Saturday, August 11, 2012

I WAS A SHOE SALESMAN. NOT VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT. ONE DAY, MY WIFE SAYS TO ME, "WHY DON'T YOU TRY RUNNING FOR OFFICE? YOU KNOW, YOU TALK ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME ... WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO DO IT?"  Our friend Carrie Rickey wants to know about your favorite on-screen fictional vice presidents.  (Also: John Hoynes or Bingo Bob Russell?)

Friday, August 10, 2012

BEFORE THIS CAME INTO MY LIFE, I MISSED IT SO SO BAD: As Matt Ufford puts it, "Call Me Maybe and Chatroulette: two annoying passe phenomena that, when combined, make something truly delightful." The moment when a person goes from feeling that he or she is the butt of a joke to realizing that he or she is in on the joke is a beautiful moment, and this is brimming with those -- just count the looks of horror that break into unexpected grins.
SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES!  Grab your Wyld Stallyns gear, since Vulture is reporting that Bill & Ted 3 is ready to move forward, with Keanu and Alex Winter both willing to return and Dean Parisot (best known for Galaxy Quest) attached to direct.
MY PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE, WHAT CAN I SAY; SAY WHAT I CAN. I SAW IT BUT DIDN'T BELIEVE IT; I DIDN'T BELIEVE WHAT I SAW. ARE WE GONNA LIVE TOGETHER? TOGETHER ARE WE GONNA LIVE? Honoring today's release of Red Hook Summer, starring Cool Lester Smooth, Grierson and Leitch rank Spike Lee's 22 movies, and with Jungle Fever and He Got Game falling below the median it reminds one just how amazing (if uneven) Lee's career has been. (I still want to see the James Brown movie he wants to make.)  Meanwhile, Slate hypothesizes that the quality of a Spike Lee joint is directly proportional to the average temperature depicted in the movie.

If you have not read Leitch's recent interview with Lee, read Leitch's recent interview with Lee.
BOLT!  Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt Bolt. USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT  USWNT.
ALOTT5MA FRIDAY GRAMMAR RODEO:  Locating the center of one of this blog's many Venn diagrams of  interest, the editors of The Green Bag have worked with a Connecticut law school to compile an authoritative Pronouncing Dictionary of the Supreme Court of the United States. Next time you need to file a Daw-b…ôrt motion or argue about personal jurisdiction based on Burger King Corp. v. Roo-je-vich, you'll know how.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT, NOT THE JOB YOU HAVE: When I go to the gym, I see people wearing all kinds of clothing. Not different people wearing all kinds of clothing, but each person wearing all kinds of clothing. One woman might have Asics shoes, Lululemon pants, and a Nike top. I might (and do) wear Nike shoes, Adidas shorts, and a ratty t-shirt. Mix and (mis)match seems to be the rule, and it doesn't seem odd at all. So why are cyclists so fussy about matching? Would you just die if your Capo jersey didn't match your Castelli bibs? If your top said Garmin but your butt said Rabobank? I just don't get this.
ROCK MY ADIDAS, NEVER ROCK FILA:  Adam Yauch's will stipulates that his image, music and any art he created cannot be used for advertising.
NOT THE ONE WITH DAN VS DAVE:  While Vince McMahon tries to figure out which of Iran's three gold medal-winning wrestlers he wants to sign as his next heel superstar, the gold medal in basketball crotch shots is being awarded (no, not the other kind), and we await this afternoon's gold medal women's soccer game, this question: the modern pentathlon is "modern" in the way that "modern art" is -- it reflects a sense of what modernity represented to a past era. In this case, Baron de Coubertin's envisioning of the 19th Century skills required to be a cavalry soldier behind enemy lines -- riding an unfamiliar horse, fighting with pistol and blade, swimming, and running away.

It's 2012. Surely there's a contemporary set of disciplines we can string together with some narrative, and my first thought (as many of mine are) goes to the skills required in Back to the Future: skateboarding, running, boxing, guitar-playing, and auto racing. You can do better.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THIS IS CRAZY:  With the title of Song of the Summer being locked up for months in the biggest rout since 2003's "Crazy in Love," the folks at Vulture are willing to seek a runner-up SotS for 2012.
AND I THOUGHT THEY SMELLED BAD ON THE OUTSIDE:  The science of sleeping inside a dead tauntaun on the ice planet Hoth.  ("Using Newton's Law of Cooling, we can estimate the time it takes for the tauntaun's body temperature to reach levels detrimental to Luke's survival....")

related, from the archives: The best way to sleep inside a tauntaun.
MR AND MRS DURSLEY, OF NUMBER FOUR PRIVET DRIVE, WERE PROUD TO SAY THAT THEY WERE PERFECTLY NORMAL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH:  NPR has polled its readers to determine a list of the Top 100 Teen Novels of All Time. (Definitional issues addressed here.)
PAGING PATTY SMYTH: Scandal is in the Olympic air this morning -- doping in 50km race-walking, Spain's (predicted!) tanking in men's basketball, illegal dolphin kicks in the men's 100m breaststroke and, of course, the calls in the USA-Canada women's soccer semifinal. What's capturing your attention today?

added: The men's 400m medal ceremony from yesterday. Kirani James sings!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO COP:  Even though the fall season has yet to begin, networks are already buying pilots for Fall 2013.  I'm not sure how I feel about Pariah, a pitch NBC has bought, in which "the Mayor of San Diego appoints a rogue academic with no law enforcement background to run a task force using Freakonomics-inspired alternative methods of policing."  So, who do you cast as such a "Rogue Academic?"
THE TERM 'MILKSHAKE' WAS NOT USED UNTIL 1885, HOWEVER:  Your first image of Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.  More on the plot:
Lincoln focuses on the last four months of the president’s ’s life and the political strategizing he undertook at the close of the Civil War to ensure that slavery would be forever outlawed. “Our movie is really about a working leader who must make tough decisions and get things done in the face of overwhelming opposition,” Spielberg says.

He said the film begins with “Lincoln’s realization that the Emancipation Proclamation, the thing he is most known for, was simply a war powers act that would easily be struck down by any number of lawyers after the cessation of hostilities after the Civil War,” Spielberg says. “He needed to abolish slavery by constitutional measure — and that’s where we start.”

Among the other central characters are David Strathairn, as Lincoln’s loyal Secretary of State, William Seward; Lincoln’s sons, Tad (Dark Shadows' Gulliver McGrath) and Robert (Joseph Gordon-Levitt); his wife Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field); and “one of his most engaging and challenging adversaries, Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones), a radical member of Lincoln’s own party,” Spielberg says.
Also Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant, among other notables.

Related: From one of those "funniest answers ever given by students on exams" pages, a potential spoiler for the film's ending.
MARVELOUS:  Legendary EGOT (plus Pulitzer) winning composer Marvin Hamlisch has passed away at the age of 68.  Just listen to his "Training Camp" music from Woody Allen's Bananas and thank him for bringing Scott Joplin to the masses, and I think we can forgive him for the Barbra Streisand/Bryan Adams duet "I Finally Found Someone" and Melissa Manchester's "Through the Eyes of Love."
IT'S IMPORTANT TO GLOAT OVER GRENADA. BUT GLOATING ISN'T ENOUGH. EVEN BRAGGING ISN'T ENOUGH. IT'S EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO ASK THE QUESTION, "WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?" FOR OURSELVES, AND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: You know what my favorite part of the Olympics is? The medal ceremonies. And the more obscure the country that wins, the more novel the national anthem, the better. So, of course, NBC can't (apparently?) be bothered to show Kirani James receiving the gold medal after winning the 400M dash on behalf of Grenada -- ahem -- on behalf of "[himself], his family, the people of St. John and indeed all of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique including those in the Grenadian Diaspora as well as the Caribbean."

We will not be so neglectful. Ladies and gentlemen, please remove your caps.

Hail! Grenada, land of ours,
We pledge ourselves to thee,
Heads, hearts and hands in unity
To reach our destiny.
Ever conscious of God,
Being proud of our heritage,
May we with faith and courage
Aspire, build, advance
As one people, one family.
God bless our nation.

N.B.: If anyone can find a video of the medal ceremony, do post a link in the comments.

* * *
Addendum: Grenada got to take the afternoon off in celebration.

Monday, August 6, 2012

DESPITE APPEARING ON BROADWAY, HE STILL DOES NOT CARE ABOUT HUGH JACKMAN: I'm still not convinced we needed another revival of Glengarry Glen Ross (we had a darn fine one in 2005), but the addition of John C. McGinley to the upcoming revival (also featuring Al Pacino as Levine and Bobby Cannavale as Roma) is certainly intriguing.
LETDOWN? Really, where can the Olympics go from here? Swimming's done, most of the gymnastics are done, the 100m dash is done. Yes, we've got the majority of track and field still to come, plus the culmination of so many team tournaments, but if they had ended the Olympics after last night I'd be satisfied. (Isn't the order of the gymnastics competition completely reversed? Wouldn't it be more dramatically satisfying to build from apparatus finals, to individual all-around, and then to team?)  Three links:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

THE CRUCIBLE: In just a few hours the Mars Curiosity rover is scheduled to touch down in Gale crater. Here is a link to a collection of related resources, including the NASAtv feed, which has carried panels and explainer videos today concerning the mission. (I also tried the EU space agency feed, but found frequent interruptions and ear-splitting bursts of static.) If you haven't heard the entry and descent strategy for landing this mission, with a payload 10x heavier than than the prior rovers, you should really check it out. NASA has a short informative video narrated by (a surprisingly fuzzy) William Wheaton. (Theory here is that budget constraints prevented consideration of Nathan Fillion.) What could go wrong? Everything. But it all sounds so crazy that I can't help thinking it will work.
PARTIAL CREDIT:  There's pub quizzes, and then there's the one every Wednesday in Santa Monica which is a hub for former Jeopardy! champions.