Lancelot Links postsWednesday April 17, 2013
Friday March 29, 2013
- 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.
Sunday March 17, 2013
- 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.
Sunday March 10, 2013
- 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
Thursday February 07, 2013
- The Chuck Hagel confirmation was a while back but I never saw this post on the 538 site until a few days ago. Generally, Defense Secretaries get 90 or more votes in their confirmation; Hagel got 58. Put it this way: the most amount of “Nay” votes for a confirmed Defense Secretary (John Tower didn't make the cut) was for Casper Weinberger back in 1981. Just two. Hagel got 41. All Republicans. It's a partisan vote but the naysayers are from Hagel's own party.
- My friend Ben had his head operated on in late January to relieve a facial convulsion. There were complications. Now he's blogging about it. Please read.
- Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times assumes the U.S. Supreme Court will rule a major provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. “Years from now,” she writes, “when the Supreme Court has come to its senses, justices then sitting will look back on the spring of 2013 in bewilderment. On what basis, they will wonder, did five conservative justices, professed believers in judicial restraint, reach out to grab the authority that the framers of the post-Civil War 14th and 15th Amendments had vested in Congress ...” (Emphasis mine.) She also takes to task Justices Scalia (for his sarcasm) and Roberts (for his suspect statistics).
- This is pretty damn funny: The comic strip “Unshelved.”
- One of my favorite actors is joining the cast of one of my favorite shows. So nice when that happens.
- That Chris Stark interview of Mila Kunis that everyone loves? Most love Kunis. The New Yorker applauds Stark.
- I've ragged on Jeff Wells in the past—he has a tendency to prejudge movies, then sticks to his guns to sometimes-absurd lengths—but he's right about “The Searchers.” It's not that great.
- Wells also directed me to this Economist article on the economic state of the movie industry. It's not all “Avengers.” I'm particularly intrigued by the graph showing rentals and sales in home entertainment switching positions since 1998: sales dominated the market back then; now it's rentals. We're not an ownership society anymore. This has its advantages. Less stuff to take to the dump, for one.
- Did you know there's a tumblr site that displays screenshots before the special effects were added? It's called BeforeFX (appropriately) and it's got some cool ones, such as Harvey Dent acting Two-Face but with a full face. Mostly, though, it's got a lot of green: the green screen that leads to green. P.S. Shouldn't they juxtapose the BeforeFX shot with the AfterFX shot? Or is that a different Tumblr site?
- In the interest of full disclosure: that screen crush post from earlier in the week? I realized I left out two recent crushes: Carey Mulligan and Mia Wasikowska. Here they are (third from left, fourth from right) on that annual “hot actresses” Vanity Fair cover, this one from 2010:
Third from left, fourth from right.
All previous entries
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing? Say it's so. Make it so. The problem with i09's article? They contrast the role with Cumberbatch's turn as Sherlock Holmes when they should compare it to the work he did on “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” That's the role where the movie's producers probably went, “Hey, why not him?”
- The website Scouting New York goes back to all the locations in Woody Allen's “Annie Hall.” Which reminds me: I need some eggs.
- There were a lot of dudes when I was growing up but Joe Namath was the dudeiest of the dudes: professional athlete, B-movie star (not that we differentiated), sex symbol, fumanchu-moustache wearer. Plus he got to hang with Farrah. For the Wall Street Journal, of all papers, Namath recalls his 1960s Manhattan bachelor pad.
- Ed Koch, movie critic.
- We've found our Sharon Carter for the next Captain America movie: Emily VanCamp. Nice belt, darling. Now don't fuck this up, everybody. The story is in the time lost. And it's not 18 years (1945-63) as it was in the comics. It's nearly 60 years. You've got a superpowered 20-year-old virgin, born in 1925 but living in 2013. Don't forget any aspect of this.
- I actually applied for this job but it's nice that it went to a great writer and critic.
- The Florida doc PED scandal continues. With Jesus Montero? Man, if that's how he hits with PEDs, I cringe to think how he does without them.
- The New Yorker's John Cassidy on how what we're doing with the fiscal crisis (austerity; cutting the budget; raising payroll taxes) is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. To quote Joe Henry in the song “Dirty Magazine”: “Just tell me everything I've heard before. Like it was news. Like it was news.”
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing? Make it so.