Lancelot Links postsSaturday April 11, 2015
Wednesday April 01, 2015
The worst statue in the world. Is it Steve Buscemi? Jerry O'Connell? Both?
- Via Adam Wahlberg, the worst statue in the world.
- Via Uncle Vinny: SNL does a great takeoff on the awful internal Scientology “We are the World” videos that Alex Gibney's recent must-see doc, “Going Clear,” showed us. Funny stuff. Also sad.
- Another recommendation from that show: Michael Keaton's opening monologue, in which castmembers serenade the “Birdman” star into playing Batman and/or Beetlejuice one more time.
- From “The Twlight Zone” to Mark Rothko to “Bye Bye Birdie” to “Born Free” and “Dark Shadows”: the '60s pop-cultural references of “Mad Men.”
- Related, and via my first cousin once removed, Zoe, about her favorite “Mad Men” character: The Complete Quips of Roger Sterling. I remember laughing at the “God opens a door” line but the “Napoleon/Beef Wellington” line is so, so good.
- I'm generally not a fan of College Humor (not to mention college humor), but this bit on Superman and Batman teaming up made me laugh. A lot.
- Gail Collins follows up her quiz on GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz with a quiz on GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul, but this one isn't interactive and it's less comprehensive. Just four questions. I missed two of them. The rest of the column charts the devolution of Paul from libertarian to, you know, UGC (Usual GOP Crap).
- Writer extraordinaire and FOE (Friend of Erik) Josh Karp has a new book out, “Orson Welles's Last Movie,” which gets a great review here. The reviewer is basically saying: Welles Schmelles, this Karp guy is genius. You can buy it here.
- Via Brenda Biernat: Another FOE, Jason Lamb, hosts “Movies in Black and White,” a series looking at race in film. This April 30, at Central Cinema in Seattle, he doesn't mean to cause you any trouble, he doesn't mean to cause you any pain. He only wants to see you watching Prince's “Purple Rain.”
- Is it better to lose outright or keep coming back again and again ... and then lose? The Yankees did the latter against the Red Sox last night. Down 3-2 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Chase Headley went deep to tie it. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the 16th, Mark Teixeira went deep to tie it. Down 5-4 in the 18th, Carlos Beltran doubled (helped by some sloppy fielding from Hanley Ramirez) to plate Brian McCann with one out, but the Yankees couldn't bring him in to win it. Then down 6-5 in the 19th, Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single and it seemed like we might back where we started from. But with one out, the BoSox infield turned a nifty double play to end it at 2:13 a.m. One wonders if any Yankees fans (not to mention any Yankees) were cheesed at Headley for keeping it going in the first place. Here's your box score. Here's the NY Times report. I love this line from Billy Witz: “The game dragged on so long that Mark Teixeira, who was 34 when it began, had turned 35 by the time it was over.” Welcome to 2015 baseball.
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.
All previous entries
- 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.