Lancelot Links postsTuesday August 14, 2012
- Interesting Salon.com piece by Mitzi Trumbo, daughter of Dalton, one of the Hollywood 10, on why Kirk Douglas should not get credit for “breaking the blacklist” simply because her father's name appeared as a screen credit on “Spartacus.”
- From a few weeks back: Malcolm Gladwell on Alberto Salazar and the slack between “what is possible, under conditions of absolute effort, and actual performance.” How do men like Salazar keep pushing until they are almost dead? How do they come to like it?
- Whither the Oak Creek shootings? Why so little attention paid to such a slaughter? Naunihal Singh on the New Yorker site: “...it is hard to escape the conclusion that Oak Creek would have similarly dominated the news cycle if the shooter had been Muslim and the victims had been white churchgoers.”
- Speaking of Muslims, Sikhs and the Oak Creek shootings: My post on same, plus Spike Lee's “Inside Man” made the Daily Dish site. Last month, Andrew Sullivan's site linked to my post on Louis CK and Proust, and in one day I got as many hits as I normally get in a month. My Sikh/“Inside Man” post? As many hits as I normally get in... three days. Sikh schmeek, apparently.
- Scrabble anyone? The Word Cup Scrabble competition took place in St. Paul, Minn., this year, and, of course, the old man, my father, Bob Lundegaard, showed up. He's quoted at the end of the article. Give him seven letters, he'll give you a bingo.
- Nathaniel Rogers, noted actressexual and host of The Film Experience, posted the image below on his Facebook page and I had to laugh, particularly since Heath Ledger looks like he's totally joking around while JMG looks properly staid and orderly and “Holy class clown, Batman!” Me being me, I had to bring up the battle of the Gwen Stacys in 1960s Mississippi...
- Finally, this “What If?” ad, created by fans of the Cleveland Indians to attack their home team's front office, will make sense to any fan of the Seattle Mariners, who, let's face it, have had it worse. The Indians, remember, were a couple of games from the World Series in 2007. The M's haven't seen the postseason since 2001. They've never seen the inside of a World Series. Plus they got Omar from us:
- Do you have a subscription to The New Yorker yet? Don't you think it's about time? Case in point: David Remnick on Bruce Springsteen at 62, which I recommended last time, too. I could've done a whole post on the memories it dredged up. I could've written a book on this article.
- If you subscribed to The New Yorker, for example, you could read Mark Singer's great piece on Kip Litton, a Michigan dentist who turned to marathons in his late thirties and began recording sub 3-hour races. He began winning races in his own age group. Or did he? Instead, you have to be satisfied with this abstract.
- They also have their online only stuff, such as New Yorker cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan, a successful writer (“Seinfeld,” “Six Feet Under,” “Girls,”) on why he wrote the “Seinfeld” episode about the inscrutable New Yorker cartoon.
- And here's Richardy Brody's take on Sight & Sound's 10 greatest (or 50 greatest) films. I like the commentary, and the personal mea culpas; but, as much as I disagree with the S&S list, I like it more than Brody's. “Marnie,” Brody?
- Elsewhere, The Onion does it again: Olympics gymnastics this time.
- Meanwhile, Mitt Romney keeps sticking his foot in it: Here's the NY Times Op-Ed blowback from Jared Diamond, author of “Guns, Germs and Steel,” which Romney quoted in defending his comments in Israel. Diamond writes that Romney's interpretation of his book is so wrong “that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.”
- That kind of thing, which is becoming a daily occurrence, didn't keep Clint Eastwood from endorsing Romney; but then Eastwood's characters have always had a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. For all the critical success of his later films, Eastwood has always been a simple-minded absolutist. That's what people want. That's what Hollywood and the Republican party give them.
- Good news! An Ohio family cleaning out its grandfather's attic discovered 700 baseball cards from more than 100 years ago—rare Ty Cobbs and Honus Wagners in mint condition—which fetched more than $500K at an auction.
- Funnier news! Apparently the Facebook pages of various MLB teams was hacked the other day. Deadspin has the results. My favorite, of course, is from the New York Yankees FB page: “We regret to inform our fans that Derek Jeter will miss the rest of the season with sexual reassignment surgery. He promises to come back stronger than ever in 2013 as Minnie Mantlez.
- Did you see Jimmy Fallon doing Jim Morrison doing ”Reading Rainbow“? Nice. Suddenly, there's Oscar-hosting talk. Poor bastard.
- Need more Gore Vidal? PBS.org is streaming an ”American Masters“ portrait of the author, ”The Education of Gore Vidal," until midnight, August 9.
- Finally, a little Usain on the membrane: The New York Times gives us a video/infographic on every 100 meter sprinter from 1896 to 2012. How much faster are we now? Three seconds faster. But in the Olympics, three seconds is the world.
Bob Allison on Camera Day, Met Stadium, 1962. This is a shot from a friend of a friend, someone I don't even know, but it reminds me of my childhood. The bleachers behind Allison? That's the left-field side. Cheap seats. $1.50. Our primary digs on game days. I could write a whole post on this photo.
- Andrew Sullivan on Bayard Rustin, American hero: “Rustin's shoulders are higher and broader. You can see the future from them.”
- The plotlines that were apparently cut at the 11th hour from the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Nice companion piece to my review.
- Tyler Kepner welcomes Ichiro to New York and tells us, among other things, that the M's icon has visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown four times. “Ever since I’ve been here, which is 18 years, that’s more than any other current player,” said Jeff Idelson, the president of the Hall of Fame.
- The New Yorker's Jill Lepore, post-Aurora, on when Batman used a gun, when he stopped, and when the NRA supported federal gun-control legislation. “'No guns,' Batman says to Catwoman, in 'The Dark Knight Rises,'“ Lepore writes, adding, ”That’s more than will likely be said on the floor of Congress.“
- And if you haven't read Ms. Lepore's great piece from earlier this year on the history of the NRA and the Second Amendment, ”Battleground America: One nation, under the gun,“ what the hell's keeping you?
- My friend Tim's Cloud Five comic strip on Aurora, Col.
- David Remnick's glorious profile: ”We Are Alive: Bruce Springsteen at Sixty-Two.“
- I love this New York Times Correction: ”An earlier version of this article misstated the surname of the Seattle pitcher who hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. He is Felix Hernandez, not Rodriguez.“ I'm not sure if that's a greater insult to Latinos, whose surnames are apparently interchangeable, or King Felix, Cy Young Award winner, but who, you know, plays for one of those teams out there.
- Alex Pareene on the latest conservative lie—the private sector invented the Internet—and why it won't go away.
- From Bloomberg News: More than 4 out of 5 economists surveyed recommend Democratic policies for their patients who give a shit about the future of their country. Money-where-your-mouth-is quote: ”How about the oft-cited Republican claim that tax cuts will boost the economy so much that they will pay for themselves? It’s an idea born as a sketch on a restaurant napkin by conservative economist Art Laffer. Perhaps when the top tax rate was 91 percent, the idea was plausible. Today, it’s a fantasy. The Booth poll couldn’t find a single economist who believed that cutting taxes today will lead to higher government revenue — even if we lower only the top tax rate.“
- Finally, here's nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis on Mitt Romney's charmless offensive in the UK. Romney, who wanted to prove his diplomatic credentials to the U.S. voting public, went to London a few days ago and: 1) forgot the name of the opposition party leader, calling him ”Mr. Leader"; 2) referenced meeting with the head of MI6, which is something you never do; and 3) dissed London's readiness for the Olympic games. For this last, Lewis went 4x4 relay on his ass: “Every Olympics is ready. I don’t care whatever [Mitt Romney] said. I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn’t leave the country. Are you kidding me? Stay home if you don’t know what to say.” That Anglo-Saxon enough for you?
- Earlier this week I gave a talk on how to do a good Q&A. My advice mostly involved listening, being curious, having a conversation, then editing, editing, editing. Nice that Errol Morris, master interviewer, basically says the same. As I said during my talk: It's not rocket science.
- It's always interesting to get outsider views of the U.S., as in this Der Spiegel commentary on the GOP nominees, “A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses.” Turns out the outsider view of my country is my view. Money quote about the Republicans who would be president:
They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They've shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.
- Stephen King wrote a book on the Kennedy assassination called “11/22/63.” Ross Douhat wrote a semi-critical New York Times column on the book called “The Enduring Cult of Kennedy.” Now King calls out Douhat in a letter to the editor. Fun!
- More fun: Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker lists off departing congressman Barney Frank's greatest insults. My favorite is more waggish than insulting: “We don’t get ourselves dry-cleaned.”
- Last Sunday, Dudley Clendinen had a nice NY Times Op-Ed on a timely (for cinema) subject: “How J. Edgar Hoover Outed My Godfather.” Sad, nasty stuff. Makes me wish Clint Eastwood's movie had been more hard hitting.
- Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated on “Brian's Song,” 40 years later. It was as he said. I still remember the grade-school oneupsmanship on manliness. Someone would claim that he never cried, and someone else would bring up “Brian's Song,” and then we'd all admit, “Well, yeah, 'Brian's Song.' Everybody cried at 'Brian's Song.'” Hell, I still tear up hearing the theme music. “Superman had Kryptonite,” Rushin writes. “The rest of us have Brian's Song, the first — and still most surefire — Male Tearjerker.”
- The general rule of modern political journalism is to treat stupid statements from stupid, prominent people as if they were reasonable statements from reasonable people. Salon's Alex Pareene don't play that.
- I don't know if this is going to be a new category/meme on Andrew Sullivan's site but the first example made me laugh out loud.
- My college roommate Dean Jolliffe, who went on to Princeton and then the Dept. of Agriculture and the World Bank, was quoted in this Freakonomics piece on poverty and obesity. Dean's original article was in Economics and Human Biology, which the Freakonomics guys tell us is “more far-reaching” research than what others have put forth. Go Dean! Money quote from Deano:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, NHANES data indicate that the poor have never had a statistically significant higher prevalence of overweight status at any time in the last 35 years.
- Finally, from my sis, an editor at The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a nice piece on not letting winter--and we're talking Minneosta winter here--push you indoors. She tried it last February at a weekend winter camp, but ran into some ironic trouble: nice weather. Excerpt:
The air-gun class was held inside. We got a lecture on safety rules and learned how to load the guns. I learned that I'm left-eye dominant even though I'm right-handed. “That's why I've been a lousy shot all my life,” I thought to myself. So I set myself up to shoot left-handed. My first shot hit the inner circle on the target, 15 feet away. So did the second. Virtually my whole round was clustered in the center ring. My kids, who have learned to ignore my anti-gun rants — even about the plastic Nerf guns taking over the block — were in awe.
It's usually about 40 degrees colder, with snow about five feet deeper, during Feburary in Minnesota.
- Via Roger Ebert: OhNoTheyDidnt, a livejournal, celebrity gossip site, has broken down the 13 movies posters we get: from Sexy Back (lone, violent, often western hero), to Back to Back (oh, those crazy couples), Legs Spread Wide (could be a raunchy comedy, could be Bond). My favorite of the bunch is the first, “Tiny People on the Beach, Giant Heads in the Clouds,” films that tend toward the sappy, such as “Charlie St. Cloud,” “City of Angels,” “Forever Young.” Are most of the posters we see French posters? Would be interesting to break down international films by country. How poster art differs from country to country.
- Oscar Oscar Oscar: Brett Ratner's gone as producer after his “fags” comments, etc., so Brian Grazer steps in. Eddie Murphy follows of his own accord as Oscar host. Leaving? Jeff Wells suggests Vince Vaughn. Not a bad idea, actually. Or if you're going to co-host it ... Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Or Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Any of them frat packers.
- Nope. Looks like it'll be Billy Crystal. Like Grazer, the safe choice.
- New Yorker editor David Remnick has a nice piece on former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, who died this week, and who never forgave Muhammad Ali his insults.
- Meanwhile, Smokin' Joe Posnanski weighs in: “Frazier was heavyweight champion of the world when that meant something.” Indeed. And don't forget he was in the first “Rocky.” Yes, in that awful green suit.
- Andrew Sullivan has smart readers. From “Who Caused the Financial Crisis?” series.
- Speaking of: Michael Lewis, who has spent books determining who caused the financial crisis, goes beyond “Moneyball” in this Vanity Fair article. Wait: way beyond “Moneyball.”
- This is the best thing I've read in weeks: Malcolm Gladwell on Walter Isaacson on Steve Jobs. Gladwell calls Jobs not an inventor or innovator but a tweaker. He would take something and improve upon it and then close it off so it couldn't be improved upon by others. Thus the closed-off (but well-designed) design of Apple products. Most amusing to me, though, is the anecdote about how the iPad came to be. The Jobs family had a friend who was married to a top executive at Microsoft, and who was invited to Jobs' 50th birthday party. As Jobs tells Isaacson:
This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”