Thursday, July 31, 2008

torts, estoppel, actionable item

So Cadwalader, someone, and someone-else, LLP laid off a bunch of its capital markets lawyers.
Surprise! The service industry that supports a deflating bubble deflates to some degree as well. Personally, I couldn't give a bag of dicks (TM Chris Cooley) about this--a bunch of rich guys will be marginally less rich for a little while until they find a new job doing something fairly similar at a still exorbitant if slightly lower salary. But I know our audience is about 82% lawyers so I wanted to throw you all a bone.

"Big firms never lay off!"
"What a scandal!"
"How can they ever hope to recruit associates competitively in the future!"
"I thought my conservative professional degree guaranteed me job security; if these guys can get laid off, so can I!"

Discuss.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monkey hate technology, robot hate the monkey

Monkey versus robot. A classic bit of low-budget, absurdist delight. heaven only knows how wade embeds video in the blog, so you'll have to click on it. oh, and Andy Samburg is the Monkey.

Zombie Casting: Dark Knight edition

I went to see The Dark Knight last night. It is pretty good. Unfortunately, when a plot attempts to cram two full story arcs into one movie, it means that, much like Siamese twins, one is usually badly underdeveloped. That was Harvey Dent. But that's not what I come to talk about; I come to talk about zombie casting.

As those of you who have followed me from my frigid, Canadian blogging origins know, this isn't a new idea for me. I have long contended that the characters a certain actor has played can and do influence the audiences perception of the current character we are watching. I believe it is a by-product of relatively post-modern audience. but I digress.

Dark Knight features Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman. By day, Wayne is suave, muscular, luxuriously dressed, and steeped in the power of wealth. By night, he is an alarmingly violent alter ego that is anathema to his public persona. This is the same character that Bale played in the movie adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's "American Psycho." In the current iteration, we are meant to understand that there is an element of heroism to the alter-ego (batman is a superhero after all), but because these are the Frank Miller adaptations, we are also meant to see Batman as volatile, emotionally scarring, and kind of menacing. This is a beautiful deployment of zombie casting. Bale's previous role in this physique (I will ignore The Machinist because he was almost unrecognizable) serves to heighten the tension inherent in his character and aids the audience's suspension of disbelief.

Unfortunately, the zombie casting of Aaron Eckhart does the exact opposite. In Dark Knight, Eckhart plays Harvey Dent, the incorruptible, "white knight" District Attorney. Some other things happen that I won't go into in the interest of avoiding spoilers, but for any of those to be believable, we must believe that Harvey is the greatest and purest of public servants. Unfortunately, Eckhart's history of playing superficially kind and charming characters with a deep and alarming venality just below the surface undermines this construction. In both Thank You For Smoking, and In The Company of Men, Eckhart plays a golden boy whose is actually a complete jerk. As an audience member, I was never able to forget this, constantly believing that his smile was hiding a sneer. It is a shame, because Bale is deployed so beautifully, it was a shame to see Eckhart used so poorly (and his plot be so poor to boot).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bonne Chance

Young lawyers in New York, Illinois, California, and several other states are beginning the bar exam this morning. We would like to wish everybody taking the bar exam the best of luck! Be sure to watch something mindless and fun on tv tonight to rest your brain for a while. One year ago at this time, I watched The Flight of the Conchords and, since Season 2 isn't yet on the air, I guess you'll just have to go back and re-watch these classic videos:


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Say "Random," Say "Obscure"


Straight Cash Homey is a surprisingly entertaining photoblog of people wearing jerseys of 'random' professional athletes. I tend to think that the word 'random' is ridiculously overused - in this instance, a more appropriate word to use would be "obscure" or "long-retired." But the general idea is that there is really no reason why an adult should be wearing an Andre Rison Kansas City Chiefs jersey in public, and I can't really argue with that.


Thanks to Bend It Like Assclown for the link.

Don't Act Like You're Not Impressed

The BBC's promotional spots for the Olympic games are cool little animations inspired by the ancient Chinese myth "Journey to the West." Pretty cool stuff.

Americana

I recently finish Don DeLillo's Americana.
When 8yearoldsdude wrote last week about novelists who "never sat right with me," "felt a bit showy" and were "modern without being meaningful," I suspect he was referring to passages such as this one:

Woman: "What are his politics?"
Man: "Slightly to the left of God."
Woman: "That would make him a Taft Republican."
Man: "Which Taft?"
Woman: "Which God?"


I would agree with 8yearoldsdude that passages such as this one are a bit showy. All but the very best DeLillo novels feel like collections of dazzling set pieces strung together by small doses of plot. If I had to guess, he does that at least in part to stress the disjointedness of life in contemporary America, or something to that effect. 8yearoldsdude's is a valid criticism of DeLillo and his writing style, but I always consider reading his novels to be time well-spent.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Spanish Pete Maravich?

Ricky Rubio is a 17 year-old basketball prodigy, who is drawing comparisons to Magic Johnson and (more realistically) Pete Maravich. He is expected to be the seventh man on defending World Champion Spain's Olympic team this summer. Their starting guards are Jose Calderon and Juan Carlos Navarro, and their sixth man is future NBA star Rudy Fernandez, but Rubio is expected to be a bit of an X factor coming off of their bench.

Its entirely possible that Rubio has already reached his peak, or that, once the novelty of his youth and unconventional style wear off, he will be regarded as just a European White Chocolate. But if there is one type of player the NBA needs right now, its a cocky, charismatic point guard who can start fast breaks by himself, throw alley-oop passes from his hip, half-court bounce passes on the run, and dribble like he has the ball on a string. Whether or not he's a great player, he will be fun to watch, and that's really the reason why we started watching the NBA in the first place.




More Ricky Rubio highlights can be found here and here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"A Song No Plot Could Contain"

At this point I am officially beating a dead horse, but when Anthony Lane referred to 'Waterloo' as "a song no plot could contain," he wasn't kidding. I love how subtle of a pun that was . . . Anthony Lane is the best. Okay, I'll stop gushing. Here's the song:

And, while we're at it, here is the title track. Or, in keeping with the spirit of the movie, "here is the title track!"

So . . .

I'm not proud to admit this, but Anthony Lane's guilty pleasure-review of Mamma Mia! inspired (if that's the right word) me to look up some old ABBA songs on YouTube last night. This was a mistake, because they will not be stuck in my head for at least the next six weeks.

When I was a sophomore in college, a group called the A*Teens were briefly popular. Their tracks sounded a little too pitch-corrected and, as far as I could tell, their only songs were covers of ABBA's greatest hits, which doomed them to a short career, but ABBA songs are catchy, and the A*Teens were no worse than the other stuff that Top 40 radio was playing in the fall of 1999.

Having said all of that, what really made the A*Teens popular were their music videos. And by 'their music videos,' what I really mean is the fact that their lead singer was really, really hot. Three minutes and forty-seven seconds into "Dancing Queen," she gives the camera a look that no teenager should know how to make:


Almost ten years later, it still gives me a thrill. And, yes, Biff von Bert still dances like that.

The video for Mamma Mia is another favorite of mine. I've always felt that, when you can dance well enough to make fluorescent lightbulbs explode and get bowtied Vincent Scully-types out onto the dance floor, you probably deserve to be in music videos. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Anthony Lane Makes It Rain On Dem Hoes

The New Yorker's Anthony Lane reviews the movie adaptation of "Mamma Mia!"

The exclamation mark is actually in the title of the movie, but I was actually that excited to read his review. Its one of his best - up there with his essays on Sex and the City, Star Wars: Episode 3, and The Laws of Attraction.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

old scandal, I admit. but reading the slate review of James Wood's new book, I came across his review of White Teeth . In that review in 2000, Wood gives the finger to "big" novelists like DeLillo, Wolfe, Franzen, etc. Those guys get a lot of props, and frankly it never sat right with me. The novels always feel a bit showy. They are modern without being meaningful. They are self-consciously complex. This style is mimicked, ironically, in the way they are deployed at the cocktail parties of the urban and educated. Anyway, Wood coins the term "hysterical realism", which I can take or leave. but I appreciate the pushback.

To not go gently into that good new yorkerist coccoon
rage, rage, against the commodification of literature as cultural capital.
I read this last night. It is Bill Deresiewicz talking about some problems with elite education. To paraphrase the piece, "going to yale is like working at a law firm, and the whole world isn't like that, nor should it be." Like all pieces that appeal to the vanity of familiarity, it seems a lot more meaningful on first reading than on revisiting. he has essentially cobbled together a series of fairly obvious observations of educational elites and phrased them very nicely. He traffics in David Brooks' "organization kid" as well as some venerable straw men--"the sellout", "ivy-league arrogance", "the old boys club", etc. And while I think there is broad truth to all of these observations, one has to wonder whether their reiteration actually serves to speak truth to power, or just to gild the vanity of mention and regard and intellectual self-awareness that already exists. Is it a really a zinger to talk about grade inflation anymore?

You Know the Rules, and So Do I

I just found this the other day - a Kurt Vonnegut essay, from the late 1990's, on how to write with style. Certainly, few Americans have ever written with as much style as Kurt Vonnegut, who "How To Write With Style." Its a fun little essay, whose rules for writing stylishly are:

1. Find a subject you care about
2. Do not ramble, though
3. Keep it simple
4. Have guts to cut
5. Sound like yourself
6. Say what you mean
7. Pity the readers


I think this is interesting, because in Bagombo Snuff Box, Vonnegut has another sharp little essay about writing well, which offers these guidelines to its readers:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.


Just for the fun of it, here's a link to George Orwell's masterful essay "Politics and the English Language," whose six rules of good writing are:

(1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(2) Never us a long word where a short one will do.
(3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(4) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous
.

Before I go, it seems appropriate to share one last rule of style, commonly attributed to Mark Twain:

"When you catch an adjective, kill it."

The Worst Stephen Colbert Clip Of All Time

I haven't done a real "think piece" in quite some time, because, well, I've been busy. Sorry. Hopefully this video of Stephen Colbert and Wayne Brady improv-rapping about downhill skiiing on "Who's Line Is It Anyway" will help you pass the time at work tomorrow. And, hopefully, you won't lose all respect for Stephen Colbert in the process.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Watchmen!!!

Created in 1986 by writer Alan Moore and artist John Gibbons, Watchmen is almost universally regarded as the greatest comic book series ever published. It was reviewed in the New York Times; it won a Hugo Award; it popularized the 'graphic novel' format; it was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best novels since 1923 and by Entertainment Weekly as the 13th-best read of the past 25 years. After years of rumors that it was being adapted for the screen by Terry Gilliam, or Paul Greengrass, or Darren Aronofsky, it is now being made into a film by Zack Snyder, the director of 300. I didn't much care for 300, but the trailer for Watchmen looks incredibly cool.

JibJab Is Back

The '04 election doesn't seem like that long ago now, does it?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don DeLillo Is Going To Have My Legs Broken

We've been on a bit of Don DeLillo kick lately. I'm not going to turn this into a Don DeLillo blog, but hopefully some of these passages will encourage more people to go out and read his books, all of which are brilliant. Currently, I am reading Americana, Don DeLillo's first novel. This is its first paragraph:

Then we came to the end of another dull and lurid year. Lights were strung across the front of every shop. Men selling chestnuts wheeled their smoky carts. In the evenings the crowds were immense and traffic built to a tidal roar. The santas of Fifth Avenue rang their little bells with an odd sad delicacy, as if sprinkling salt on some brutally spoiled piece of meat. Music came from all the stores in jingles, chants and hosannas, and from the Salvation Army bands came the martial trumpet lament of ancient Christian legions. It was a strange sound to hear in that time and place, the smack of cymbals and high-collared drums, a suggestion that children were being scolded for a bottomless sin, and it seemed to annoy people. But the girls were lovely and undismayed, shopping in every mad store, striding through those magnetic twilights like drum majorettes, tall and pink, bright packages cradled to their tender breasts. The blind man's German shepherd slept through it all.


I'm amazed - the first paragraph of the man's first novel. Its where the title of Joshua Ferris' Then We Came To The End comes from, and its just great writing.

House of Cards

Here at CSD headquarters we are all digging the new Radiohead music video, "House of Cards."

This video, on the making of House of Cards, is as interesting as the music video itself.Talk about it at Videocracy

I Did Not See That One Coming, Part II

I don't know how I feel about Feist teaching the Sesame Street kids how to count to four.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Michael Ian Black's New Book


Is titled My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Brain All Over Your Face. You know you want it.

The New Classics - Movies

Entertainment Weekly's companion piece to its list of the 100 best reads of the past 25 years. What do you think of this list?

The movies in boldface are the ones I've seen. What are your ten favorite movies of the past 25 years? Mine (as well as some other scattered thoughts) are below:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)

5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. GoodFellas (1990)

14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)

20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)

23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)

27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)

36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)

44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)

56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)

64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)

68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)

74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)

77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)

80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)

86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)


-My top ten: (1) Goodfellas, (2) Almost Famous, (3) Groundhog Day, (4) Pulp Fiction, (5) Lost in Translation, (6) The Big Lebowski, (7) Bullets Over Broadway, (8) Mystic River, (9) Back to the Future, (10) No Country For Old Men

-The next ten, in no particular order: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Saving Private Ryan, This is Spinal Tap, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Kill Bill vol. 1 and Kill Bill vol. 2 (counted as a one movie), Boogie Nights, Bull Durham, Dark City, Hannah and Her Sisters, Adaptation

-You know you are a Woody Allen nerd when you own Hannah and Her Sisters in more than one format. I am one such nerd. Its a great movie, and one of my all-time favorites, but even I would not rank it among the ten best movies of the past 25 years. It has some classic one-liners, winning supporting performances and one of the all-time great movie soundtracks, but relative to some of Allen's other films it just feels like a minor work. Crimes and Misdemeanors . . . now there's a movie I can get behind as being one of the best movies of the past quarter-century.

-Overrated: Jerry Maguire, Big, Risky Business, Scream, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Natural Born Killers

-Really, really overrated: Napoleon Dynamite, Menace II Society

-Sorely missing from the list: Almost Famous, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Kicking and Screaming, The Big Lebowski, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Kill Bill, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation

-The Lion King, The Incredibles and Ratatouille are three of the best movies of my lifetime. The fact that they are animated doesn't matter one bit.

-Are there two more underrated great movies than Dark City and Lost in Translation? I feel as if nobody discusses these movies when they are discussing the best movies of all-time . . . Almost Famous is 50 times the movie that Jerry Maguire is; the only reason Jerry Maguire made this list was because of Tom Cruise.

-Forrest Gump and Rain Man really haven't aged very well, have they?

Feelin' A Little Riley Today

Don't go jumping to conclusions merely because I live in the West Village, wear unscuffed construction worker boots with jean shorts and hum along to Rilo Kiley's "I Never" on the A train . . .

Um, here's a bitchin' bootleg of Jenny Lewis and the rest of Rilo Kiley singing "I Never" at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Ex-Girlfriend Don't Want to Speak To You No More, New European Boyfriend Reports

Via The Onion.

"The probable Mediterranean sex god concluded the statement by saying "ciao," after which it can be assumed he returned to his previous task of hand-feeding your ex-girlfriend slices of juicy mango while she reclined naked in a hammock, finally free from the burden of dating you.

You have also been able to deduce, without the aid of visual confirmation, that Norsten's new European boyfriend was dressed in flowing white linen pants and rustic kidskin loafers, and is, at this very moment, slowly consuming a perfectly ripened orange."

Monday, July 14, 2008

It Never Gets Old

You don't really need a good reason to post a Statler and Waldorf video.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"It Could Be The Best Game of the Year"

In the spring of 1984, the University of North Carolina played the University of Maryland in what could have been the best college basketball game of the year, or, indeed, of the decade. The University of North Carolina sported a lineup of four future NBA players (Brad Dougherty, Kenny Smith, and Sam Perkins) and one future ACC head coach (Matt Doherty), led by Michael Jordan, who was already well on his way to becoming the greatest basketball player of all time. The University of Maryland, though less star-studded, was led by Len Bias, one of the great do-it-all forwards in college basketball history, whose life ended tragically two years later, before he ever had a chance to play in the NBA.

One year later, Michael Jordan won the NBA's rookie of the year award after averaging 28.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Chicago Bulls. That same year, Len Bias averaged 23 points and 7 rebounds to lead the Maryland Terrapins to a victory over the University of North Carolina, knocking the Tar Heels from prominence in the ACC for almost a decade, in a game best-remembered for Bias' jump shot-steal-reverse dunk sequence, which is still considered to be among the greatest plays ever in college basketball. The video of that play is below the video of the 1984 game.

Admittedly, this is a video for basketball nerds. But there are a lot of us out there.

There's More Where That Came From

The Onion A.V. Club is on a roll this week. In addition to it bitchin' feature on Road House, these articles are also worth your time:

Review of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: If you are a dog person, this books seems as if it is pretty much a must-read.

Random Rules - Sloane Crosley:
The 'female David Sedaris' discusses what's on her iPod.

Its Not the Heat, Its the Intensity: The A.V. Club discusses 13 memorable movies set during heat waves - an interesting and surprisingly coherent idea for a column.

No Cure For Cabin Fever: A review of 16 famous films set during cold snaps, and a nice companion to the heat wave article, including two of the best movies ever made, Fargo and The Shining.

The Best Friend A Good Time Ever Had

The Onion A.V. Club's "New Cult Canon" series reviews Road House.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Names

Don DeLillo is one of this blog's favorite authors. I just finished The Names, his sixth novel, which was originally published in 1982. One passage was so clever that I just had to share it with you.


David said, "I keep reading about tribes or hordes or peoples who came sweeping out of Central Asia. What is it about Central Asia that makes us want to say that people came sweeping out of it?"
"I don't know," I said.
"Why don't we say the Macedonians came sweeping out of Europe? They did. Alexander in particular. But we don't say that. Or the Romans or the Crusaders."
"Do you think its a racist term?" Hardeman said.
"White people establish empires. Dark people came sweeping out of Central Asia."
"What about the Aryans?" Hardeman said. "We don't say the Aryans came sweeping out of Central Asia. They filtered down, they migrated or they simply arrived."
"Exactly. This is because the Aryans were light-skinned. Light -skinned people filter down. Dark people come sweeping out. The Turks came sweeping out. The Mongols. The Bactrians. They came in waves. Wave after wave."
"All right. But your original premise is that Central Asia is a place out of which people come sweeping. Now is it only dark people who come sweeping out of Cenral Asia or is it simply that Central Asia is a place out of which people of any color might come sweeping, with the exception of the Aryans? Are we talking about race, language or geography?"
"I think there's something about Central Asia that makes us want to say that people came sweeping out of it but there is also the fact that these people tend to be dark-skinned. You can't separate the two things."
"We've separated the Aryans," Hardeman said. "And what about the Huns? Certainly the Huns came sweeping out of Central Asia."
"What color were the Huns?" David said.
"They weren't light, they weren't dark."
"I should have this conversation with someone else."
"Sorry."
"I felt I'd perceived something important and interesting, all on my own, you son of a bitch."
"Well you probably did. I'm not sure of my facts really."
"Yes you are."
"Actually I am."
"Of course you are."
"But it's an interesting premise," Hardeman said.
"Fuck you."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The New Bloc Party Video

Is this what they think the future is going to look like? The song is good, and the video is a noble effort, but I sort of miss songs like "This Modern Love," "Banquet" and "Tulips."

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

important euro 08 question

After scoring the deciding goal on Germany, Fernando Torres took is few unmobbed strides to places his thumb in his mouth in some sort of public gesture.



was Torres biting his thumb at the crowd after scoring on lehman? (a la Romeo & juliet)
was he biting his thumb? (Did you see what I did there?)
was it more of a thumb-suck? (internationally offensive sign for infantilization)
If so, was it meant to be offensive to Germans?

Do Germany and Spain have national issues? Aren't they are both overcompensating with socialism for fascist pasts. shouldn't they be friends?

I need euro-gesture analysis.

What Are They New Classics?

Entertainment Weekly proposes a list of the 100 best reads of the past 25 years. We at Common Sense Dancing love lists like this.

The Road is a worthy #1 selection, and it is difficult to argue with Beloved at #3, but I would include The Remains of the Day, Rabbit At Rest, Atonement, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Corrections in my top ten. One book I would have seriously considered for my top ten, Don DeLillo's Mao II, didn't even make the list.

I was a little surprised to see that Susana Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell didn't make the list, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, or Michael Lewis' Moneyball, or Tony Horwitz's Confederates in the Attic, or Bill Bryson's "A Walk In the Woods," but then the list is heavily tilted towards fiction, so I guess that was probably to be expected.

What are your thoughts on the list? How many have you read? What would you add, and what would be in your top ten?

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)

76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)

98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great Moments In Presidential Oratory, Part 2

NY Times headline: In Medvedev, Bush Sees "A Smart Guy"

“I found him to be a smart guy who understood the issues very well.” Mr. Bush said. “You know, I’m not going to sit here and psychoanalyze the man, but I will tell you that he’s very comfortable, he’s confident, and that I believe that when he tells me something, he means it.”

Sure, President Bush, but what about his soul?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Great Moments In Presidential Oratory

"There is some who say that perhaps freedom is not universal. Maybe it's only Western people that can self-govern. Maybe it's only, you know, white-guy Methodists who are capable of self-government. I reject that notion."

- George W. Bush, London, June 16, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hellboy 2

This is one of the best movie advertisements I've seen in some time - I love how the punchline seems so predictable at first, until the real punchline comes straight out of left field.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some Enchanted Evening

You know you've been thinking about this all day. Its an outtake (not the version used in the movie) but under the circumstances it will more than suffice.

South Pacific

I saw the Broadway revival production of Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific last night, and was really blown away by how well done it was - the dancing and the sets were great, and the singing was jaw-droppingly good. I won't say too much about it, because I'm not a theater critic, and because Frank Rich's memorial day column about it was so on-point.