- This week someone alerted me to Austin Kleon's pep talk/slide show/life advice “How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me),” and some part of me is cheesed that I still need this advice, at my advanced age, but mostly I'm just grateful that it's there. Immediate reactions to the 10? 1) I've always stupidly fought against; 2) I've always known, have even had arguments about, but I've never put it that way before; 3) I need to repeat every day; 4) will be increasingly difficult; 5) YES! Or, paraphrasing John Lennon, Art is what happens when you're busy making other plans; 6) is more profound than it sounds; 7) is, well, not as worthy as the others (poor 7); 8) please, 9) got that covered, and 10) yes, “Kill your little darlings.” Much thanks to Austin. I'll keep returning.
- On BBC Radio, Jennifer Egan talks about the pauses in rock songs--inspired by Jake Slichter's discussion of same, as it related to the song “Closing Time,” in his excellent memoir of the Semisonic years, “So You Wanna Be a Rock 'n Roll Star?”
- Via Jim Walsh: Great video of Bruce Springsteen, opening for Dave van Ronk in Kansas City in 1972, singing “Growing Up,” and seeming very much one of the next Bob Dylans that Loudon Wainwright III once sang about. Two immediate thoughts: 1) damn, he was handsome; 2) this was from a period when intellectualism, being smart, was still coveted by the general culture. You wanted to write lyrics as smart as Dylan's. Before the great dumbing down in the Reagan '80s.
- Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere highlights a great, early '60s-style, Saul Bass-y title sequence to the upcoming film, “X-Men: First Class,” which is set during the early 1960s. Joe DiLeonardo of Trenton, NJ is the man with the plan. Check out his site. Love his Shepherd Faireyesque “Woody Allen has a posse” poster.
- You see Billy Crystal on “The Daily Show” the other night? He came on and I thought “I miss him. Wonder what he's up to?” Turns out--and was this a first?--he was on “The Daily Show” to plug a Funny-or-Die clip. Maybe he was also on because people missed him.
- Mickey or Bugs? To me it's not even a debate. But over at Andrew Sullivan's site (his new site on the Daily Beast), they've been refining the reasons why corporate icon Mickey Mouse is inexplicably more popular than trickster rabbit Bugs Bunny. Naaah, WTF, doc?
- I'm with Jane Mayer on this. I wanted an open, civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. Instead we gave in to fear and politics, and he's getting the Gitmo treatment.
- Dahlia Lithwick at Slate weighs in, too. Hard. She writes: “In reversing one of its last principled positions—that American courts are sufficiently nimble, fair, and transparent to try Mohammed and his confederates—the administration surrendered to the bullying, fear-mongering, and demagoguery of those seeking to create two separate kinds of American law.” Then she gets tough.
- But if you really want to get into it, you should read Terry McDermott's excellent profile of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in last September's New Yorker. You'll discover the haphazard way tragedy strikes and history, tragic history, is made. You'll also find a man, not a beast. The wacko right would read into that last sentence an excuse, an excusing, but it's the opposite. Being human means being responsible, and thus potentially culpable. A monster just is. It's like blaming a shark for eating.
- Then back to Dahlia again. After routing the Obama administrtion for abandoning rule of law, she takes on the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, for undermining the culpability of prosecutors who withhold evidence, and undermining the landmark decision Brady v. Maryland.
- You probably don't know Cathie Black, the schools chancellor for NYC, you probably don't care about Cathie Black, unless you have children in NYC, but you should check out Amy Davidson's New Yorker post on why Black wound up with a 17% approval rating and is no longer schools chancellor for NYC. Holy crap. Her first answer is bad enough. The second essentially makes Nazis of us all.
- Dave Schoenfiled, who took Rob Neyer's place as the Sweet Spot guy, counts down the 50 greatest Yankees of all time. Here it's numbers 15 (Don Mattingly) though 1 (George Hermie Something). What do you think? Jeter before DiMaggio? Mantle before Gehrig? Posada before Rivera? Might see that middle one. The other two leave me shaking my head.
- It's official: Manny's been Manny.
- This is the funniest, most poignant paragraph I've read all week: Cardboard Gods' Josh Wilker on choking up (on the bat), Gene Richards (of the Padres), and the Padres' 2011 chances.
- Finally, footage of Tony Oliva's statue being unveiled outside Gate 6 at Target Field yesterday. Long deserved. Go to my bio page and you'll see me and Tony Oliva 41 years ago. Same on the baseball page (eventually). Only player in baseball history to lead the league in hitting his first two years in the Majors (1964, '65). Only did it once more ('71). Then the knee. Lead the league in hits five times, double four times, runs once, slugging once. Prettiest swing. Prettier than the statue. Ask Roger Angell.
Classic Minnesota moment: a statue is unveiled but ... no need for too much pomp and circumstance. It's just us here.