecdotes about James L. Brooks, Johnny Carson, Michael Jackson. They talk about the awful place they worked, how Conan came on board, who their favorite characters were. It's 80 minutes and I watched the whole damn thing. Most revealing? These guys are funny but hardly Mel Brooks.
- My friend Jerry Grillo has a nice piece on “42,” Jackie Robinson and the secrets of the universe.
- Flavorwire lists the 10 best books by filmmakers. I've read the Lumet, Truffaut, Mamet; want the Bogdonavich and Friedkin. But Robert Rodriguez? Really?
- A look at the new documentary, “Which Way Is the Frontline From Here: The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington,” by Hetherington's “Restrepo” co-director Sebastian Junger. The doc airs on April 18. Tomorrow? Tomorrow.
- Alan Zweibel (“North”) with a charming story about receiving tough criticism from Roger Ebert.
- How about Ebert & Scorsese At The Movies? The famed director sat opposite Roger after Gene Siskel's death to talk about the best movies of the 1990s. Love Scorsese's #2 pick.
- You ready? The crime isn't mistreating animals on factory farms; it's taping the mistreatment of animals on factory farms in order to try to stop it. Richard Oppel Jr. reports on this mistreatment of our government by right-wing lobbyists.
- Speaking of mistreatment: Apparently we can use the word “torture” now.
- My friend Stephen Manes' biography of Bill Gates, published in 1993, is now available on the Kindle. Gates and Bezos? Wouldn't that cause technology whiplash? Or would it be World's Finest #1?
- The guy who bought the domain name BostonMarathonConspiracy.com and why. It has a happy ending.
- Here's Stephen Colbert's take on Boston. Just the right touch.
- The Saudi national, who was a suspect, then a person of interest, and then maybe a double victim? Amy Davidson has the story on the New Yorker site. It's not pretty.
- Finally, Dennis Lehane on Boston, the city where he grew up, and the city where he lives, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. It's amazing what you get when you give a real writer a forum.
My favorite Boston moment.
- David Waldman of The American Prospect argues, FOX-News whining aside, why gay people are second-class citizens and Christians in this country will never be.
- Famous authors writing fan letters to other famous authors. Sometimes the letter writer is already famous (Norman Mailer to William Styron in 1953), sometimes they're not (George R.R. Martin to Stan Lee in 1964; James Joyce to Henrik Ibsen in 1901). Anyone out there write a fan letter to a writer? Don't think I have, although I did do the George R.R. Martin thing and sent a letter to Marvel Comics in 1973 about Spider-Man #128. It was never published. And so it began.
- More and more sites are using that sweeping technology to compare photos of the same place but in different times. Here's Paris in 1914 and today.
- A photo essay by Tom McNamara: In Newark They Read Philip Roth.
- I might write more about Jim Carrey's “Cold Dead Hand” video later, but for now just check it out. It's a dead-on parody of both “Hee Haw” and a kind of early '60s country music. It's also a major attack on Charlton Heston and the NRA. Encore?
- I've referenced this elsewhere, and might again in the future, but it's worth reading Scott Raab's profile of Robert Redford. The stuff about Pauline Kael alone is fascinating.
- My Friend John Rosengren has published a new biography called HANK GREENBERG: HERO OF HEROES. Mike Bauman at MLB.com is most impressed.
- Apparently there's a transcript online of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan in 1977 spitballing the ideas that became “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I haven't read all that. I've just read Patrick Radden Keefe writing about that.
- There are three versions of the word “controversy” to describe Dan Savage in this El Paso Times piece, which is otherwise a good piece. Don't quite agree with his “slut” answer, btw, since it depends, doesn' t it, on how many other women the dude's teammates have slept with. If they've only slept with her (unlikely, I know) how are they all sluts? But in general he's right about the epithet's double-standard. What's more interesting is why it's a double standard. (Answer: Because all men are assumed to be sluts.)
- Fun fact: The payroll for the 2013 Houston Astros? $25 million. The salary for Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, who will be on the DL half the season? $29 million.
- Why i09 thinks the death of Google's RSS Reader means the death of blogs like this one. I know. And it's hardly been born.
- This was on Facebook the other day. I like it. It's a particularly good message in Seattle, where people tend to put the passive in passive-aggressive.
- How Groucho Marx's son Andy helped save “You Bet Your Life” from death.
- Going Fonzie: Imgur imagines guns in famous movie scenes replaced by a thumbs up. I think my favorite might be from “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
- Nine of the 10 “saddest” states in the U.S. vote Republican. Coincidence?
- Nathaniel Rogers has a series, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” in which he and other critics choose their favorite still shot from the same film. Then he puts them in narrative order. Here are the results for “The Wizard of Oz.” More recently, everyone took screen shots of “Barbarella.” Kind of points up the superiority of “Wizard of Oz,” doesn't it?
- Richard Sandomir with a piece in The New York Times about the fall and fall of the New York Yankees in 1965 and '66. Glory days. Will they return?
- Remember Barbara Hershey in “The Natural”? The woman she was based on, Ruth Steinhagen, who shot former Cubs first baseman Eddie Waittkus in her motel room in 1949, died recently in Chicago. Key line: “When he went to the Phillies, that's when she decided to kill him.”
- Alex Pareene eviscerates the Sunday morning political shows. They should all be running for cover but they have no shame. They are teflon.
- Webmaster and slinger Tim Harrison's comic strip “Cloud Five” has recently focused on clinical depression. You know how hard it is to do that and be true and funny? Tim pulls it off.
- A.O. Scott on “Philip Roth: Unmasked.” I am so there. Which is apparently in front of my TV set, tuned to PBS, on March 29.
- Adam Gopnik celebrates Roth's 80th birthday with words. But no one mentions Roth's best, “The Ghost Writer”? Are they all mad? Am I? Is Zuckerman? Am I Zuckerman? I was once, you know.
- I'm 50 years old, not a bad writer and editor, but only one man has ever hired me full-time for those talents: Steve Kaplan, a true mensch. Kevin Featherly captures the man, the mensch, the Minnesota Law & Politics legend.
“I turn sentences around. That's my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around.” — E.I. Lonoff
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard