Lancelot Links postsWednesday April 01, 2015
Wednesday March 11, 2015
- Gail Collins gives us The Ted Cruz Pop Quiz. I got 8 out of 9.
- The GOP, progenitor of the phrase “class warfare,” suddenly cares about income inequality? John Cassidy puts on his Deep Throat mask and urges us to follow the money.
- Putting together two of my favorite guys—David Simon of “The Wire” and Barack Obama of the White House—would, you'd think, be a slamdunk for me. But the conversation between the two isn't as interesting as I'd hoped. Maybe because they agree with each other too much? Maybe because I agree with both of them too much? But I like: “It's draconian and it doesn't work,” from Simon on the drug wars. I like Simon's story about the real Omar, Donnie Andrews. I like Pres. Obama talking about humanizing both drug dealers and cops—particularly against (and he doesn't say this) our tendency to demonize others. But I would've liked a conversation less about the drug trade than the central theme of “The Wire,” which was “the numbers game,” and its appearance in police departments, schools, newspapers, and politics; and the ways the numbers game is not benefiting society.
- Extra credit: The title of Simon's website, “The Audacity of Despair” is a takeoff, obviously, on Obama's book, “The Audacity of Hope.” Maybe they should've duked it out over which was in fact more audacious. Or talked over the advantages of each. Why each is necessary. Where each gets us.
- How change happens: Joe Posnanski on the hard-earned generosity of spirit of 1940s Dodgers backup catcher Bobby Bragan.
- Why did it take so long for Eddie Mathews to make the Hall of Fame in the 1970s? Was it his disposition? His lack of MVPs? Being overlooked as the teammate of Henry Aaron? Did the BBWAA just not like white people? Joey Pos investigates.
- David Schoenfield on the most underrated player in baseball today. (Psst: He plays for the Mariners.)
- Long read of the week: Seymour Hersh's Letter from My Lai. Horrifying and uplifting, both.
Tuesday February 17, 2015
- A documentary by Eric Chase Anderson on the making of Wes Anderson's “Rushmore.” How cool is that?
- Are we really still talking about Sean Penn's green card joke at the Oscars? Good for him for his response.
- Via i09, the superheroines of the Golden Age of Comics not named Wonder Woman: from Phantom Liberty to Lady Satan to (personal favorite) Betty Bates, Lady at Law, who socks the bad guys in the jaw. (See: right.)
- It's old, but you gotta love the Old Spock vs. New Spock Audi car commercial. I laughed out loud. Thanks to Karen Tischler for reminding me.
- I'm not a “Big Bang Theory” guy (my nephews are), but this tribute to Leonard Nimoy is touching.
- I'm not a huge fan of Bill Maher, either, but he's exactly right in his takedown of what a liar Bill O'Reilly is.
- Via Criterion, Roger Ebert's favorite Criterion films. It's a helluva list. And for all the movies I've seen in my life, I haven't seen half of these. Time to get cracking.
- This is kind of fun for hoops fans: Two guys from Grantland argue over the greatest fictional basketball player in movie history.
- BTW, it made me recall this 1975 bit from SNL, which I tracked down on Vimeo: Paul Simon (yes, “Me and Julio” Paul Simon) going one on one with NBA great Connie Hawkins. Still funny after all these years.
- It also led to this: Sigourney Weaver on the set of “Alien: Resurrection” nailing the 3.
- Here's a hilarious “Talk of the Town” piece on the abysmal New York Knicks, and one fan who chose the wrong year to see every one of their games.
- I like the way Jeff Wells describes Abel Ferrera's “Welcome to New York” losing its cultural moment (“It feels like cold dumplings in the fridge”), but I have to admit I've never been a Ferrera fan. “Bad Lieutenant”? No. “King of New York”? No. None of it. Then I went to his IMDb page and realized I had barely even heard of any of his movies for the last 20 years. Talk about losing your cultural moment.
- As is his wont, Pultizer-Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey is out on the road, retracing the steps of the civil rights movement in time for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.
- May U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) be forever known at “The Senator with the Snowball.”
- Grantland weighs in on the coming baseball season by ranking teams from 30 (Phillies) to 1 (Nats). They got the Twins 27th (“Squint hard and you can see the start of something good here”), the Yankees 20th (“Right now, the Yanks look like the worst team in the AL East”) and the hapless Seattle Mariners ... third? Yes, third. “They might be the best team in the American League,” Jonah Keri writes. Play ball.
- Long read of the week: Via Adam Wahlberg, this excellent ESPN Magazine piece on the Problems of Being A-Rod, by J.R. Moehringer. Incredible stuff. Should win awards.
- Finally, that's right: I made TIME Magazine last week.
Monday February 09, 2015
- A short history of how Franklin became the first black character in “Peanuts.”
- The comedy duo Key and Peele play a couple of inept FBI agents in TV's “Fargo,” and for a time they reminded me of Vladimir and Estragon from “Waiting for Godot.” But the morning after watching the final episode, it hit me: No, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And apparently that was the intention of show creator Noah Hawley.
- The search above led to this choice bit from Key and Peele's show: the man who has to follow MLK's “I Have a Dream” speech.
- Much recommended: a video of the shot-by-shot techniques of Steven Spielberg's “Jaws.” But the titles people need help with their grammar, AKC.
- There's a kickstarter campaign for the documentary “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time.” Fingers crossed.
- My friend Vinny posted this on a Facebook thread: Dave Barry's reaction to reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I haven't read Barry in years but the man's still got it.
- The T-Wolves' Zach LaVine wins the slam-dunk contest. As with the HR Derby, the fun is in the reaction of other players.
- Sure, it's fun that ESPN's David Schoenfield not only predicts the Mariners will be the sixth-best team this year but that the Yankees will be way down in 21st place. What I particularly like? How Schoenfield goes over his spring training predictions from last year, when he had the eventual World Champion Giants in 20th place and the AL champ KC Royals in 18th. Who did he get most wrong? The Texas Rangers, who were 23 games worse than he predicted. As for most right, that was the New York Yankees. He predicted they would go 84-78 and they went 84-78. Know hope.
- Long read of the week: In “The Last Trial: A great-grandmother, Auschwitz, and the arc of justice,” Elizabeth Kolbert not only writes about her great-grandmother, who died at Auschwitz, but about Oskar Groning, the so-called bookkeeper of Auschwitz, who, at the age of 93, is now on trial in Germany for war crimes. For all the horror? You feel an injustice is being done to Groning.
Sunday February 01, 2015
- Apparently “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Alex Gibney's expose of L. Ron Hubbard's religious cult, is the must-see doc emerging from Sundance. Even though 160 HBO lawyers vetted the final product, which can lead to bland and awful, the doc still received standing ovations. It's based upon Lawrence Wright's book and will be broadcast on HBO in March.
- While comparing the Mets and Yankees in 2015, David Schoenfield predicts a losing season for the Bronx Bombers for the first time since 1992. Start spreading the news.
- That Moses Brown/Rhode Island principal who announced a Snow Day with a parody of “Let It Go” from “Frozen”? Very, very cool. No pun intended.
- How did Warner Bros. roll out “American Sniper” so successfully? Here's how.
- I love this bit from Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish on eggcorns—basically misunderstood words or malapropisms. Examples, here, include “Hair Hitler” and “self-defacating humor.” How do they differ from malapropisms? Not sure. But in the linked post they lead to a discussion of “the Undertoad” from “The World According to Garp.” We also get an excerpt from same. So beautifully written. I useed to re-read “Garp” every five years or so but haven't for maybe 15 years. Time.
- Jonah Keri from Grantland counts down Baseball's 10 Worst Contracts. The M's aren't mentioned—even among the dishonorable mentions—while the Texas Rangers have three of the top five. No. 1? That's a Yankee. Guess.
- What's it like to win an Oscar? The Guardian gets the straight scoop from Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley, Juliette Binoche and Alfonso Cuaron, among others.
- Long read: Wil S. Hylton on what lack of regulation has done to our food (particularly chicken, particularly chicken parts), and what Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer, is doing to fight back.
Lancelot Links: Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Edition
All previous entries
- Is Marshawn Lynch the hardest man to tackle in NFL history? Joe Posnanski goes there. (Or does he?)
- Mr. Lynch may annoy NFL officials and reporters, not to mention the opposition, but according to Grantland, everybody loves him.
- Tim Egan (Pac NW, NY Times writer) on the lesson learned from Obama's last two months and the Seahawks last game: It’s how you finish.
- Some call it Deflategate, some call is Ballghazi. But stats cruncher Warren Sharp asks the question: have the New England Patriots been deflating footballs in its favor since 2007? He crunches the numbers and comes up with “Holy crap!”
- The Daily Show weighs in on both Deflategate and the NFL's silly attempts to get Marshawn Lynch to talk. (Make sure you watch Patriots' booster John Hodgeman talk about the “score zone.”
- Conan O'Brien plays “Mortal Combat X” (as opposed to XLIX) with Marshawn and the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski. Love the moment the entrails come out and Marshawn just leaves. Also: “I feel your pain.”
- Via Jimmy Kimmel: Celebrities defend Tom Brady and the NE Patriots in Ballghazi.
- SNL tackles sexist Super Bowl ads. (Pretty funny.)
- The Seattle Times' Jerry Brewer asks, “Can the Hawks win two in a row when most Seattle teams haven't won one?”
- Want to relive two Sundays ago? From the onside kick to Jermaine Kearse.
- Sports Illustrated wanted Richard Sherman on its cover but he opted for the Legion of Boom. Here's the Q&A.
- Finally, some regular season stats via ESPN: Patriots were 9th in the NFL in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards. On D, they were 17th and 9th against the pass and against the rush. And the Seahawks? Not great on the pass: 27th in the NFL. But they were 1st in offensive rushing yards, 3rd in defensive rushing yards, and 1st in defensive passing yards. #GoHawks!
Seattle lit up over the Hawks. Saw this last night coming home from the Olympic peninsula.