Saturday, July 6, 2013

THE THE: This fellow proposes the adoption of a merged -Th- character to use in lieu of the word "the". I like an ampersand or an interrobang as much as the next fellow, but I don't quite see this one catching on.

Friday, July 5, 2013

HERE BEGAN THE WEIRD YEARS, THE IRONIC YEARS, THE TACKY EVEN FOR THEM YEARS, THE FLIRTING AWKWARDLY WITH DANCE MUSIC YEARS, THE DARK YEARS, AND/OR THE SUCKY YEARS: U2's Zooropa was released twenty years ago today: "Yes, 20 years on, Zooropa is a weird blip best understood as a portent of the burps that followed, a mega-band dipping a big toe into murky art-rock waters before belly-flopping completely with Pop and its subsequent crass, costly, cred-depleting tour misadventures."

Anyone care to defend it?

MR. BOH'S OTHER EYE:  In honor of the holiday weekend, Deadspin ranks thirty-six cheap American beers from worst-to-least-worst, approximately three-quarters' of which I've had at some point. Just the words "Natural Light" make me shudder now.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

IN CONGRESS JULY 4, 1776: The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

[See Isaac Spaceman's "A Word From Your Editor" (July 4, 2008) here. And set your DVRs -- 1776 airs on TCM at 1:30am tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy "The Lees of Old Virginia" as performed by the My Little Pony troupe, read John Adams' letter to Abigail Adams of July 3, 1776 ("It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,") and the below.]

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FINALLY, A WORTHWHILE SLATE INVESTIGATION:  Why don't hotel-provided bathroom amenities also include toothpaste?

AGAIN, NOT A LOT OF JOFFREYS:  Last year, 146 American girls were named Khaleesi, in addition to 30 Kaleesi, 9 Khalessi, and 21 Daenerys.

For what it's worth, based on SSA data Leia cracked the top 1000 in 1978 and 1980, reentering the list in 2006 and rising ever since. In 2012, there were 416 babies named Leia, slightly ahead of Tori, Sandra, and Denise.

I GET PAID TO BE SUSPICIOUS WHEN I'VE GOT NOTHING TO BE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT: In recognition of the twentieth anniversary of the release of film adaptation of The Firm—a movie I was so interested in seeing that I inadvertently risked getting fired from my summer job as a residential counselor at geek camp at Johns Hopkins because we didn't realize how long it was and how long it'd take us to get back from the theater in the suburbs where it was playing and so we thought we could make it back before the kids were done with classes at 3pm and we didn't get back until, oh, 3:20 or so— Grantland's Sean Fennessey couldn't help but wonder what happened to Hollywood's interest in legal thrillers:
[T]hey all feature enduring hallmarks: a dogged if flawed litigator trying to make right a terrible wrongdoing; a beleaguered spouse or partner sticking by said litigator; an exciting chase scene or explosion; a goofball sidekick always crackin' wise; and the chance for one big speech.... Much has been made in recent years of the loss of the mid-tier adult drama, a category that the 30-to-49-year-old demographic once came out for in relative droves, to see their (beautiful) peers endure pain and loss in the face of love. For all the hand-wringing in Hollywood lamenting the loss of, say, a contemporary Terms of Endearment at the hands of Iron Man 3, the genres that have truly been shed are the legal thriller and its cousins, the erotic thriller (save the occasional Steven Soderbergh or Danny Boyle homage) and the rarely executed comic thriller. (The political thriller has been granted a reprieve in this post-Argo world.)
[But why did The Firm have to have that big chase scene? Couldn't they have jumped ahead to the Sorvino meet without all that nonsense?]

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TOO BUSY NOT WRITING YOU A LOVE SONG:While Shawn Stockman and Ben Folds will return, Sara Bareilles will be replaced by Jewel on the upcoming season of The Sing-Off.  (And while we're at it, isn't "Brave" a darn fine single?)

TWO PEOPLE MADE THIS MESS:  Longtime Thrower of Things Paul Tabachneck could use your help funding his new album, and has many goodies to offer if you do.

SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE BABELFISH:  Google Reader is dead, and the Altavista search engine will shutter on July 8. But, hey, at least's archives are still online, twelve years later.

Monday, July 1, 2013

MUMBO-JUMBO:  While this is not the place for discussion of the Supreme Court's recent opinions on their merits, we can take a gander at Justice Scalia's use of the term argle-bargle, unless it gives you the heebie-jeebies.

hello.  Twelve products nominated for the most iconic industrial design of the past century.

WHERE ZED'S NOT DEAD:  Happy Canada Day to Our Neighbours to the North, and thank you for allowing us to hold onto Lord Stanley's Cup for the past twenty-three years.  In your honour, a This American Life transcript in four acts: The Canadians Among Us.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

IF KING JOFFREY BARATHEON, FIRST OF HIS NAME, WERE AN AIRLINE ...  After a weekend with the girls on the Cape, I was supposed to fly from Boston to Philadelphia at 6:30 this evening on USAirways.

However, USAirways regretted to inform me, via email at 2:15pm, that my itinerary had been "modified due to an unexpected flight change," but that I had been booked on "the next available flight. If the new itinerary is not acceptable, please contact," etc. Well, I knew the next USAirways flight to Philadelphia left at 7:30pm, okay ... no wait: according to USAirways, what I was supposed to do was take a 7pm flight to National Airport in DC, then a 10:05pm flight to Philadelphia. No, that was not acceptable.