AP Silly Headline of the Day and AP Much-Less-Silly Headline of the Day
Man Allegedly Tries to Put Wife in Oven
the ride with this blog is worth the fall
Meet the Fockers may not represent the first time that two of the greatest actors of any generation -- Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro -- have shared screen time, but it’s certainly the worst, and that Barbra Streisand would trade in her Hollywood wattage for a role where she essentially plays Mrs. Roper with a psychology degree is just plain embarrassing.To narrow down the candidates, they used this chart of movies that have grossed more than $100 million at the domestic box office. It got me to thinking of my list, because I'd only seen three of their selections (Meet the Fockers, Titanic, and The Phantom Menace). So, without further ado, here are my selections, with only the top (or bottom) five ranked, with each film's box-office rank in parentheses.
Ultimately, not a single thing in Armageddon is emotionally honest, from the animal crackers to the melodramatic martyrdom. Bay’s close-ups of plaques honoring fallen Apollo astronauts are cheap echoes of a kind of nationalism he can never adequately sell; it’s almost like he wants to be Frank Capra, but he’s too cynical to know the difference between American sentiment and making a buck.
let's go hang out in a mall, or a morgue,From "Graze":
let's go hang out in a church
we'll go find Lurch
let's go hang out in a bar
it's not too far
we'll take my car
people should not be afraidAnd finally, from "Century":
the artist does figure eights
but will it stand the test of time
or will it rot like the mission that tried too hard
everybody's hereI'm pretty sure no one would be interested in stealing those "ideas."
puke stinks like beer
this could be a city
this could be a graveyard
you stole my idea
for the coming of the crisis
the collapse of the justice
i can smell your armpits
you stole my idea
you stole my idea!
Casey Bonham Leto, age 5 months, wasn’t to blame. Neither were his parents. Right down to his rock ’n’ roll middle name -- a tribute to Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham -- everything had been done to bestow him with rock-kid credibility at the earliest possible age: On the floor of the puff-cheeked baby’s living room in Jersey City were toy guitars and a set of Metallica nesting dolls. On his powder-blue onesie pajamas, in gothic script, were the words "My crib rocks."Let us take the opportunity, before we lose it, to simply pause for a silent moment and acknowledge the phrase "Metallica nesting dolls."
"We’re undergoing a change in what it means to be a traditional parent," said Mr. Salem. "But I read somewhere that the fastest way to turn your kid into a Republican is to dress him up in a Sex Pistols T-shirt. That’s probably true."
Disaffected Teen #1: "What are you gonna get?"
Disaffected Teen #2: "I think I got a chai."
Disaffected Teen #3: "Chai is gay, dude."
Starbucks Barrista, placing my order on the pick-up table: "Grande Chai Latte!"
Tenacious D originally appealed because it was dumb-but-smart. Here, it’s just dumb. This movie makes Wayne’s World look like Doctor Zhivago.
Older woman: Do you have to stand right there in the doorway?
Beefy guy: I've been standing here for 30 minutes.
Older woman: Jerk.
Beefy guy #2: Wow. We were all smiling before you got on. Happy Thanksgiving.
Random voice rising from the crowd: God, I should've gotten out of New York years ago.
Beefy guy #2's girlfriend: It's not New York. I hate the people.
I wrote captions. "This little pink dress will win you a beau," that sort of thing. Funny, they were plain women working at Vogue, not chic. They were decent, nice women -- the nicest women I ever met -- but they had no business on such a magazine. They wore funny little bonnets and in the pages of their magazine they virginized the models from tough babes into exquisite little loves. Now the editors are what they should be: all chic and worldly; most of the models are out of the mind of a Bram Stoker, and as for the caption writers -- my old job -- they're recommending mink covers at seventy-five dollars apiece for the wooden ends of golf clubs "--for the friend who has everything." Civilization is coming to an end, you understand.On her early writing life:
I fell into writing, I suppose, being one of those awful children who wrote verses. I went to a convent in New York -- the Blessed Sacrament. Convents do the same things progressive schools do, only they don't know it. They don't teach you how to read; you have to find out for yourself. ... But as for helping me in the outside world, the convent taught me only that if you spit on a pencil eraser it will erase ink. And I remember the smell of oilcloth, the smell of nuns' garb. I was fired from there, finally, for a lot of things, among them my insistence that the Immaculate Conception was spontaneous combustion.She's also good with an anecdote, as you might imagine. Here she is on Harold Ross, the editor of The New Yorker:
He was a professional lunatic, but I don't know if he was a great man. He had a profound ignorance. On one of Mr. Benchley's manuscripts he wrote in the margin opposite "Andromache," "Who he?" Mr. Benchley wrote back, "You keep out of this."
I mention this example because I find slightly off-putting what I sensed to be a dogmatic streak in Milton Friedman. I think his belief in the superior efficiency of free markets to government as a means of resource allocation, though fruitful and largely correct, was embraced by him as an article of faith and not merely as a hypothesis. I think he considered it almost a personal affront that the Scandinavian nations, particularly Sweden, could achieve and maintain very high levels of economic output despite very high rates of taxation, an enormous public sector, and extensive wealth redistribution resulting in much greater economic equality than in the United States. I don't think his analytic apparatus could explain such an anomaly.(Via, in a roundabout way, Cosmic Variance)
I also think that Friedman, again more as a matter of faith than of science, exaggerated the correlation between economic and political freedom. A country can be highly productive though it has an authoritarian political system, as in China, or democratic and impoverished, as was true for the first half century or so of India's democracy and remains true to a considerable extent, since India remains extremely poor though it has a large and thriving middle class--an expanding island in the sea of misery. What is true is that commercial values are in tension with aristocratic and militaristic values that support authoritarian government, and also that as people become economically independent they are less subservient, and so less willing to submit to control by politicians; and also that they become more concerned with the protection of property rights, which authoritarian government threatens. But Friedman seemed to share Friedrich Hayek's extreme and inaccurate view that socialism of the sort that Britain embraced under the old Labour Party was incompatible with democracy, and I don't think that there is a good theoretical or empirical basis for that view.
What America will gain in return for leaving Iraq, according to Murtha and other Democrats, will be the holy grail of realism: stability. "They have more confidence in their people than they do in ours," Murtha said of the Iraqis. "And I’m convinced there’ll be more stability, less chaos." Former Senator George S. McGovern recently laid out a plan, in an essay he co-wrote in Harper’s, that amounts to a series of non sequiturs: American withdrawal, followed by the evaporation of the insurgency, followed by an influx of foreign police, followed by American-funded reconstruction.The issue also sports a somewhat depressing (but pretty) Thanksgiving-themed cover by Chris Ware:
It is true that the presence of American troops is a source of great tension and violence in Iraq, and that overwhelming numbers of Iraqis want them to leave. But it is also true that wherever American troop levels have been reduced—in Falluja and Mosul in 2004, in Tal Afar in 2005, in Baghdad in 2006—security has deteriorated.
The argument that Iraq would be better off on its own is a self-serving illusion that seems to offer Americans a win-win solution to a lose-lose problem. Like so much about this war, it has more to do with politics here than reality there.
We may have to accept that the disintegration of Iraq is irreversible and America’s last remaining interest will be to leave. If so, we shouldn’t deepen the insult by pretending that we’re doing the Iraqis a favor. Even realism has an obligation to be realistic.
Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, "Against the Day," reads like the sort of imitation of a Thomas Pynchon novel that a dogged but ungainly fan of this author’s might have written on quaaludes. It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex.And Mr. Menand in The New Yorker:
Thomas Pynchon is the apostle of imperfection, so it is arguably some sort of commendation to say that his new novel, "Against the Day," is a very imperfect book. Imperfect not in the sense of "Ambitious but flawed." Imperfect in the sense of "What was he thinking?" . . . Elaborately imagined characters and incidents, from a man who may or may not be transformed into a jelly doughnut to a city beneath the desert and a near-death experience in a mayonnaise factory, pop up and disappear after a few pages, so many raisins in the enormous loaf.
People who mostly stay put get to have experiences once available only to frequent travelers, and this loss of exclusivity is one reason why frequent travelers are the ones who complain. When Borders was a unique Ann Arbor institution, people in places like Chandler (Arizona) -- or, for that matter, Philadelphia and Los Angeles -- didn’t have much in the way of bookstores. Back in 1986, when California Pizza Kitchen was an innovative local restaurant about to open its second location, food writers at the L.A. Daily News declared it “the kind of place every neighborhood should have.” So what’s wrong if the country has 158 neighborhood CPKs instead of one or two?
Labels: Five Songs
"does Lauren Bacall think she's pretty?"I'm sure the people searching for those things didn't stay here long. If they did, for some reason, I hope they stick around despite the fact that Bacall and octopuses are, at best, only occasional subjects.
"fear of octopuses"
The chapter check-lists the elements of a definitive bus-plunge story: Plunge should appear in the hed; the piece should be only a couple of sentences long; and it should "include the number feared dead, the identity of any group on board"—a soccer team, church choir, or students—"as well as the distance of the plunge from the capital city." The words ravine or gorge should appear.
I knew this would happen. I pick up my copy of the New Statesman, London's leftist weekly, to find a review of Borat, bannered on the table of contents as "Sacha Baron Cohen's exposure of crass Americana" and on the review page itself with, "The Kazakh ace reporter uncovers uncomfortable truths about the US."And since almost nothing is less entertaining than dissecting comedy, I'll shut up now. Meanwhile, the kids over at Gawker are celebrating a recent Borat beat-down.
Oh, come on. Among the "cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan" is the discovery that Americans are almost pedantic in their hospitality and politesse. At a formal dinner in Birmingham, Ala., the guests discuss Borat while he's out of the room—-filling a bag with ordure in order to bring it back to the table, as it happens-—and agree what a nice young American he might make. And this is after he has called one guest a retard and grossly insulted the wife of another (and remember, it's "Americana" that is "crass"). ... The arrival of a mountainous black hooker does admittedly put an end to the evening, but if a swarthy stranger had pulled any of the foregoing at a liberal dinner party in England, I wouldn't give much for his chances.
The disco-waltz "Complete or Completing" submerges into a Steely Dan tide, then locks into a chant-groove that is triumphantly resumed on album closer "Sway", which dips the last few years of indie-rock's most-soiled dishes into a Ladysmith Black Mambazo rinse.I don't know if this review makes me want to buy the album, but it certainly produces a craving for Aspirin.
"Brother" is the album's riotous, massive standout, but almost everything's impressive: The purposeful shuffle of "Mama", the blurping bits of "Ida, My" that are as biomechanical as H.R. Giger's alien design, the general unforcedness, the open-air funhouse moxie, etc.
Even as these songs synthesize tones I thought I might never hear together-- those of Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Sea & Cake, and Ipecac's roster-- without licking Mars Volta's cheese grater, they ultimately upstage themselves.
At the time, the idea that cholera might be transmitted by a waterborne poison ran against the grain of medical opinion. Disease was not generally viewed as a "thing" -- a specific pathological entity caused by a specific external agency. Instead, it was common to suppose that diseases reflected an imbalance of the four humors (blood, phlegm, and yellow and black bile), an imbalance ascribed to a large range of behaviors and environmental factors. Moreover, epidemic disease -- literally, disease coming "upon the people" -- was then widely ascribed not to contagion but to atmospheric "miasmas." In the seventeenth century, the great English physician Thomas Sydenham had introduced the notion of an "epidemic constitution of the atmosphere." Something had contaminated the local air (possibly, he thought, noxious effluvia from "the bowels of the earth") in a way that unbalanced the humors. The occasional appearance of these effluvia accounted for the intermittent character of epidemic disease. The miasmal theory remained medical orthodoxy for about two centuries. ... The fact that the poor suffered most in many epidemics was readily accommodated by the miasmal theory: certain people -- those who lived in areas where the atmosphere was manifestly contaminated and who led a filthy and unwholesome way of life -- were "predisposed" to be afflicted.That issue of the magazine also included a terrific piece about Noah Webster (Mr. Dictionary) by Jill Lepore. Speaking of our president, how's this for the-more-things-change...?
By the time Webster's massive, two-volume "American Dictionary of the American Language" was printed, in 1828, the Federalist Party was dead. So was almost everyone Webster had known in his youth, or even his middle age. Republicans from Virginia -- Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe -- had run the country for a quarter century. Republicanism was so ascendant that Andrew Jackson, who was not only a champion of the common man but also a notoriously bad speller (he spelled "government" with one "n"), had just been elected to President.
RS: Your show has thrived during the Bush administration. Will you miss it?
STEWART: I remember people used to say, "What are you gonna do when Clinton leaves?" And I'd say, "I'm really OK not having to make another intern blowjob joke in my life." And it'll be the same with these guys. I'd much prefer these guys to leave than to have to continue to make Lord Vader jokes about Cheney. I have great faith in institutional absurdity.
RS: But wouldn't, say, a President Obama be harder to make fun of than these guys?
STEWART: Are you kidding?
COLBERT and STEWART in unison: His dad was a goat-herder!
STEWART: I'd rather make fun of somebody who is wearing their humble beginnings on their sleeve than somebody who has created a situation where casualties are involved. So the idea that somehow it's easier now -— it's not. Because right now it is a comic box lined with sadness.
BUSH: Look, this is a close election. If you look at race by race, it was close. The cumulative effect, however, was not too close. It was a thumping.
But nevertheless, the people expect us to work together. That's what they expect. And as I said in my opening comments, you know, there comes responsibility with victory.
And that's what Nancy Pelosi told me this morning. She said in the phone call she wants to work together. And so do I. And so, that's how you deal with it.
QUESTION: You just described the election results as a thumping...
BUSH: I said the cumulative -- make sure. Who do you write for?
QUESTION: The New York Times, Mr. President.
BUSH: Oh, yes...
Let's make sure we get the facts. I said that the elections were close -- the cumulative effect...
QUESTION: Yes, is a thumping.
QUESTION: But the results have been...
BUSH: It's a polite way of saying, you know -- anyway, go ahead.
You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.
What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com
Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.
People in power simply can’t be trusted.Sounds good to me.
If we’re going to have a Republican executive branch, we need a Democratic legislature to hold its feet to the fire. And vice-versa.
So on Tuesday, I’m neither voting Democratic or Republican. I’m voting for the oldest party in the republic. Its name never appears on the ballot, but it’s always there and it has always served us well.
Labels: Five Songs