Friday, April 5, 2013

I'VE GOT SOMETHING FOR YOUUUUUUU:  For those of us who fondly recall Chicago's Eagle Insurance ads, now you can finally learn the story of how Eagleman came to be.
"THAT" IS SOMETHING YOU DID, AND THE MONEY IS FOR SOMETHING, BUT I REQUEST THAT IF YOU PERCEIVE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN "THE MONEY" AND "THAT," YOU KEEP IT TO YOURSELF SO THAT THAT OTHERS MAY DRAW THAT CONCLUSION THEMSELVES: A review, consistent with Weiner-promulgated spoiler rules, of this week's Season X premiere of Emotion Plural Gendered Noun: Change, though possibly inevitable, may be so subtle as to be imperceptible. That frequently is as true in art as it is in real life, and may be applicable to a certain television program. In what I am authorized to acknowledge is an episode currently scheduled to air on Sunday night on AMC, a character engages in conduct (which may mean either action or inaction) that might subjectively be perceived as negating, reflective of, the impetus for, or caused by change. A sentence about fashion and style is written in conspicuously passive voice by the author of this review so that the importance of the fashion and style obliquely referred to is emphasized without attention being drawn to the reference by the spoiler police. Angrily. ("Angrily" is a word I am permitted to use in this review, but I am not permitted to say whether it refers to a character, to this reviewer, to the producer of the television program, or to reader reaction to official spoiler rules.) It is often remarked that "what you call 'love' was invented by guys like me to sell nylons," that "this show is an astronaut," and that "the next minute this show is running you over with a lawn mower," because the quotes on which those phrases are based did not come from the yet-to-air episode. Those paraphrases often are appropriate, even if barely so, to unify a few sentences fully bleached of useful information about the reviewed show. Suit, alcohol, car, identity, dubious, louche, ambition, anachronism, repressed, generational: pick six or fewer. The Television Critics' Association's bylaws require that I mention here the incoherence of the program's "next week on" promos, inviting a parallel to this review. In conclusion, if you see Vincent Kartheiser, please tell him "hashtag roundbutt."
ROBERT, ON THE OTHER HAND, LOVED ANY ROB SCHNEIDER MOVIE: Among the too numerous to mention moving tributes to Roger Ebert on the Web today, the saddest of all may be New York Magazine's roundup of 12 news organizations that reported the passing of "Robert" Ebert.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

THE BALCONY IS CLOSED:  The Chicago Sun-Times just reported that Roger Ebert has passed way. Cancer fucking sucks.

I don't quite know where to begin -- he and Pauline Kael were both absolutely formative for me in becoming a film buff, in learning how to appreciate both the entertainments I already enjoyed but to seek out and find new stuff -- it was Siskel and Ebert's hosannas that made me sure to see Hoop Dreams on the last day it played at the Ritz in Philadelphia. When he ranked House of Games as his favorite film of 1987, I knew I had to see it. His enthusiasm was real; it was not doled out promiscuously. And it mattered. I've got a pile of books compiling his reviews at home, a relic of the days before online -- the Great Movies, the yearbooks, the Hated Hated Hated compilations, all of it.

And then there's how he lived his life, with candor and clarity about the alcoholism which once gripped him, and the horrible diseases which took away his physical voice and then, ultimately, his life today. They didn't stop him. He just found other outlets, and used them with great enthusiasm.

He once wrote that "No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough." Well, no good life is too long, either, and it's a goddamn shame he didn't get to enjoy more of it.  What a loss.
HYPOTHETICALLY, OF COURSE:  Assuming you're also monitoring the account for unauthorized charges, about how long do you take to go from "oh, crap, after a busy day out-and-about I can't find [x] credit card" to requesting a new card?
TO CZECH AND SLOVAKIA AND BACK:So was the Africa map on Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? the ultimate test of physical and mental agility?  SB Nation makes a good caseHere's a video of one of the few winners.  And of course, I don't need to remind you that there's one more thing for you to do, and you know what it is--"Do It Rockapella!"
ACA-PROPRIATE: The cast of Pitch Perfect (sans Anna Kendrick, interestingly) will reunite at the MTV Movie Awards for a live performance of a "never before heard mash-up."  Rebel Wilson hosts, and other musical guests include Selena Gomez and Macklemore/Ryan Lewis, attempting to grab that 16th minute of fame.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SQUAB, CORNUCOPIA, PANTIES, NAVEL, BRAINCHILD, CRUD, SLACKS, CREVICE, AND FUDGE: Slate digs even deeper into the concept of word aversion, and notes with regards to a certain word evocative of dampness:
It’s squishy-seeming, and, to some, specifically evocative of genital regions and undergarments. These qualities are not unusual when it comes to word aversion. Many hated words refer to “slimy things, or gross things, or names for garments worn in potentially sexual areas, or anything to do with food, or suckling, or sexual overtones,” says Riggle. But other averted words are more confounding, notes Liberman. “There is a list of words that seem to have sexual connotations that are among the words that elicit this kind of reaction—moist being an obvious one,” he says. “But there are other words like luggage, and pugilist, and hardscrabble, and goose pimple, and squab, and so on, which I guess you could imagine phonic associations between those words and something sexual, but it certainly doesn’t seem obvious.”
According to Language Log's Mark Liberman: “There could very well be a viral aspect to this, where either through the media or just through real-world personal connections, the reaction to some particular word—for example, [that one regarding dampness]—spreads. But that’s the sheerest speculation.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

AND SO WE BEAT ON: I'm not going to get in the habit of reviewing credit sequences, but Game of Thrones has one that keeps you watching, if only to see the new locations pop up. And while Astopol was a nice add and the Winterfell renovations a necessary mod, the most awe-inspiring changes to the sequence were the momentary flashes that suggested the beating of wings passing under our field of vision, and the brief spark of flame. So our views of the clockwork terrain came, all along, from the back of a dragon. Really well done.
IT WILL SHOCK YOU HOW MUCH IT NEVER HAPPENED:  Extremely crowded night of television last night, what with the dragons catching, cooking, and eating their own meals, plus the zombies, plus the return of my favorite male supporting character to The Good Wife, but I need to get up a brief recap of last night's magnificent return to Sterling Cooper Draper—and the implications of where we've been placed on the calendar and the firm's new major client—below the fold:

Sunday, March 31, 2013

PREVIOUSLY, ON GAME OF THRONES:  Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Bastard Jon, and Maybe Rickon found six direwolf cubs and said “can we keep them?” Ned said “what harm could six giant wolves do?” and Caitlin said Jon’s cub could sleep with him in the cupboard under the stairs.
THE TIMELY RESURRECTION OF THE ALOTT5MA GRAMMAR AND STYLE DESK:  Is tomorrow April Fool's Day, April Fools' Day, or April Fools Day?