Lancelot Links postsFriday August 17, 2018
Wednesday May 09, 2018
- Via my friend Andy, the best Shakespeare movies of the 1990s. Agree with the top 3.
- Trevor Noah and Roy Wood Jr. on the 50th anniversary of the first appearance of Franklin in “Peanuts”: its origins, breakthroughs and TV/movie oddities.
- Should this be in contention for greatest rock song ever? It's never mentioned. Nothing. It's not even mentioned among top 10 Elvis songs. Time to change that.
- What's your NPR name? According to Lianablog, you add your middle initial somewhere in your first name, then choose the smallest foreign town you‘ve visited for your last name. Don’t really know the smallest foreign town I‘ve visited, but how’s this: Erika Enkhuizen. I'm Erika Enkhuizen and this is “Fresh Air.” I'm Erika Enkhuizen and let me interview Wisconsin farmers who are hurt by Trump's trade war but still support the president “because he's the president” and not ask one decent follow-up question. Yeah. Works.
- Are Netflix movies from China actually helping American cinephiles appreciate Chinese cinema? Via China Film Insider.
- MLB.com gathers the coolest baseball cards every year from 1950 to today, with guest editors for every decade. Quibble: I love Joey Poz, but how was Josh “Cardboard Gods” Wilker not chosen for the ‘70s? Secondary quibble: I think the ’65 card, with the team name within a pennant, is the greatest card created. But guest editor and M's broadcast Dave Sims goes with a blurry Bob Gibson? I might go Tony Oliva. Because c‘mon. Or maybe I’d save Tony for the ‘68 “Manager’s Dream” card with Chico Cardenas and Roberto Clemente. It not only introduces the first great Latino players, it gets all of their first names wrong. Welcome to America, guys.
- Speaking of: Did you get see the A's Ramon Laureano's throw the other day? Shouldn't you?
- Amazing story by Jayson Jenks on everyone's favorite new Mariner, the continually upbeat Dee Gordon. Two things I didn't know: His father is former pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon, about whom Stephen King wrote a novel (which I reviewed for the Times); and his mother was shot to death by her boyfriend when Dee was only 7.
- My friend Jerry had a stroke and lived to write about it.
Lancelot Links Asks What's on Weibo?
Saturday April 07, 2018
- Via What's on Weibo: Best 30 books to explain Modern China. Does not include “Be a China Expert in One Day” ... which I believe is sitting on Donald Trump's bookshelf. If he had a bookshelf.
- Last month, Weibo decided to crack down on three things: pornography (sure), “bloody violence” (makes sense) and ... homosexuality? C‘mon, China. It’s 2018. But it led to a trending hashtag, #我是同性恋, or #IAmGay.
- From last year, and intriguing for its timing: How film-loving Weibo users are tired of “Domestic Film Protection Month,” during which no foreign films, particularly Hollywood films, are allowed to open. What's intriguing about the timing? That piece appeared just when “Wolf Warrior II” was beginning to break all Chinese box-office records ... without Hollywood competition.
- A lot of what the Chinese Communist Youth League thinks of the recent US/China trade war/sabre-rattling is pretty much what we think: It's Trump being Trump (sadly); it will backfire on Americans (see: soybean farmers). But comparing it to the Japanese invasion of China? Really? Someone's not reading their history. Also worrisome: They‘re using the same damned Hitler/Chamberlain metaphor that American hawks use to argue against appeasement. That said, the art print being shared on Weibo, of Trump on a tank with a rifle and an eagle and explosions and a big flag, which apparently sells in the U.S. to Trump supporters, is the new nadir of kitsch.
- A man on a Sichuan bus violently throws down a 7-year old kid (who had been kicking him) and kicks him in the head, and this leads to a discussion of what’s the matter with ... the kid?
Thursday December 07, 2017
- China Film Insider on the top 10 Chinese movies of 2017. I‘ve seen three of them, and agree that “Youth” was the best of those. But “Wolf Warrior II”? C’mon.
- Rolling Stone has a nice profile of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that‘ll make you like him more than before. Even if you love him already.
- Louis Menand on the haunting photos of Paul Fusco as he traveled on the train bearing Robert Kennedy’s corpse travels from New York to Washington, D.C. It's people alongside the tracks. It's a nation mourning. Most of a nation.
- The bad photo selections of 1960s-era Topps baseball cards.
- Joey Poz on the guy some call the greatest baseball player to ever come out of California: George Brett. Scratch that: Ken Brett, his older brother. It's charming and sad and then charming again. BTW, how long have I been a baseball fan? When George broke through in the mid-70s, I thought of him as Ken's kid brother. Some part of me still thinks that.
- For some reason, Truman Capote's great piece on Marlon Brando, “The Duke in His Domain,” was trending on the New Yorker site the other day. If you haven't read it, now's your chance.
- The CBS era of Yankee ownership (1965-72) are the glory years of Yankee hating. But as Mark Armour points out, CBS was hardly at fault. The acquired an aging franchise from Webb/Topping and handed off a young, resurgent team to George Steinbrenner. Unmentioned by Armour? Race. The Yanks were one of the last teams to sign African-American and Latino ballplayers.
- Molly Ringwald revisits the movies she made with John Hughes and realizes how problematic they were. Also how important to a certain segment of the population.
Wednesday November 29, 2017
- This is fun: A video countdown of the 25 best movies of 2017 according to David Ehrlich. We only match up a bit. I move “The Big Sick” way up and stuff like “Dunkirk” way back. I like story.
- The 10 best books of the year, according to The New York Times.
- Why, in China, did Pixar's “CoCo” underperform on its first day, then begin to kick ass? Apparently the translated title was poorly named.
- “CoCo” is so not underperforming in China now that Forbes has a piece on how well it's done there. And what does all of this say about our global box-office assumptions? That they ain't worth the quai they're based on.
- Speaking of: Can China go sci-fi? And can Sino sci-fi go global?
- Joe Posnanski has a new dude he's lobbying to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame: the Yankee-killing, bloody-socked, crazy-in-a-bad-way Curt Schilling. Here's Poz's opening argument.
- A day later, he added an entire column about Schilling. It's persuasive.
- Poz ain't exactly lobbying for Steve Garvey for the Hall, but he does tell a great story about him and a female reporter back in the '80s. It's classy, for a change.
- The Aaron Boone/managerial hiring continues to perplex baseball/Yankees fans. My main thought: He may be laid-back and affable now; but if the Yankees start with a losing record in April, I expect Yankee fans will remind him what his surname is.
- The arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Civil Rights Commission case before the U.S. Supreme Court didn't go well, says Ian Millhiser—if, that is, you think you shouldn't be able to turn away customers based on religious convictions. There are way broader questions here, though, that are fascinating, and haven't been explored enough. Overall, though, this feels like a fight both sides wanted. The Christian baker could've just told the gay couple, “I'm too busy”; and once he stated his case, the gay couple could've just said, “Fuck you, we're never coming back here, and we're telling all of our friends—gay and straight—not to come here, and see this money? It's not yours. And fuck you again.” Instead, this.
- Although Jennifer Rubin at the Post dismisses that argument and reminds us that once again the right's absurd culture wars are overtaking its business sensibilities: “It's odd that conservatives, of all people, want to politicize commerce. The glory of the marketplace is that anyone with money, regardless of religion or race or ethnicity, gets to partake in commerce.”
- “Art of the Deal” ghostwriter Tony Schwartz reminds us that if Trump lashes out it means he feels cornered. So here's to him lashing out.
- We may ask ourselves: How did we get here? In that spirit, Swedemason offers us Donald Trump channeling the Talking Heads.
- I've been saying this for a while: Republicans are interested in power, Democrats in purity, and that's why Republicans win and we have the shitty world we have. Dahlia Lithwick, in a piece about the sexual harassment wars, says it better.
- Is this my favorite story of the year? A neighborhood cat so likes to patrol around the library at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. (my sister's alma mater), they've barred him. As one tweeter states, the warning on the door reads like half a children's book.
All previous entries
- An archivist has created a database of 751,785 murders carried out in the U.S. since 1976 with the hope that algorithms can spot serial killers that local police can't.
- Related: Patricia and I watched all 10 episodes of Netflix's new show “Mindhunter,” starring Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany, in three days. I liked it a lot. Here's a “just the facts, ma'am” New Yorker review.
- Travis Sawchik at ESPN.com suggests an off-season move for each team, and I kinda like his suggestion for the M's: signing Lorenzo Cain. But I think this is Cain's first-to-home 2015 postseason talking. He's got great d, speed, a good bat, but he's 31. And don't the M's really need healthy starters?
- Did our solar system just get its first interstellar visitor? if so, it's already on its way out. “Nothing to see here.”
- An illustrated walk with Loudon Wainwright III through Greenwich Village, but really through his career. He also has a new memoir: “Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & A Few of My Other Favorite Things.” “I never thought I'd write a book, until somebody told me that I had one in me,” Loudon says. “It was like a medical diagnosis. I had to get it out!”
- Speaking of Loudon: I missed his song/video “I Had a Dream,” released in June 2016, about what might happen if Donald Fucking Trump actually won the presidency. Maybe I avoided it. That seemed too horrible to laugh about. Anyway, he doesn't play it anymore for the same reason. “It's not funny anymore,” he says. “It's just not.”
- It isn't.
- I'll be looking at this every day for a month: It's how Edgar Martinez's votes for the Hall of Fame are faring—among the writers sharing. Today: He's got 7 of 10. That includes three new votes. He needs 75%.
- In case you're on the fence with Edgar (and shame on you if you are), Jay Jaffe makes Edgar's case.
- A look at the great turn-of-the-last-century baseball photography of Paul Thompson.