Lancelot Links postsThursday December 07, 2017
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.
Friday September 29, 2017
- 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.
Lancelot Links Takes a Knee
Tuesday August 01, 2017
I suppose it's good to still be interested in a range of subjects. If the usual range of subjects:
- Adam Gopnik on the legacy of Hugh Hefner, who died this week at the age of 91: “The anxious adolescent coyness that the enterprise never escaped—in part because anxious adolescent coyness was Hefner's true signature emotion, a silk dressing gown and a pipe being exactly an anxious adolescent's idea of sophistication—was essentially anti-sex, replacing the real thing with a synthetic substitute.”
- How horrible has Neil Gorsuch's first half year been on the U.S. Supreme Court? Pretty damn horrible, says Jeffrey Toobin. He's making enemies—including possibly the court itself.
- I never watched “Thomas the Tank Engine” (I was in college when it started) but that's a good thing, if Jia Tolentino's take on its “authoritian, repressive” soul is correct. “The Sad Story of Henry” alone would've given me nightmares.
- This week, Patricia and I saw the touring production of “Something Rotten!” at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. What fun! What talent! Here's a taste.
- I don't know Dallas sports reporter Dale Hansen, but his no-holds-barred take on the idiot National Anthem controversy (or how Donald Trump ruined football for everybody) has justifiably gone viral, and is one of the sharpest I've heard: “”I served in the military during the Vietnam War, and my foot hurt, too—but I served anyway. My best friend in high school was killed in Vietnam, and Carol Meyer will be 18 years old forever and he did not die so you can decide who is a patriot and who loves America more.“
- I'll take Bob Costas on the subject, too, particularly his thoughts on the conflation of sports, the flag, and the miltary.
- Then there's Jelani Cobb and how ”ungrateful“ has become the new ”uppity."
- The Daily Show's Trevor Noah expands on the gratitude discussion by asking: Black people should be grateful ... to whom?
- Here's a baserunning play you'll probably never see again—or how the Reds' Billy Hamilton went from being caught in a rundown between first and second to scoring. Love the pop-up, too.
- The good news of the week? Besides Billy Hamilton? The GOP's attempt to trade our OK health-care coverage for REALLY SHITTY health-care coverage failed again. Thanks in part to this guy. But they'll be back. They're assholes.
Lancelot Links: Trading Deadline Edition
Friday May 19, 2017
- I think it should be illegal for anyone to trade good players to the Yankees but particularly at the trading deadline—when you trade the present for the future. You give yourself a better chance in the long run and them a better chance now, and the Yankees should never have a better chance now. But that's what the Oakland A's did yesterday: Sonny Gray for three guys. You know the Yankees and their fans are charged about this one.
- No link, just a reminder of why we hate the Yankees via a trivia question I asked on Facebook the other day. From 1949-1953 the Yankees won five World Series titles in a row. How many MLB teams have never won more than five titles in their entire history? The answer is most of them: 24 of 30. The five non-Yankees teams that have managed to win 5+ titles are: Dodgers (6), Red Sox and Giants (8 each), Athletics (9), and Cardinals (11). The Yankees, of course, have 27 titles. And counting.
- Another non-link (sorry, Lancelot), just an embarrassing stat of the day. This is the Yankees' record in the six weeks before arriving in Seattle on July 20: 11-22. And since arriving in Seattle: 9-2.
- More from “the rich get richer” files: The seemingly unbeatable Dodgers got Yu Darvish from the Rangers. Don't forget to take your practice swings, Yu.
- ESPN's David Schoenfield assesses the trading deadline winners and losers. Winners? Sonny Gray, who goes from the lowest-rent district in baseball to the highest. Also the Dodgers, who didn't stand pat. Losers? Red Sox, who had no future to trade; Houston, who didn't do enough to shore up their pitching/bullpen; and Texas, based on the last two trade deadlines (they gave up the future, and the future came faster than they thought). Virtually unmentioned either way? Your Seattle Mariners.
- Here's a break: A lovely little piece from The Poz on more reasons to dislike the intentional walk. Good callout to “The Natural.”
- The Chicago Cubs have given 2003 NLCS scapegoat Steve Bartman a 2016 World Series ring, saying, “We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.” Classy move.
- And if you haven't seen Alex Gibney's 2011 doc on scapegoats in general and Bartman in particular, by all means. One of my favorite baseball movies. Yes, I made a list.
- Dan Epstein, author of “Stars & Strikes: Baseball & America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76,” has an interesting point to make RE: Bartman and Gibney's “Catching Hell.”
- Finally, we're nearing Edgar Martinez jersey-retirement day, and it's about time. Here's a reminder of why he meant so much to us.
- ADDENDUM: Hot off the presses: The Poz on Bartman. Amen.
Lancelot Links Can't Stop Reading the News
All previous entries
- It's tough to keep up these days—for obvious reasons. I think of the opening of David Remnick's great piece on Trump's first 100 days: “For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. His Presidency has become the demoralizing daily obsession of anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, constitutionalism, civil rights, criminal justice, a free press, science, public education, and the distinction between fact and its opposite.” I wonder if productivity has gone down in the U.S. under his administration. Wouldn't be surprised.
- The big story of the week, in a week of big stories, was the New York Times' revelation that Comey has memos from his meetings with Trump; and during the Feb. 14 meeting, Trump supposedly told Comey to back off the investigation into Gen. Flynn. Right now it's he said/he said, but if there are tapes, as Trump has implied, and the tapes bear out Comey's claim, well, then it's obstruction of justice. The whole thing is Watergate on speed.
- Or maybe we don't need the tapes. According to the Times today, Trump told Russian diplomats in the Oval Office: “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. ... I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off.” This is according to documents summarizing the meeting. That sounds like obstruction of justice to me. So it's all about the validity of the documents. Which are apparently official White House documents.
- Before these more egregious Trump stories broke, Evan Osnos at The New Yorker was already answering the question, “How Trump could get fired?” The stuff on Reagan and the 25th amendment is particularly interesting.
- In other news this week, Roger Ailes died. The man who wrote the book on him, Gabriel Sherman, says he's going to miss him.
- Matt Taibbi isn't so kind.
- Neither is Vice.
- Nor Media Matters.
- New Yorker.
- Sherman references Janet Maslin's takedown of his book on Ailes, which you can find here. Makes me never want to read Maslin again. Our insiders need to get outside once in a while. Breathe the air there.