Hitch on the Glenn Beck rally:
In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.
My review of the surprisingly good comedy "The Switch"is online at Philly.com. In posting the review, by the way, I broke a tie on the movie's RottenTomatoes page, which had been 50/50, and personally knocked it into the "fresh" category. I feel like Joe Biden.
Again and again and again.
Adam Serwer, on a poll showing that more than 50 percent of Republicans believe that "Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world":
The poll result is also another example of the remarkable ability of the conservative base to hold two entirely contradictory impressions of a person at the same time -- on the one hand Obama is a social libertine who wants to teach sex ed to children, end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the armed forces and allow women unfettered access to abortion, and on the other he's part of a global conspiracy to institute a repressive interpretation of Islamic law that would prohibit all of those things.He's also both a milquetoast weakling, and a rough Chicago political hack.
The Onion got this right earlier in the week.
A decade of Ricky Gervais' great laugh:
That's about a hundred times more than I laughed at "The Invention of Lying."
This made me laugh for some reason:
Since I left New York I haven't heard anyone say "I'm right in the middle of your shit so what the fuck."
The Glenn Beck rally, living up to MLK's legacy!
Rauf's statement about Iraq sanctions is not a religious statement. It is a political statement. Rauf could have said this while being an extremist, he could have said it while scarfing down a half smoke covered in chili and cheese and washing it down with a Red Stripe. If Douthat wants to read Rauf's books and have a theological argument about Islam, or argue with Rauf about his views of American foreign policy, that's fine. But what conservatives are doing at this point is not looking for evidence of religious extremism but policing Rauf's political views for things they find objectionable and then presenting them as evidence of religious extremism. .. These are two completely different things, but conservatives need to conflate them because "man with lefty views on American foreign policy tries to build community center in Lower Manhattan" isn't as objectionable as "Islamic extremist builds mosque at Ground Zero." Agreeing with the Republican platform shouldn't be a prerequisite for building an Islamic community center without the threat of widespread, organized political opposition. We don't hold any other kind of religious leaders to those kinds of standards.
Thanks to this GQ piece, I finally know how to pronounce "Ndamukong Suh" and "Nnamdi Asomugha."
Daniel Larison on the idiocy of the mosque opposition:
It has been an exercise in manipulating public anger and using it for the purpose of waging an ostensibly anti-Islamist political campaign by organizing against harmless Muslims and their organizations. A distinctive American culture isn’t under threat from this mosque, the Cordoba Initiative or Imam Abdul Rauf. Rauf and those like him do represent a threat to lazy conservative anti-jihadism that treats every Muslim to “the right” of Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a potential fifth columnist and would-be enforcer of creeping shari’a.The Pam Geller definition of "Sharia" appears to be "Muslims actively practicing Islam without shame." How dare they.
KSK details an accurate-sounding meeting between the two famous NFL coaches.
A caller to the (thankfully Cataldi-free) WIP morning show today lamented that "the unions" are to blame for the out-of-control behavior of baseball's umpires, such as the ump that taunted Ryan Howard the other night, leading to Howard's ejection and the necessity of Roy Oswalt playing left field in the 15th and 16th innings.
Now, I know that some radio callers in Philly, especially on WPHT, have a tendency to blame absolutely every problem in the universe on "the unions." But in fact, baseball's umpires union is pretty weak, and was broken completely about a decade ago* when they tried an ill-advised mass-resigation strategy. One of the umps fired in that purge, the late Eric Gregg, used to come on the morning show frequently, but it didn't appear any of them remembered that.
*Check out the byline on that 1999 story- it's WIP's own Anthony Gargano! Surprisingly, the story doesn't mention "The Sopranos" or food.
This is the hardest I've laughed at anything in a long time. Drew Magary is literally inches away from taking over the universe.
Former RNC chairman and '04 Bush campaign chief Ken Mehlman announced this week that he is gay. It's not the biggest surprise- rumors to that effect have been out there for years, and CNN even drew fire a few years ago for editing out a segment in which Bill Maher mentioned that Mehlman was gay.
I admire him for doing so now, as it was clearly something he's struggled with, and he's pledged to work for same-sex marriage. But it might have been nice for him to do something back when he was in a position to influence the president.
Anyway, now that Mehlman has come out, it's time for Ryan from "The Real World: New Orleans" to do the same. I mean, in last week's episode he literally ran away from a naked woman in order to hide in a closet. The producers somehow resisted the temptation to show him coming out of it.
Alonso Duralde, via Twitter:
I just figured it out: The Real Housewives franchise is pro wrestling for women.Of course it is. They even throw tables. Then again, in the Real Housewives Wrestling Federation, every wrestler is a heel.
Seriously- if Bethanny Frankel were a fictional character, she'd be rejected out of hand as way too obvious an anti-Semitic caricature.
Steven I. Weiss, an old colleague of mine from the ten-year-ago New York blogosphere, has an interesting piece on the Christian Zionist movement. Now I don't doubt that the majority of Christian Zionists have their hearts in the right place, but I'm quite uneasy with the whole thing- largely because their leader, John Hagee, is a nut with a paper trail of noxious statements up there with that of Pat Buchanan. I also can't help but think this sort of "outreach" is part of a campaign to get Jews to vote Republican.
Here's the other part that concerns me:
While watching Hagee speak live at the CUFI summit, inveighing against anti-Semitism and declaring, to the applause of thousands of Christians, "If a line has to be drawn, then draw it around both Christians and Jews, around Americans and Israelis," I got chills.I did too, but not for the reason Weiss did. What about black people? What about gays? Do they get to be on our side of the line?
From New Black Panthers to Arizona immigration to Cordoba the right, these days, has taken to very frequently scapegoating whole demographics of people, whether it's Muslims, immigrants, or gays. Whenever that's done, anywhere, to any group, it should give Jews pause, even if we're not one of the groups it's being done to. Just because Jews have achieved "approved minority" status among the Palinites doesn't mean I have to appreciate it or ever will.
News Item: DEA job listing seeks "ebonics translator"
Just what we need as a society, in the Shirley Sherrod/New Black Panthers/New Southern Strategy era- the return of the ebonics debate!
The great Fox News question, according to Stewart:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Parent Company Trap|
Noah's latest visit to Minnesota is detailed in his new blog post. By the way, in the airport on the way we were both chosen for extra security, including a ten-minute process of unpacking and repacking our suitcase. Glad to see the government is taking the terror babies threat seriously.
I've got a new Week in Electronics Retail Crime story up at Dealerscope. One of the stories is of the Barefoot Bandit, a notorious 19-year-old thief who stole cars, planes and boats, and was finally captured. David Caruso, of course, has some thoughts on the matter.
11 Points ranks the 11 stars of "The Expendables" by how ass-kicking they are. My favorite part:
7. Eric Roberts. He doesn't do any actual fighting, but he does shoot some people... he orchestrates a totalitarian army that really roughs up a bunch of the Vilenese shopkeepers and children... and he waterboards a chick. (If only they'd transplanted that part into his sister's movie from the same opening weekend. I would've seen "Eat Pray Love" if, at some point, while Julia Roberts was giggling about eating pasta and seeing guys' dongs, someone popped up and started waterboarding her. Plus "Eat Pray Love Waterboard" has such a better ring to it.)That would've been such a better movie. She could have visited Italy, India, Indonesia and Iraq.
How dare he answer questions about his time with the Eagles. BOOOOOO!
Actually, the GQ interview is a pretty fair and accurate overview of the McNabb years in Philly. I'm curious which shocking, beyond-the-pale statement the radio guys will cease on tonight.
And I don't know what it is about GQ, but that's about the tenth article I've read on their site in the last week that's been just stellar.
Just about every Twins game this week is on MLB network. Last night's wasn't supposed to be, but the network went to coverage when Rich Harden had a no-hitter going in the 7th inning. Two innings and three pitchers later, it was still intact, until Joe Mauer singled with one out in the ninth to break it up. I was so excited I woke up both wife and baby. The Twins still lost, but it would've been embarrassing.
Remember in the early '90s, when the right used to attack the left for embracing a "victim mentality," and being "offended" all the time? Now it's apparently the right's turn to have their precious feelings hurt at all times. Eugene Robinson:
When did the loudmouths of the American right become such a bunch of fraidy-cats and professional victims? Or is it all just an act?... the manufactured brouhaha over the Park51 project is part of a larger pattern in which the far right embraces victimhood and stokes fear. The faction that likes to portray itself as a bunch of John Waynes and "mama grizzlies," it turns out, spends an awful lot of time cowering in the corner and complaining about how beastly everyone else is being.
The lead item on Politico--titled "Dems Urge Obama to Take a Stand"--is almost surrealistic. Take a stand? The guy passed health care, a stimulus bill that helped avoid a Depression, a groundbreaking financial reform bill that is too complicated to be popularly described, a bailout that enabled General Motors and Chrysler to survive. He nominated two estimable women to the Supreme Court. He restored America's image in the world. I can go on... But Dems are distressed? He's not populist or ideological enough? Oh please.
- Vince has no problem at all dating the most famous porn star in the world, but does have a huge, huge problem with her going back to do more porn.
- Sasha Grey's lack of acting talent is obvious, even though she's playing herself.
- Nobody in Hollywood had any clue until now that Ari was a huge asshole- not even his wife.
- A major Hollywood studio movie is in danger of falling apart because Randall Wallace- whose only directorial credits to date are "The Man in the Iron Mask" and "We Were Soldiers"- quit as director.
- I'm sure Mark Cuban totally walks up to complete strangers all the time and offers to fly them on a private jet to talk about investing in their business.
- Kevin Love joining Adrian Peterson as a Minnesota athlete making a pointless cameo this season. At least Mauer, and every other Twin, has had the good sense to stay away.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders is guest-blogging for Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Atlantic's site. I haven't been this excited about this sort of news since I found out the anonymous author of FiveThirtyEight was Nate Silver.
One of the best Arab independent wrestling heel managers of the 1980s (a large group, to be sure) has died. Storylines were so simple back in World Class days, weren't they? Most of the good guys were Von Erichs, while most of the bad guys were part of Akbar's Devastation, Inc.
Will Jay Mariotti's domestic violence arrest mean the end of his sports media career? I sure as hell hope so. I mean, do you know anyone who likes him?
And gets a yellow card:
I had no idea there was Israeli soccer that's televised with English commentary. Must see more soon... At any rate, Tottenham must sign this guy, and sooner rather than later.
Seriously. I mean, saying the "Ground Zero Mosque" is at Ground Zero is like saying the house two blocks away from mine is at my house.
David Frum contributor "Jay Gatsby" on Palin's shameful defense of Dr. Laura:
Can Republicans please quit the evading and rationalization? A party that aspires to lead a multi-ethnic country must not degenerate into the voice of white racial panic. Whether the topic at hand is the merit of the Civil Rights Act or the allegation that American Muslims are all secret jihadists. The racial messaging from Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed meets with pathetically meek resistance from elected leaders. Tragically, some who ought to know better – such as former speaker Newt Gingrich – have apparently decided, “If you can’t beat Palin – copy her.”
And if American blacks or Hispanics or Muslims or whoever is targeted next are insulted and alienated? It will never occur to Palin that any offense caused by her words might be legitimate. Instead it must be political correctness run amok, unleashed to deprive “real Americans” of their “First Amendment rights”. So there will be no retreating, no reflecting, no apologizing: only more “reloading”. When will Republicans understand that the ammunition Palin is firing is aimed at their own heads?
A great, great post on Iman Rauf by Conor Friedersdorf, imaging how actual terrorists would see the Park51 project:
Every actual radical Islamist would know perfectly well that an imam who works with the FBI, tours on behalf of the State Department, denounces terrorism, defends the US constitution in an Arabic exchange with radicals from Hizb ut-Tahrir, has a good relationship with New York City rabbis, and preaches on behalf of women's rights isn't on their side. In fact, he is exactly the kind of imam that Islamist radicals target and kill when they dare to do these sorts of things in other countries.
Their beat writer sounds like a complete ass. Their announcer, too. And their manager is a lunatic, but at least he's an entertaining lunatic.
The Twins are five games up after last night- would you have guessed that, before the season, if I'd told you Mauer wouldn't hit a home run at home until August 18?
Antonio Cromartie on "Hard Knocks," talking about his kids, and taking a lot longer to name them than, say, I would need:
He has four different three-year-olds!
And just when I didn't think "Hard Knocks" could get any better- the Shakeweights showed up.
There's a new movie coming out this weekend called "Vampires Suck," and it's another of those terrible, laugh-free parodies, this time of "Twilight." I just saw a commercial for it, and it includes critical blurbs from (I'm not kidding) "Hugh Jass," "Ivana Tinkle" and "Oliver Klozoffe."
Like the movie wasn't hackish enough as it is, the commercials have to resort to plagiarizing "Simpsons" episodes from 1990? Whoever approved of this needs to take a long hard look at their life and what brought them to this point.
CNN tells the story and then interviews the demented nut behind it, Pam Geller:
Pam Geller's position on Islam: I have no problem with Muslims, as long as they don't practice Islam or identify as Muslim. And she says "we have no problem with mosques," while she has led protests against the construction of mosques all over the country. What an evil, dishonest shrew.
Chris Hayes with more on the "crank workshop":
About time a backlash emerged against the August baseball ritual that makes no sense and almost no fan totally understands.
She's like all idiots across the political system who believe that the First Amendment guarantees freedom from being criticized. She said a terrible thing. People (rightly) criticized her. Clearly, her rights have been violated.
Dr. Laura's long been one of the most vile people in American life and I'll be overjoyed if I never hear her voice again.
And of course, America's stupidest ex-governor has weighed in, on Dr. Laura's side:
"Dr.Laura:don't retreat...reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence"isn't American,not fair")... Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice,America!"Oh, where to start? It's great that someone who aspires to be president 1) doesn't know how to spell 2) doesn't know what the First Amendment is and 3) is full-throatedly defending someone who used the n-word a half-dozen times. What would "reloading" entail for Dr. Laura? Saying "nigger" 12 times?
The always-great Kevin Pollak Chat Show welcomes its best guest ever: Neil Patrick Harris
As seen on Noah's blog earlier this week, last Friday we took him to his first baseball game, a minor-league affair last Friday in Camden, N.J. between Atlantic League clubs the Camden Riversharks and the Brideport Bombers.
It was a fun experience, although the Riversharks don't have quite the madcap spirit of my beloved St. Paul Saints- no pig on hand, no tuba sitting in for the organist, and no perpetually wise-cracking PA announcer. I'm telling you, someone from the Veeck family should buy every minor league team.
Another thing that struck me- the road team, the Bridgeport Bluefish, had a whole bunch of ex-major leaguers that I remembered, and Camden didn't have any, with the exception of their manager, ex-Phillie Von Hayes. Players on the team included Tike Redman, Josh Phelps, Hiram Bocachica and Adam Greenberg If the latter's name sounds familiar, it's because the ex-Cub is a real-life Moonlight Graham: In his lone major league plate appearance in 2005, Greenberg was hit in the head with a pitch and never made it back to the bigs again.
I've always rooted for him to get another shot at the majors. And now that the Texas Rangers are actually owned by a guy named Greenberg, maybe he will.
The iconic movie review show aired its final episode this past weekend, and I'm going to miss it. Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott both did a wonderful job the last year, and the finale was a great tribute to the 35-year history of the show.
Peter Beinart on the failures of both the Democrats and Republicans on the Park 51 project:
So please, no more talk about those idealistic neoconservatives who are willing to expend blood and treasure so Afghans and Iraqis can live free. People in Basra and Kandahar had better hope that America’s counterinsurgency warriors create a society in which they can practice their religion free of intimidation and insult. Because it’s now clear they can’t do so on the lower tip of the island of Manhattan.
I guess it's good to have him back. But I renew my prediction that whatever happens, it's going to end badly. And after he's gone, it'll be nice to have a quarterback who doesn't have to be talked into playing on August 17.
I'm just trying to imagine the reaction if Donovan McNabb tried to pull this off.
In light of my oh-so-brief interview yesterday, it's the aforementioned clip from "The Insider" (starting at around the 1:30 mark and for the 90 seconds after that):
And no, I'm not implying that ABC's "incompetent little fingers [don't] have the requisite skill to edit me."
This Roger Simon column is a masterpiece of passive-aggressive snark- aimed squarely at the shallow bullshit of his own publication, Politico. After all, who cares about the constitution, or the right thing to do, if it doesn't poll well? Best part:
A candidate says, as Bobby Kennedy did, “Some men look at things the way they are and ask why? I dream of things that are not and ask why not?”
A president says: “What do the polls say?”
Joe Klein on "The Soft Bigotry of Soft Bigotry":
Shame on all those Republicans salivating over President Obama's support for the Cordoba Islamic Center, which is to be built several blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. Despite all the high-minded words about "sensitivity" for the families of the victims, this is slimeball politics, pure and simple, except for when it descends into outright religious bigotry--which seems to be what happens every time Newt Gingrich opens his mouth. Does that demented, anger-infused doofus actually believe that putting the mosque near Ground Zero is the equivalent of putting a swastika next to the Holocaust Museum? Does he really want to slander the tens of thousands of hard-working, freedom-loving, fiercely entrepreneurial Muslims living in this country? I mean, what a jerk.
Noah's been all over the place in the last two weeks, and he's blogging about it.
Here's my appearance today on 6ABC- from the :22 mark to around the :30.
It was a 20 minute interview and that's all they used, but I appreciate it nonetheless. I'm not going to go all Christopher Plummer-as-Mike Wallace in "The Insider"- "YOU CUT THE GUTS OUT OF WHAT I SAID!"
Salon examines how the "Ground Zero Mosque" story came to be- and surprise, surprise- it can just about all be attributed to the noxious, perpetually lying, lunatic Muslim-hating blogger Pam Geller. With an assist from the equally loathsome Andrea Peyser, of course.
Geller, incidentally, seems to have made up the "Mosque will open on 9/11/2011" part out of whole cloth. But don't worry- about 40 percent of the country believes it anyway.
This is what conservatism has come to in the age of Obama: "I believe in freedom of religion, but..."
Here's some other things that are two blocks away from Ground Zero.
A WIP caller on Sunday got into a tizzy because the Eagles' Riley Cooper, and some other current NFL players, have long hair- so long, in fact, that you can't even see the names on their jerseys!
This is clearly a major problem because... well, I'm not sure why. I'm not going to have any trouble knowing who Riley Cooper is, mostly because he's the only wide receiver on the Eagles with long blond hair. Similarly, covered name or not, I've never had any trouble telling which guy on the Steelers is Troy Polamalu. When the Eagles sign another white wide receiver with long blond hair, maybe this will become an issue. But until then...
A Mike Missanelli caller today delivered a long, belabored analogy that compared the Eagles' upcoming season to something related to Omar from "The Wire"- but then he concluded by referring to Reynaldo, who played stickup artist Omar's male life partner in the fourth and fifth seasons, as "Omar's buddy."
This was extremely hilarious to me from some reason- is it actually possible that someone watched all five seasons of "The Wire," followed it closely enough to remember specific quotes, but somehow didn't catch on to the fact that Omar was gay, and Reynaldo was his lover? Apparently they were just really, really good friends, and roommates, who slept in the same bed and fled to the islands together.
News Item: "Life and Times of Tim" un-canceled by HBO
The AV Club's Nathan Rabin visits the Juggalo convention, which seems to have treated Tila Tequila even worse than Shawne Merriman did:
I had expected the worst from Tequila’s performance. She somehow managed to deliver something even more soul-crushingly banal and artificial, a heavily Auto-Tuned blast of headache-inducing dancefloor cacophony that appeared to be lip-synced. Tequila ducked behind an ever-increasing ring of security guards as the audience hurled shit at her in all directions, perhaps literally: Rumors abounded that actual human feces was being shot angrily in Tequila’s direction... I was torn between my natural horror at seeing a tiny, solitary woman being abused by a massive, enraged crowd and my not wholly insupportable belief that Tequila may in fact, be the worst woman in the world.If only Hunter S. Thompson had lived to attend an Insane Clown Posse convention...
I was interviewed earlier today by 6ABC here in Philly about hot gadgets for fall; it's supposed to air between 5 and 6:30 today. I'll be sure to post video when it's available.
John Cole, on how Obama had a better year than you think:
If George Bush had had the kind of legislative session Obama and the Democrats just had, the EPA would have been abolished, it would be illegal to not drill for oil everywhere it was located, capital gains and the “death tax” would be completely abolished, social security would have been privatized, medicare and medicaid would be abolished and we would all have personal health savings accounts, and the department of education would be simply in business to hand out vouchers to white kids in urban areas. The base of the GOP wouldn’t be whining and moaning that they hadn’t gotten around to outlawing homosexuality and that abortion is still legal in some cases so Bush is just a miserable failure and they are just too damned depressed to manage to whip up any enthusiasm to go to the polls.
Christ people. Health care is now a right. I know, I know. We didn’t get to punish insurance companies and tell off the Republicans while we did it. I give up.
I review "The Other Guys" on Philly.com.
I think I need to order this and wear it to the Hold Steady's Philly show in October. I was planning on just a Twins jersey.
The Twins' Kevin Slowey had a no-hitter through seven innings Sunday, but was pulled from the game by manager Ron Gardenhire because he has been having elbow trouble and was on a pitch count. Sucks for him, but I understand the decision- he's needed for the rest of the year. Anyway, the team won the game and is now three games ahead of the second-place White Sox.
Yes, it's the first-ever iPad chair.
Thoughts on a few movies I've seen in recent weeks, with full reviews in varying degrees of soon being published. All but "Other Guys" (last week) open today:
"The Other Guys": Will Ferrell's best movie in quite awhile and his best Adam McKay collaboration since "Anchorman," but the real story is Mark Wahlberg, doing comedy and absolutely killing. There's a twist involving Derek Jeter that Yankee-haters will love, as will Phillies fans- in the movie's universe, the Yankees lost the 2009 World Series in seven games. About five times funnier than "Cop Out," and this time Tracy Morgan's only in it for a three-second non-speaking role.
My only beef is that the villain (Steve Coogan) is given nothing funny to do, and the film's semi-subtle anti-Wall Street message breaks through in the closing credits with a series of graphs about TARP and bailouts that is totally out of place with the raunchy comedy we just watched. I'm half-convinced they switched the reels, and the closing credits of Michael Moore's next film will have Will Ferrell fart bloopers. (Full review to come this weekend.)
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World": I admired this movie more than I loved it. Outstanding creativity, and a great look, and a pretty strong top-to-bottom cast. But it was just a little too cute and a little too twee, and Michael Cera, despite having played four different parts that I'll cherish for the rest of my life, really needs to come up with a new schtick that isn't the same performance he's given every other time. Not to mention, "Kick Ass" was better. (I haven't read the graphic novel; in fact, I've never read any graphic novel. Full review to come next week.)
"Eat Pray Love:": Or, "Whine Whine Whine." Perhaps no movie in history has been less in my wheelhouse than this, the Julia Roberts-starring adaptation of a narcissist's self-help memoir about her yearlong quest to feel better about her divorce by taking a trip around the world (don't most newly-divorced people worry about financial ruin?)
The film is about a woman trying to move mountains to make herself happy, and the singular quest of every other character in the movie is to serve her in that quest. Director Ryan Murphy co-created "Glee," which I love, but subtlety isn't his strong suit. Come to think of it, neither is directing.
The second most-loathsome scene in the movie? A segment in Italy in which Roberts and her also-skinny friend fret that they're gaining too much weight from eating pizza and pasta and spend a five-minute montage struggling to put jeans on. We're just supposed to not believe our lying eyes that BOTH OF THEM ARE STILL VERY VERY SKINNY.
The most-loathsome? When Roberts is in Indonesia and she's informed that because of the recent terrorist attack in Bali, tourism is way down and therefore the price of the glorious apartment she's looking at has dropped significantly. Well, good thing for that, huh!
"The Expendables": Not quite a pure nostalgia exercise the way Stallone's last "Rocky" film was, "The Expendables" is a delightfully old-school, '80s-style action blowout, in which everything from the acting to the action is hilariously over the top. It's the closest a real movie has ever gotten to "Seinfeld"'s "Death Blow."
Also earning bonus points- there's next to no politics, and it doesn't make the mistake of taking itself too seriously. "Salt" bothered me because its plot was ridiculous, but it had no sense of humor about itself; not the case here.
A lot of stuff gets blown up real, real good- and the fight scenes are a delight, owing lots to pro wrestling. A whole lot of body slams and suplexes. And it's great to see Rocky and Ivan Drago together again, even though Dolph Lundgren at this point barely even looks human.
Why no role for Steven Seagal? I'm guessing it's the same explanation as why Ty Cobb wasn't in "Field of Dreams"- "none of us could stand the son of a bitch when we were alive, so we told him to stick it!"
Here's my Dealerscope report from the grand opening of a new hhgregg near King of Prussia, including an interview with the CEO.
A pretty encouraging graph. And as Andrew Sullivan's readers pointed out, it sort of looks like a penis.
If someone in say, 1994, had told you that in 2010, U.S. Senator Al Franken would visit Vikings training camp while the team waited to hear whether Vikings quarterback Brett Favre would show up, would you have believed them for a second?
Ayn Rand comes to the playground, thanks to McSweeney's.
And he's not an anchor baby or a "terror baby," either.
No, he hasn't gotten religion. But he has denounced smoking and drinking, something I never thought I'd see him do:
Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Laura! No, she doesn't just hate the gays anymore. In the linked rant, she says the following:
- The N-word (multiple times.)
- If you're black and offended by white people calling you the n-word, you're "oversensitive."
- The n-word's not a problem, because "black comedians on HBO" use it.
- If you don't want to get hassled, "don't marry outside your race."
- Now that Obama is president, black people have nothing more to complain about, ever.
This isn't appreciably different from the sort of stuff Hannity says every night, by the way.
I watched the Twins beat the White Sox last night on MLB Network, hitting five homers in the process, to take sole possession of first place in the AL Central. And I realized- I really love this team. They have a lineup that, barring injuries and occasional slumps, has literally no weak spots. They finally have a good third baseman whose name isn't Nick Punto. And Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey look to finally have their heads on straight.
I still hate the Ramos-for-Capps trade, the bullpen is still questionable, and I worry that they don't have the rotation strength to win a short playoff series. But I have a better feeling about this Twins team than I have in quite some time.
I was rooting for Margaret Anderson-Kelliher to win the Democratic nomination for Minnesota governor, but I guess I'm okay with Mark Dayton winning. The DFL tends to lose statewide races when they go with retreads, and win when they nominate new faces (i.e., the two current senators, Klobuchar and Franken.)
Anybody but that nut Tom Emmer. One Michele Bachmann in elected office is enough, thanks.
When I first heard about this, I misunderstood- I thought the whole thing had occurred when the plane was still in the air, and that Slater had made his escape by parachuting out, D.B. Cooper-style. That would've been AWESOME- but the real story is much less fun.
It's really just a guy who went apeshit and ran away from his job. I've had at least three co-workers do that in my life, and none of them got movie deals.
In a fair and just world, the Esquire profile would mean the end of Newt Gingrich's presidential ambitions. And you thought Guiliani was a scoundrel? Imagine if he'd dumped a first wife with cancer and a second wife with MS, the latter of which while he playing a leading role in the blowjob-derived impeachment of the president?
A lot of winners might be running for the GOP nod in '12- Newt, Palin, Haley "Boss Hogg" Barbour... how bad is it when Mitt Romney might be the least-loathsome person in the race?
Continuing the chain of imaginary offensiveness to stereotypes, I plan to open a Babies R Us next to the gay bar next to the mosque next to Ground Zero. Next to the Babies R Us I will open a pornographic bookstore, and next to that I will open a police station. Next to the police station I will open a hip-hop recording studio, and next to that I will open an Applebees. Next to the Applebees I will open a TGI Fridays (those guys HATE each other) and next to the TGI Fridays I will open a methodone clinic. Next to the methodone clinic I will open a crack house, and finally, next to that, I will open a Catholic church adjoining a daycare center for attractive boys, adjacent to which i will just blow up whatever’s there so I can erect a memorial, and next to that memorial I will open a community center dedicated to a locally inconvenient ethnicity that I hired to blow up the original structure on the memorial site. Next to that I’m just going to put some condos.If the people behind it weren't operating in obvious and tremendous bad faith, I'd be all for the gay bar next to the mosque that's not next to Ground Zero.
It's "The Royal Tenenbaums," reenacted with Legos! Wes Anderson's bound to make an all-Lego movie before the end of his career.
Stewart, now beard-free, on the "No Muslims anywhere" right:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Municipal Land-Use Hearing Update|
Go through those quotes and change "mosque" to "synagogue," and "Muslim" to "Jew," and see how that sounds.
News Item: Fans fed up with new season of "Entourage"
Um, why? The show's been near-unwatchable for about four years; I'm not exactly certain what's so different this year. But I must say again that the AV Club's comments about the show, especially when Sasha Grey is in the episode, are much funnier than the show's ever been. My favorite comment last week was that Turtle's admission that he'd never before seen completely shaved female genitalia was the most unrealistic thing that has ever happened on "Entourage."
My review of "Dinner For Schmucks" is online at Philly.com.
David Frum commenter "Eugene Debs," on whether Obama is a socialist (and someone named Eugene Debs would know):
In other words: while Obama does not act like a socialist now, with a big Democratic majority and in the full flush of his mandate, he might act like one later, when he’s weaker. Or maybe not. Maybe the transition is so precise and slow that Obama won’t act like a socialist at all, and leave that to subsequent Democratic presidents and congressional majorities. So when Obama rejects his party’s left and takes the most incremental available path on universal health care – that confirms his socialism. When he declines to temporarily nationalize the banks – that proves it too. And when he does temporarily nationalize the auto companies—that also proves it! Omitting real socialists to key positions in his administration – all part of the plan.
So, Obama’s scheme is a stealthy one, and it will lead not to a sudden explosion of socialism, but to an “incremental” “transitional program.”
A very funny commercial:
My favorite New Yorker cartoon ever, for 2010.
Rage would be beside the point for the same reason. Instead, I am badly oppressed by a gnawing sense of waste. I had real plans for my next decade and felt I’d worked hard enough to earn it. Will I really not live to see my children married? To watch the World Trade Center rise again? To read—if not indeed write—the obituaries of elderly villains like Henry Kissinger and Joseph Ratzinger?I must admit that was my first though when I heard he was sick- Hitch better live long enough to write a nasty anti-obit of Kissinger.
A nifty list of the etymologies of how certain genres of music were named. I'm still wondering where "crunk" originated.
Steve Rushin, fresh off a new novel, is back writing a weekly column for SI's website. This week's is on everyone's favorite topic- stadium urinals!
Stewart on fire:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill|
News Item: California judge strikes down Proposition 8
I'm not the first to say this, but those screaming about same-sex marriage these days are going to be judged very harshly by history.
Funny that aside from that whole prescription drug thing, Brett Favre has managed, in a 20-year career, to get virtually every sports fan in the world to hate him, without the benefit of a sex scandal and/or steroids. Just evil, evil indecisiveness.
That is, until today, when Deadspin published some lurid details about certain picture messages Favre allegedly sent to sports personality Jenn Sterger. Between this and "That's it," if I were Brett I'd never send a text message ever again.
How will this affect things? Probably not at all. But Deadspin's ethics on the matter are quite questionable- it looks to me, from Daulerio's description, that Sterger was an anonymous source and he essentially burned her.
First we find out the best Twins pitcher in my lifetime (Johan Santana), like the best hitter (Kirby Puckett) has been accused (though not convicted) of sexual assault. Now it turns out both the best Vikings QB of my lifetime (Favre) and the worst (Sean Salisbury) have a similar hobby.
A pet peeve from the opening days of training camp- remember when a player being "carted off the field" meant automatic bad news, when it was synonymous with "season-ending injury"? Now, it seems like every day some player (already, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin) has been carted off, only it turns out he'll be fine.
I reminds me of the World Cup, where they brought out the stretcher for every injury, no matter how minor. Then the guy would just roll off and walk away .
Another reason to love the Twins' new third baseman.
First they pretend to get along, then they (really) fight:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
News Item: Google Wave discontinued
He's going to play. I think we all know that. He'll either change his mind next week, or in October when they're 2-4. It'll be one or the other.
My "Inception" review is online at Philly.com.
Colbert brings it:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|The Word - Ownership Society|
What a great idea. Why didn't they think of this in, say, 1985?
From a Slate story about a camp for transgender kids that was recently visited by Johnny Weir:
The original version of this piece said that Johnny Weir is openly gay. He is not.Oops!
I've sad it before, but Weir seems to be doing everything he can possibly do to give people the impression that he's gay, without using the words "I'm gay." Deadspin's "Today In Euphemizing Johnny Weir's Gayness" hasn't yet weighed in on it.
ALOTT5MA's Isaac Spaceman, answering that ludicrous Slate question about why "Mad Men" gets so much critical praise and "True Blood" doesn't:
Let me describe one scene from last night's True Blood: Sookie, a young telepathic muse/waitress lies comatose in a hospital bed. She is surrounded by her loved ones: her dim brother; a vampire boyfriend who got confused and sucked out all of her blood; a werewolf; a tough-guy short-order cook in halfhearted drag; and a woman who a few weeks ago was hypnotized by a confusingly female minotaur into polyamorous cannibalism. One friend is absent because he is busy turning into a dog to rescue his brother, who also turns into dogs, from his job, which is dog fighting; her other suitor also is missing because he's a viking secretly carrying out a millenium-old blood feud, the present step of which involves playing best man in a coerced royal vampire wedding held in a torture-chamber basement and officiated by a veteran of the Spanish Inquisition. Sookie awakens and screams, because they are all from the same town, but nobody has the same accent. And also because her name is Sookie.[Applause]
Noah's newest blog post- featuring exclusive rolling-over video- is online here.
When I was a freshman in college at Brandeis, the commencement speaker was Helmut Kohl, then the Chancellor of Germany and the man who had presided over the reunification of that country a few years earlier.
As usual, some objected to the choice of speakers- specifically someone who wrote in an op-ed in the college paper. Was it really wise, this letter asked, to have a commencement speaker speaking German, when so many bubbes and zeddes of graduates in the audience were probably Holocaust survivors, and had traumatic associations with that language?
The school ignored this and let Kohl speak as scheduled. If they considered the request at all, they likely concluded that Helmut Kohl isn't a Nazi, probably the complete opposite of one in fact, and the school decided it was wise not to cave to the irrational prejudices of people's grandparents.
The Anti-Defamation League has taken the opposite tack. In a decision that can only be called, well, pro-defamation, the ADL has sided with the right-wing cranks opposing the building of a mosque and community center a few blocks away from the former World Trade Center site.
The ADL's statement is full of contradictions- it decries the bigotry of those opposed to the mosque, while fully endorsing the position of the bigots. And make no mistake- the opposition to the mosque is based on bigotry and absolutely nothing else. It is also full of lies- the mosque is NOT scheduled to "open on Sept. 11," and most of the "connections of terrorism" the Cordoba Initiative has are of the knows-someone-who-knows-someone-whose-cousin-has-the-same-name-as-someone-on-a-watchlist variety. And it's not "at" Ground Zero- it's two blocks away, as are numerous churches, bars, restaurants and even a strip club.
Here's the worst part of Foxman's statement:
Asked why the opposition of the families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions.Bullshit. No one is entitled to bigotry, much less to have it validated by public policy. By that rationale, if a black person robbed your store or raped your sister, it's perfectly within reason for you to hate all blacks forever. The ADL says so.
“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”
No one should be allowed to make a statement like that and remain head of an organization called the Anti-Defamation League.
Nate Silver on what he doesn't like to talk about:
There are three topics in the American political discourse that trigger something of a Pavlovian response for me: these are Israel, race and media bias. When a story in one of these subject areas creeps to the top of my Twitter feed, I'm pretty much ready to shut the Internet off, go out for a long walk, and call it a day. Subjects like these are prone to hyperbole and hysteria, and it may be next to impossible to have a rational political conversation until the news cycle has run its course.
In discussing last night's "Entourage," the AV Club comment brigade would clearly rather discuss the porn career of guest star Sasha Grey than the episode itself. Don't blame them; the show's gone so far off the rails I'd rather talk about anything else too.