Lancelot Links postsSaturday June 20, 2015
Saturday June 13, 2015
- I've given Jeff Wells a lot of shit over the years (particularly his advice to Jackie Robinson on how to slide), but I like the bluntness of his blog; and I like this post in particular: Who deserves our truth and who doesn't? Who can we lie to? I'm 52 and still learning this lesson.
- What was it like to be the daughter of Josef Stalin? Olga Grushin on the new bio of Svetlana Alliluyeva.
- Related: I know adding new subtitles to Hitler's near-bunker speech in “Downfall” has been done to death, but this version, about the St. Paul, Minn. Bike Plan, made me, as a cyclist, laugh out loud.
- Alex Rodriguez goes deep for No. 3,000. I'm genuinely happy for him. Good call, too: “Eighteen thousand men have played Major League Baseball! Only 29 of them have had 3,000 hits!” My other thoughts on A-Rod here.
- Related: Were you confused by newspaper and MLB accounts touting A-Rod passing Babe Ruth on the RBI list and then becoming only the second man in baseball history (after Hank Aaron) to drive in more 2,000+ runs, when Baseball Reference (not to mention Total Baseball) clearly states the case: Aaron: 2,297; Ruth: 2,214; Cap Anson: 2,075. Well, Cheat Sheet dissects it all. Seems the RBI wasn't an official stat until 1920; and though you can obviously go back into newspaper accounts, etc., to extract the correct number of RBIs for the Bambino, as statisticians have, to Major League Baseball it's not an “official” stat. To which they can blow me.
- A little video fun with Coen Bros. movies, from Steven Benedict.
- A lot of good dissections of the Rachel Dolezal matter. Jelani Cobb's is one of them. (And the only one that references John Howard Griffin, if not Lois Lane.)
- A lot of good dissections on the racially-motivated killings of nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church this week. David Remnick's is one of them.
- Jon Stewart's is another one.
- And Jelani Cobb's. He ends his piece with the truest words of all in our race-baiting age: “Even if [Dylann Roof] acted by himself, he was not alone.”
Via Dan Wasserman and the Boston Globe.
Sunday May 24, 2015
- Olivier Assayas directed my favorite movie of 2009, and now he lets us know his Criterion Top 10—although for him it's more Top 22. Don't get the “Frances Ha” love and I've never been a Wong Kar-wai guy, but I'm a fan of the following on his list: “Dazed and Confused,” “Yi Yi,” “Nashville,” “Rififi” and “Thief.”
- Who was the greatest racehorse of all time—Secretariat or Man O' War? Joey Poz makes the case for Man O' War.
- Meanwhile, American Pharoah wins the Belmont to become the first horse to capture the Triple Crown in 37 years. Beautiful footage, but the play-by-play man makes me long for Chic Anderson.
- Confession: When I'm feeling down I sometimes watch Secretariat at Belmont. Cheers me up. No one was close to him in that race, and no one has come within two seconds of his record time at that track. Love Joey Poz but I love Secretariat more.
- Six books Bill Gates recommends. And none of them are his. Do I get the first business book or is it too late for that?
- My favorite bookstore in Seattle is closing. The UW Daily says good-bye to Cinema Books. Get down there while you still can.
- PBS airs a four-hour documentary on Walt Disney. From the trailer it appears to be: he took risks but he was also ruthless in power. Hope it gets deeper than that.
- Speaking of Disney and ruthless: Here's a recent NY Times article on Disney employees who were let go because cheaper, foreign replacements were found. But that's not the awful news. The awful news is they had to train their replacements.
- I saw this via Rick Perlstein's FB page: Every Question in Every Q&A Ever. I hear No. 1 all the time. My own Q&A with Rick Perlstein went a little better. I think.
- Jerry Seinfeld is the latest guy to push back against the PC police. I'm with him.
- At the same time, he's turning into quite the curmudgeon. He's got a good sense of entitlement going on. And he's not that funny anymore.
- Jon Stewart is leaving us soon but he's hardly lame-ducking it on the way out. His recent bit/tirade, “The Middle East: Learning Curves are for Pussies,” is effin' brilliant.
- My nephew Jordy, nearly 14 now, who got his movie-reviewing start here, has struck out on his own. Weebly? What will the kids think of next?
Secretariat at Belmont: by a nose.
Saturday May 16, 2015
- Pres. Obama gets his own Twitter account and is greeted with fanfare. Also racist death threats. Glad the New York Times is reporting on this for a change.
- A great piece by Joe Posnanski on the rise of Bruce Jenner, how to score the decathlon, and why being really good in many things may be more fun than being the best in one.
- Joe again. This time he crunches the pitching/hitting numbers of the Royals and Indians (or Cleveland Spiders, as he calls them), which would indicate that the Indians are doing better. Except they're doing way, way worse. Conclusion? Defense matters. Also putting the ball in play.
- Any day that Joey Poz or Josh Wilker has a new book out is a good day. Here's Wilker's latest. Here's my thoughts on his first.
- Matthew Weiner defends his “I'd like to teach the world to sing” ending of “Mad Men.” I still don't buy it. Someone on Twitter said it best, quoting Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”: All that for a crummy commerical.
- Historian Joseph J. Ellis on the books he reads, the authors he admires, his favorite books to assign. Also, what should the president read?
- The topic I keep returning to: What jobs won't be digitized away any time soon? And which will? “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich reviews two books on the subject under the hed “Welcome to Your Obsolescence.”
- I think Emily Nussbaum describes better than anyone how revolutionary David Letterman's comedy was to my generation in the 1980s.
- Like Jim Walsh earlier this month, Chris Riemenschneider counts off the great Minnesota bands that played Letterman. Showing my age, but I've only seen the first three on this list. Well, and the last one. What I love? Martin Zellar's voice, Gary Louris' voice, Mark Olson rocking out behind him, Jake Slichter killing those drums.
Saturday May 09, 2015
“Mom! Let's park in the Alligator parking lot!” Yes, we said that.
- Natalie Portman has been tapped to play U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a biopic about her fight for equal rights. SCOTUS rules 6-3 that it's excellent casting (Scalia, Thomas, Alito dissenting).
- Via Jim Walsh, all the Minnesota bands who played on David Letterman. It's memory-lane time, kids.
- Via Adam Wahlberg, Norm Macdonald's very funny and super heart-felt last appearance on Letterman.
- Fom Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post: Why Bill Simmons > ESPN.
- Jeff Wells talks up the new documentary, “Hitchcock/Truffaut”: “To me Hitchcock/Truffaut seems good and wise enough to seduce the novice as well as the sophisticated cineaste. It's a fully absorbing, excellent education. As you might expect, it made me want to read the book all over again.” I'm there.
- Great Guardian interview with Chris Rock, whose thoughts are always more interesting than his movies. Yes, including “Top Five,” Ben.
- Bryan Harper had a crazy 3-2-1 week: 3 homers one game, followed by 2 the next, followed by 1. And that last one was a walk-off.
- It was Paul McCartney's idea with the Beatles back in the '60s but Jimmy Fallon makes it happen with U2: they busk in a NYC subway.
- This is fun: a video look at one of my favorite bookstores in Seattle: Cinema Books run by Stephanie Ogle.
- Jeff Wells on why the French title for Michael Mann's 1981 movie “The Thief” is better than “The Thief.”
- Pres. Obama mentions a common FOX News theme (the poor are moochers and leechers; they are poor because they lack character) and FOX News goes “Who, us?” Actually, worse: They go on the attack. Because there's no defense on (or for) FOX News.
- The Guardian is doing a history of cities in 50 buildings. For the Twin Cities, it's Southdale shopping mall, the world's first indoor shopping mall, which we went to all the time when I was a kid. (We even tended to park in the Alligator parking lot, per the picture.) For Seattle? The first Starbucks. I'm 2 for 2.
- Via my sister: Seyward Darby has been anxious for loved ones since losing her boyfriend at the age of 20; then she was on Amtrak 188.
All previous entries
- This is going to go viral soon, if it hasn't already: “Shit People Say to Women Directors.” Some of it, to be honest, is just a variation of what you hear in any cutthroat business. Men hear it, too, just in a different way. Sexism exists, but assholes are everywhere.
- Related: Jill LePore takes a look at the female superhero with two 10-year-old boys, then traces their look back to the work of George Petty in the '30s and '40s, who influenced, among others, Hugh Hefner.
- A Karl Rove/Lee Atwater road-trip buddy movie set in the early '70s? Making it biting, please.
- Bill Maher reaches back to “Romper Room” in order to school W. (Mr. Don't Bee) and the current, tough-talking chickenhawk GOP slate. Would that they could be schooled.
- Is Stephen Colbert's interview of Richard Gere at the Montclair Film Festival what we can expect from the Stephen Colbert who takes over “The Late Show” in September? Let's hope so.
- Old Onion article on the new Brewers manager: “Turns out Craig Counsell Was Actually Best Baseball Player Of Steroid Era.”
- Eddie Rosario, a 23-year-old Puerto Rican second baseman, five years in the Twins minor league system, finally made his Major League debut the other day, with his extended family in attendance at Target Field. What happened? This.
- Joe Posnanski polled his readers about various baseball issues and came away with the following: no DH in the NL (yes), Pete Rose should be renistated (good argument, JP), umpires should use technology for balls and strike (I'm with Costas on this), Bonds and Clemens for the HOF (sigh), do we cheer for A-Rod (if it hurts the Yankees, yes), and who might become the first unanimous HOFer (my man). Fun stuff.
- Posnanski also tells us about August 1967 when Willie Mays stopped being Willie Mays. And how he responded.
- Related: Alex Rodriguez has just passed Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. In the Times, William Rhoden writes how A Rod's achievement is making the Yankees look small.
- White House photographer Pete Souza picks one photo from each state Pres. Obama has visited. Some are beautiful, particularly Arizona, Alaska, California. Some are poignant, particularly Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri. Some are fun, particularly Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina. Washington state's is, well, appropriate.
- Related: 16,000,000 Obamacare Fans Can't Be Wrong.