Thursday December 31, 2015
- You know all that talk about narco-terrorism? How terrorists are making tons of money off the drug trade to fund their activities? It might not be very true. What busts have been made could be a sad conjoining of: 1) the need to do something after 9/11; 2) the desire for a bigger DEA budget; 3) the fact that we pay (“incentivize”) informants based on arrests rather than intel, which encourages entrapment. Most high-profile busts over the years have essentially been sting operations. Read on.
- 4,191 vs. 4,189. How did Ty Cobb lose two basehits long after he was dead? Joe Posnanski sets the record straight.
- Pete Souza, official White House photographer, on Obama's very good year.
- Speaking of: This might be my favorite thing this year: Obama in a car (a 1963 Corvette Stingray) getting coffee with Jerry Seinfeld. “Oh, the sunscreen.” It's like we're back in the diner on “Seinfeld” but one guy is the President of the United States.
- I love these New York Times “Anatomy of a Scene” videos, in which a movie director talks us through all the details in a scene in their latest movie. Here it's Todd Haynes on the meeting of Therese and Carol in “Carol.”
- My nephew Jordy then found this one from one of his favorite films of 2015: “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.”
- Came across this after the death of Meadowlark Lemon last Sunday: The Harlem Globetrotters on “What's My Line?” in 1956.
- The Dec. 21 & 28 Talk of the Town section of The New Yorker is a keeper. Among the pieces:
- Margaret Talbot on the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago, and the bad year for law enforcement. (And this doesn't take into account the Netflix documentary series, “Making a Murderer,” which everyone should watch.)
- The creator/star of “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, author Michael Chabon, and director Martin Scorsese talk New York history in a museum on the Bowery, a few blocks from where Scorsese grew up. Makes me want to see the Wallace Beery film.
- Performing devout Muslim rituals at the Trump SoHo Hotel. Great ending to this piece by Andrew Marantz.
- In the same issue, Emily Nussbaum talks up the subtext of “Jessica Jones,” which she admires. Her reaction to the series was the opposite of mine: initially bored, then interested. I went: “Not bad,” and then, “No, bad.” Love her line on Mike Colter: “... an actor with so much sexual gravity that he could be his own planet.”
- Long read of the week: Forrest Wickman on all the influences that went into the original “Star Wars.” At the least, it beats all the influences that went into “Star Wars VII,” which seems to be, you know, “Star Wars.”