Lancelot Links postsThursday May 05, 2011
Wednesday April 27, 2011
- Josh Wilker writes about why he only writes about baseball cards. Then he writes about Stephen Siller, a firefighter who died on 9/11 in a way that upends his reasoning for why he only writes about baseball cards. And if you're wondering why the George Brett card? Stick around.
- What Jim Walsh wrote on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Andy's parents visit Hanoi.
- Norman Mailer's Manhattan home is up for sale. Shouldn't we be making this into a museum? I'm serious.
- Just as President Obama releases his long-form birth certificate, Superman, the Man of Steel, renounces his U.S. citiizenship. Of course he never had it. He's an illegal alien who got past our defenses during less vigilant times. Bill O'Reilly's going to do a special on why Supes needs to get kicked out of Metropolis.
- The birther controversy feels so over in the wake of the Osama bin Laden news, but this video, “Show me your papers, Negro,” is still worth watching. It'll piss you off all over again.
- From Salon's Alex Pareene: “A patriot's guide to still hating Obama for killing Osama.” One wonders when the right is going to start targeting Pareene himself. One anticipates with what wit Pareene will respond.
- The way Pres. Obama presented the Osama bin Laden news wasn't exciting enough for you? Pareene reimagines the event with the image makers of the Bush adminstration still in charge.
- From the Onion: The five-year-old screenwriter of “Fast Five.” Brilliant.
- ESPN columnist Jayson Stark's stats are always fun. Here he looks at the first month of the baseball season. His rookie of the month? The guy I saw win his first game on April 12.
- I only cheer for the White Sox when they're playing the Yankees. Last month, Brent Lillibridge had me cheering.
- The NY Times' Ben Shpigel on Derek Jeter's lousy start. Shpigel talks batting average when it's really about the slugging percentage. Sure, Jeter's 2011 average is off by 63 points from his career total (.250 vs. .313); but his slugging percentage is off by nearly 200 points (.269 to .450). A bargain at $15 mil per. The Yankees and their money are soon parted.
- Michael Cieply on the battle between theater owners (and James Cameron) vs. the major studios, who want to release films sooner, or immediately, to pay-per-view. I like the theater experience but admit to watching a few newly released films on PPV lately, including “The Housemaid” and “Certified Copy.” It ain't the same but it's easier on a Friday night.
- William Campbell started out with dreams as big as anyone, I'm sure, but in the end he's known for playing a Klingon and being married to the woman who had affairs with both JFK and Sam Giancana. Which is more than most of us will be known for.
- Finally, check out Patricia's big brother, Alex Bradbury, marine biologist, who was once one of Bill Nye's “way cool scientists,” on Deb Slater's “Experience Northwest” show. They're clam digging, and then clam cooking, at Birch Bay State Park. Alex is a natural and the show is well-named. That slate gray sky? That chill wind? Yes, I've experienced it. Every day for six months.
Saturday April 16, 2011
- I hope to write more on Burkhard Bilger's New Yorker profile of David Eagleman and the mysteries of time and the brain, but in the meantime, please read it. Seriously. If you've wondered why time seems to slow down in life-threatening situations, or why time seems slower when you're a kid, Eagleman has answers.
- My friend Jake, drummer for Semisonic, has been big on Jennifer Egan's rock 'n' roll novel, “A Vist from the Goon Squad,” for some time. Now it's won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. I'll have to read it. Here's an excerpt.
- Mayor Koch lives! A second baseman at St. Cloud State in Minnesota, Kent Koch, all of 23 years old, is also his small town's mayor. He's the younget mayor in the U.S. I wonder who's the oldest?
- Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite suggests, in the wake of Paul Ryan's budget proposal, that the Christian right “have some soul searching to do.” Amen.
- A measured piece by Salon's Andrew Leonard on what's wrong with Obama's left critics. Including especially Paul Krugman.
- A nice post from David Schonauer on Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros, and the bravery and authenticity of war correspondent photographers.
- A Roger Angell piece about Mariano Rivera blowing a save: that's like finding ice cream inside your ice cream.
- Explanding the baseball playoffs? I've always been against it but not this time. Not if they add a wild card team to play the other wild card team in a one-game playoff at the end of the season. It'll give that much more meaning to winning the division. Plus the one-game format, in both leagues, will be exciting. Plus, since it's only one game, it won't push us more deeply into October. (But if they make it a three-game playoffs, I'll be pissed.) Here, ESPN's Jayson Stark, a proponent, delves into the standings since 1995 to see who that extra team would've been. Guess what? Four times it would've been your Seattle Mariners. My oh my.
- Sarah Rimer waxes nostalgic, with sometimes too much wax, on the high school years of Manny Ramirez: “Before Manny Became Manny.” Those 400-foot homeruns in high-school settings must've been cool to watch.
- Schwarzenegger is back and “The Terminator” is in rights packaging again. But see this Josh Karp article, please. BTW: Terminator with a face lift? Won't that look odd?
- Here's a nice bit of journalism from Jeff Wells, who noticed that the reds and blues seemed oversaturated in Warner Bros. Bluray version of “All the President's Men,” one of my favorite films, and went to the voice of God for an opinion: DP Gordon Willis himself. Here are some of Willis' comments: “It's all fucked up ... All the medium tones [are wrong] and contrast is way higher than it oughta be.” Wells asked him if he'd called anyone at Warner Home Video since the Bluray came out. “And what are they gonna say? 'We're sorry and we'll do it all over again?' You call these guys, it's like talking to a head on a stick.” Bummer. And I was excited for the BluRay of “President's Men.”
- Finally, a birth certificate. Will it stop all the noise and blather and distraction? Of course not. Americans think we faked the moon landing (we can't travel through space...), there are aliens in Nevada (...but they can), and 9/11 was an inside job. But maybe it'll stop some of the noise and blather and distraction. Until next week.
Saturday April 09, 2011
- James Rocchi is one of the better movie critics out there, by which I mean he's one of the better writers out there who happens to be writing about movies. This diatribe against Comments fields is indicative. The ending cuts to the heart of the matter: “I'm a grownup. I put my name on what I say. And if you can’t do that, or can’t get why that matters in an age of willful stupidity and inhuman rudeness, then, really, who cares what you bellow from your rotten, wounded idiot heart?”
- Andrew Sullivan liveblogs Pres. Obama's budget speech. He was impressed. As was anyone who had a heart and a sense of history.
- Hendrik Hertzberg has a nice piece on the same speech. Basically: About effin' time. Meanwhile, “The Daily Show” missed the boat and went for the obvious.
- Then there's audio of Pres. Obama being less politic about the Republicans. More, more! This is a case that needs to be made and made now: tax the rich, regulate Wall Street, provide a social safety net for our most vulnerable, which may include us.
- And if you want to really scare yourself, read Jeffrey Toobin's “Talk of the Town” piece on the U.S. Supreme Court's continued 5-4 majority belief that corporations are human beings and money is speech, and what this means for 2012.
- I didn't know “Soul Surfer” was supposed to be a Christian movie until I read Andrew O'Hehir's piece on why modern Christian movies are so lousy: “Does the Lord really want to be glorified by way of something that looks like an especially tame episode of 'Baywatch'?”
- Nice “Big Picture” post about Sidney Lumet fighting the blacklist.
- Even nicer: David Thomson on the regretful eyes of Marion Cotillard.
- My friend Andy blogs about dong, which is to say Vietnamese currency, and the quick route to becoming a Vietnamese millionaire. Just add $250 U.S. He also forced me to look up “numismatic.”
- My friend Kristin has spent the year taking a photo a day. I like the week of yellow.
- Let's go out with some music, shall we? The Damnwells have a new album and this is the first single from it (if we still do singles): “The Great Unknown.” Nice video. Nice message. Ballsy opening line.
L'opposite de Piaf: je regrette tout.
Saturday April 02, 2011
- This week someone alerted me to Austin Kleon's pep talk/slide show/life advice “How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me),” and some part of me is cheesed that I still need this advice, at my advanced age, but mostly I'm just grateful that it's there. Immediate reactions to the 10? 1) I've always stupidly fought against; 2) I've always known, have even had arguments about, but I've never put it that way before; 3) I need to repeat every day; 4) will be increasingly difficult; 5) YES! Or, paraphrasing John Lennon, Art is what happens when you're busy making other plans; 6) is more profound than it sounds; 7) is, well, not as worthy as the others (poor 7); 8) please, 9) got that covered, and 10) yes, “Kill your little darlings.” Much thanks to Austin. I'll keep returning.
- On BBC Radio, Jennifer Egan talks about the pauses in rock songs--inspired by Jake Slichter's discussion of same, as it related to the song “Closing Time,” in his excellent memoir of the Semisonic years, “So You Wanna Be a Rock 'n Roll Star?”
- Via Jim Walsh: Great video of Bruce Springsteen, opening for Dave van Ronk in Kansas City in 1972, singing “Growing Up,” and seeming very much one of the next Bob Dylans that Loudon Wainwright III once sang about. Two immediate thoughts: 1) damn, he was handsome; 2) this was from a period when intellectualism, being smart, was still coveted by the general culture. You wanted to write lyrics as smart as Dylan's. Before the great dumbing down in the Reagan '80s.
- Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere highlights a great, early '60s-style, Saul Bass-y title sequence to the upcoming film, “X-Men: First Class,” which is set during the early 1960s. Joe DiLeonardo of Trenton, NJ is the man with the plan. Check out his site. Love his Shepherd Faireyesque “Woody Allen has a posse” poster.
- You see Billy Crystal on “The Daily Show” the other night? He came on and I thought “I miss him. Wonder what he's up to?” Turns out--and was this a first?--he was on “The Daily Show” to plug a Funny-or-Die clip. Maybe he was also on because people missed him.
- Mickey or Bugs? To me it's not even a debate. But over at Andrew Sullivan's site (his new site on the Daily Beast), they've been refining the reasons why corporate icon Mickey Mouse is inexplicably more popular than trickster rabbit Bugs Bunny. Naaah, WTF, doc?
- I'm with Jane Mayer on this. I wanted an open, civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. Instead we gave in to fear and politics, and he's getting the Gitmo treatment.
- Dahlia Lithwick at Slate weighs in, too. Hard. She writes: “In reversing one of its last principled positions—that American courts are sufficiently nimble, fair, and transparent to try Mohammed and his confederates—the administration surrendered to the bullying, fear-mongering, and demagoguery of those seeking to create two separate kinds of American law.” Then she gets tough.
- But if you really want to get into it, you should read Terry McDermott's excellent profile of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in last September's New Yorker. You'll discover the haphazard way tragedy strikes and history, tragic history, is made. You'll also find a man, not a beast. The wacko right would read into that last sentence an excuse, an excusing, but it's the opposite. Being human means being responsible, and thus potentially culpable. A monster just is. It's like blaming a shark for eating.
- Then back to Dahlia again. After routing the Obama administrtion for abandoning rule of law, she takes on the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, for undermining the culpability of prosecutors who withhold evidence, and undermining the landmark decision Brady v. Maryland.
- You probably don't know Cathie Black, the schools chancellor for NYC, you probably don't care about Cathie Black, unless you have children in NYC, but you should check out Amy Davidson's New Yorker post on why Black wound up with a 17% approval rating and is no longer schools chancellor for NYC. Holy crap. Her first answer is bad enough. The second essentially makes Nazis of us all.
- Dave Schoenfiled, who took Rob Neyer's place as the Sweet Spot guy, counts down the 50 greatest Yankees of all time. Here it's numbers 15 (Don Mattingly) though 1 (George Hermie Something). What do you think? Jeter before DiMaggio? Mantle before Gehrig? Posada before Rivera? Might see that middle one. The other two leave me shaking my head.
- It's official: Manny's been Manny.
- This is the funniest, most poignant paragraph I've read all week: Cardboard Gods' Josh Wilker on choking up (on the bat), Gene Richards (of the Padres), and the Padres' 2011 chances.
- Finally, footage of Tony Oliva's statue being unveiled outside Gate 6 at Target Field yesterday. Long deserved. Go to my bio page and you'll see me and Tony Oliva 41 years ago. Same on the baseball page (eventually). Only player in baseball history to lead the league in hitting his first two years in the Majors (1964, '65). Only did it once more ('71). Then the knee. Lead the league in hits five times, double four times, runs once, slugging once. Prettiest swing. Prettier than the statue. Ask Roger Angell.
Classic Minnesota moment: a statue is unveiled but ... no need for too much pomp and circumstance. It's just us here.
All previous entries
- Favorite gay-themed movies? Awards Daily has the top 15 here. Not surprisingly, most are from the past 10 years. Elsewhere, in Hollywood Elsewhere, Jeff Wells objects to the exclusion of “Boys in the Band.”
- Steve Allen used to mock crappy rock 'n roll lyrics (or any rock 'n roll lyrics) by reading them aloud as if they were poetry. Maybe this is the updated version of that. That is, if you can mock anything in our “only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” culture.
- The New York Times' David Laskin spends “36 Hours in Seattle” and spends Friday night at some of my hangouts: Elliott Bay, Oddfellows, Sitka & Spruce. But no Molly Moon's? No Cafe Presse? And while he writes, vis a vis the Arboretum, “You don’t have to leave the city limits to immerse yourself in the region’s stunning natural beauty,” I'd still recommend it. If can choose when to come to Seattle, come in July and August and get out in the Cascades and Olympics.
- The New York Times editorial page takes down Gov. Paul LePage of Maine for the whole “mural in the Labor Dept. building” non-controversy. Takes him down, I should add, not gently.
- Not every governor is nuts. There's Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, who, this week, became the first MN governor in decades to meet with citizens of North Minneapolis, and who stunned the crowd with a simple promise.
- From Vanity Fair, a pretty cool account, part of an upcoming bio on Robert Redford by Michael Feeney Callan, on the making of “All the President's Men.”
- Linton Weeks at NPR echoes my complaint: that we are not only a fragmented society but a fragment society; that we spend our cultural lives nibbling and sampling, not gorging. Options are too many, world is too confusing, attention spans are shot. And, yes, I didn't read the whole thing.
- ESPN's Jim Caple remembers Dave Niehaus.
- The guy whose house we were at to divvy up the M's tickets? Stephen Manes? He's quoted in today's New York Times about the new Paul Allen book, “Idea Man.” Why is he quoted? Because he wrote his own book, years ago, called “Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America”, so he knows a thing or two about the subject. His reaction to the revelation that Bill Gates tried to cheat Allen in the early days of Microsoft? Basically: “It's in my book.”
- The New Yorker's Ben McGrath has a nice piece on the Barry Bonds trial that calls into question: 1) its necessity; 2) the banning of PEDs from sports. I'm not buying it but it's definitely worth reading. Of course you have to buy The New Yorker (or borrow my copy) to do so. Only an abstract is available online. But as Rob Neyer wrote the other day, “It's the freaking New Yorker. If you enjoy the beauty of our language, you should be subscribing already.”
- Speaking of Neyer, he has a nice post, “Embracing the Beauty of the Unlikely,” on three of the Royals' Opening Day relief pitchers.
- I didn't know The Oatmeal dude lived in Seattle. But he does and he nails our less-than-fair city.
- The Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris,” opening the Cannes Film Festival looks ... fun, actually. It begins like a continuation of some part of “Annie Hall”—she wants to hang, meet new people, etc., and he doesn't—but then something magic and funny seems to happen. At least one hopes. I haven't liked a Woodman film in more than a decade, so ... fingers crossed.
- Finally, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Colin Covert has a nice interview with the writer-director of the new comedy “Win Win,” the writer-director of indie hits “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor,” the co-screenwriter of the Pixar comedy, “Up,” and the actor who played scumbag preppy journalist Scott Templeton in the fifth season of HBO's “The Wire.” And it's all the same guy: Tom McCarthy.
When journalists were the heroes.
Twitter: @ErikLundegaardTweets by @ErikLundegaard