Last night 2/3 of the Bloodless Crew (Armand is in Dubai) plus a few grad students drove up to Pittsburgh to see The Gaslight Anthem at Mr. Small's theater. It was pretty fucking freezing for spring, and that the overzealous door checkers made me leave with my camera - the same camera that I have brought into dozens of shows there - until I could stash it off of the premises. Plus I got to sleep at 2am on a work night.
Think this is warming up to be a bad review? Hell no!
Great show, lots of energy. I got turned onto this band by one of the guys who plays with Baltar and me in a little alt-country/southern rock endeavor. I hear them described as having a "Jersey sound" and getting compared to Springsteen plus something 80s like the Cure, but to me they also tap into something Minneapolis. Upbeat, down to earth, charismatic, energetic. If you don't look close enough, you might dismiss them, but they are the real deal. As I stood there watching them, I turned to one of my friends and said "these guys are going to be huge." Better still, they play like it does not matter that they have talent or buzz, they play like it sincerely matters to them that people - no matter how many people - care enough to come out. And if you don't believe me, even Mikey likes them.
is coming is here.
Influence and conventionality.
Feminists and shiites and gays oh my!
Colbert on Ayn Rand.
And on Rand, Kung Fu Monkey has the word:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
Y'all be careful out there.
A morning post for Armand, who is no style slouch himself, as he takes off for 2 weeks of jet setting: 50 stylish men.
I didn't actually watch it last night, but have read some reviews this morning. He seemed to have done well (no major gaffes; came across as competent and knowledgeable). From reading the NYT, WaPo and then some bloggers (Sullivan, Cole, Fallows) is that the journalists didn't really ask the important questions (this week's bank plan, Afghanistan).
Anyone want to offer a different take?
True, Bachmann seems crazier than White did. But regardless, her "I'm a foreign correspondent on enemy lines" take on Washington, and her call for getting armed and dangerous and staging a revolution ... that seems a wee bit unsettling, no?
And by the way, can you imagine the firestorm you'd get if one of those dirty hippie Democratic members of Congress said this? Bill O and Rush would be going rabid (well, more rabid).
Fox News continues to give Americans a bad name. From Gutfield's wikipedia page (at the moment):
On March 17, 2009, Gutfeld (who has no military experience) and his Red Eye panel mocked the Canadian Forces. In reference to Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie's recent comment that the military may need a year to recover after Canada's mission in Afghanistan ends in 2011, Gutfeld stated "Meaning, the Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants". In reply to the comments made, Defence Minister Peter MacKay stated "It's crass, it's insensitive, it's in fact disgusting given the timing where Canada is just receiving back four fallen heroes here at CFB Trenton.", and stated that an apology from Fox and the panel would be demanded by the Canadian government.
On March 23, Gutfeld issued a statement indicating his statements were "misunderstood."  Gutfeld also made an additional statement through his Twitter account, reading, "My apologies to the Canadian military, they probably could at least beat the Belgians." 
If this is indeed the reason behind that widely-publicized goof, I am shocked - just shocked.
This makes me happy: supergroup!
An interesting map. Where McCain was strongest and Obama was weakest is right where many would have predicted in such a hypothetical match-up years ago - a line from Southside Virginia, skirting mostly South of Appalachia and ending in the northern reaches of Louisiana and the far Eastern counties of Texas.
This map should leave the RNC worried as it makes clear Obama's strength among non-black voters in some of the main supposedly-purple states: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado and New Mexico.
Another great one after the jump.
And yes, we were there for this show.
Awww - I just had a flashback to some fun shows back when I was in grad school.
Having finally seen it, I'm wondering - why did that get such poor reviews? It was silly of course, and the car chases were annoying in the way that many are these days (cut into so many tiny bits that you have trouble following them on occasion). But that doesn't make it any different than the great majority of action films. I found it to be an enjoyable diversion.
Krugman: "I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. But failing to complain over the last 8 years wasn’t one of them."
So the seeding appears to have been on target. 14 (out of 16) of the expected, higher seeds have advanced to the third round. That seems about right. This is a year when there's been a lot of parity at the top - but a considerable gap between the good and the rest. But now that 49 teams have been eliminated, next weekend looks likely to be notably less predictable.
Last night I dreamed I was talking with Christina Romer. Nothing against her, but I hereby call for 24/7 news coverage for weeks on end of the next Gael Garcia Bernal, Noah Baumbach, or Sigourney Weaver movie.
I finally watched it tonight, and I'd say it's definitely in my top 5 films of 2008 - maybe my top 3. Kristin Scott Thomas is superb. If I was giving out the Oscar for 2008, I'd probably have handed it to her over Kate Winslet (who I thought did a very fine job). But the film's strengths go beyond her stand-out performance. It's very well crafted, and does a nice job of painting the world that prisoners emerge into when they leave prison - especially their own psychological world. But really it has many strengths. It's a fine film.
Here's a graphic of where it has gone.
One of the 5 members of West Virginia's Supreme Court has died. Joseph Albright was a long-time legislator from Wood County who rose to be Speaker of the House of Delegates before he joined the state's highest court.
Are you ready to try for a triple double?
UPDATE: Getting some press coverage and food blogging. I have to say I retired from the field after two dogs, six tots, and half a PBR. However I did come away with two NCD tattoos, so I got that going for me.
It's so easy to get lost in a show with such a complicated, repetitive story behind it.
You know coach, somehow I think the president of the United States can both fill out a bracket and deal with the economy. I mean really - whine much?
Not completely cool, but moderately so.
He's putting the idea out there. I'm suddenly thinking of Jacob Javits in 1980.
He's nominated to the Seventh.
I tend to think the Mayor of San Francisco has no chance of getting elected governor. He has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. He's married two minor celebrities, pretty, skinny young women. And when those things are combined with his looks and money, it is not a surprise that the press sometimes covers him as a sort of male Paris Hilton. Plus he's in favor of gay marriage. Put a bow on all that, and the ever salacious, style-over-substance press is likely to cover him as something akin to a 21st-century Patty Heart - say, a dangerous, deluded, wacky child of privilege who's in league with dirty hippies. Again, it's not only the fault of the press. Newsom makes it easy for them. But given that they are 100 times more likely to cover his private life or anything that can negatively be labeled "San Francisco" than they are likely to cover the details of budget bills or prison reform, it seems unlikely Newsom can win.
Which may be sad. Mark Kleiman didn't enter this event thinking much of Newsom. He saw him as a himbo. But after listening to him he came away thinking more of Newsom than anyone else running for governor.
I'm not Irish.
But these guys were.
(Bonus points for anyone who actually knows that Metallica covered this, not wrote it.)
Professors wonder "what ever happened to..." a particular student sometimes, but I think it goes the other way too. One that came back to me today while reading LGM was a sociology prof I had at the University of Florida (now at the U of Colorado). I had him for a giant lecture class, but he also was involved with AI. Of course, the thing that I most remember about him was that he had a bitchin' halloween/protest costume in which he dressed as a nun, and the end of his rosary had a little electric chair.
The Irish Irish actually invited her to march. Which she did, with her partner. The New York Irish don't want her within miles of Fifth Avenue if she happens to wear a pin they don't like. The first two paragrahs, and the attached photo, of this report illustrate very different views of the acceptance of gays by the Irish versus among the Irish of New York.
Apparently the Australian government sees philosophers causing havoc in South Asia.
Feel like searching some FOIAed documents?
So tonight I watched yet another movie (hey, it's Spring Break), last year's Oscar nominee from Israel. It's very good. I can see why some have argued that it's anti-Israeli. But at the same time there seems to be a great big hole in that argument in that it's an Israeli who is arguing that such events are wrong and need to be exposed. And being willing to acknowledge one's side's own flaws, and wanting to atone for them, is not a minor matter - and something that I'd think many ardent supporters of Israel would say the other side does far too little of. But beyond that, personally, I think the focus of the film goes far beyond a story about Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese or Christians. It's a film about soldiers, about their experiences and memories and feelings. And on that front I think it's a very fine movie.
And hey, who doesn't like something that brings more attention to OMD (in this case "Enola Gay"), right?
So I will admit that I was one of the weirdos who read all of A New Kind of Science. Wolfram is still at it, and this time he has created a new kind of computational tool for the internet. Not like Google, but more important, according to this piece. A different way of "curating" information. Coming in May 2009.
So I finally caught up with the last installment of the Efron-era Wildcats. I found it to be the hardest to watch, by far. Why? Well, it is the most overwrought, overly sentimental, the longest, and it is just altogether bigger in multiple ways that are painful - and sadly rarely in painfully-funny ways. I think people fail to give Zac Efron enough credit, because without him this franchise would be awful beyond imagining. He saves it when he can. As usual the Evans twins provide the true highlights, but they are not in enough of the film to save it on their own - though I was delighted to see a lot more of Lucas Grabeel's Ryan in this one. Actually I would say Grabeel was the best thing in this movie. He has really developed through this series and I hope he gets a lot more work.
But unless he is on screen, or Sharpay is vamping it up, or Efron is dancing and successfully distracting us from the charisma black hole that is Vanessa Hudgens, there is not much reason to look at this product from the Sinister Manipulative Mouse. Now if they make a Ryan and Sharpay movie, that'll be something worth seeing.
Oh, and the best line, by far - "you are easier to dance with than she is."
They've got to be kidding, right? If Israel was, say, Austria, an appointment of this sort would come with howls of protest and moves to kick the European nation out various events and institutions. It will indeed be interesting to see how people respond to Israel naming a new foreign minister.
Via a card on PostSecret about getting a PhD, comes this link to The Importance of Stupidity in Science. I think it's not just important in science, but in other creative areas or relationships. If you knew everything, what fun would that be? We demonstrate our ineffectiveness, or ignorance, or lack of mastery of some aspect, and then rectify the lack. Recently I've been playing music again, but a different kind than I've ever done before, and have had to try some new things and learn some new skills. One of the guys in the group gave me a pep talk about something I was struggling with, and while that was nice, what I said to him was that the feeling of incompetence was actually a good thing. I actually needed to feel some awkwardness, and live with it, and figure out how to get through it, and that was the best part. It's all about solving the puzzle, and sometimes we need help and sometimes we don't, but stupidity is the starting point of new and exciting things.
It's not quite spring, but the link dump has been in hibernation too long:
Losing my religion, but loving the military!
In love, with an iPhone game.
What's love without the gang bang? Or the McGangBang (via Kottke).
It's almost National Corndog Day!
And spring might not be here, but something is!
They consider the winners from 1941 and 1994. And now I'm suddenly considering whether I should teach Forrest Gump in the fall. The fact that I loathe it so might make it an odd choice. But there sure is a lot of film & politics stuff to discuss in that cinematic atrocity.
If you want to make an predictions about it, feel free.
Tastes like my youth. The smell is the most striking, and takes me back to hot summer days in Florida, with the fizzies tickling my nose. It's quite fizzy, and takes a while for the head to go down. The taste is more caramel-y than the kind with HFCS, unsurprisingly. I can close my eyes and remember my older brother having a breakfast of this kind of Pepsi and Oreos, on his way to high school.
Hosted by the Economist, a roundtable featuring Dani Rodrik and others.
The movie was fine, but I left the theater once again wishing Emma Thompson would make 10 movies a year. I love her.
Last night I was in a hipster bar in DC and noticed multiple appearances of buffalo plaid. A resurgence of grunge can be but moments away.
The regulatory state puts and end to a tradition at Cornell.
"I bet they're serving food."
Shep Smith mocks Glenn Beck. And mocks. And mocks. And mocks. And Chris Wallace is not amused.
Moore knows how to build drama doesn't he. The first 15 minutes were interesting. I wonder what the writers will do with that. I'm guessing that the finale will offer few big answers. But nonetheless I think I know where I'll be at 9pm on the 20th.
In West Virginia you can be fired or kicked out of your home, simply for being gay. Heck, you might not be hired simply for being gay. There is legislation to protect gay West Virginians presently before the West Virginia legislature, and today the Senate passed it. Getting through the House of Delegates will be a much tougher proposition. But it's made it through one house.
Voting yes - Bowman, Browning, Chafin, Edgell, Fanning, Foster, Guills (R), Helmick, Jenkins, Kessler, Laird, McCabe, Minard, Oliverio, Palumbo, Prezioso, Snyder, Unger, Wells, White, Williams, Yost, and President Tomblin.
Voting no - Barnes, Boley, Caruth, Deem, D. Facemire (D), K. Facemeyer, Green (D), Hall, Stollings (D), and Sypolt.
Absent - Plymale.
So do you want the Jonas Brothers' hot foam in your face little girl?
That was an entertaining take down of Disney. Though if Disney was really about the $ above all else Mickey would've kicked in Kevin's face, not Joe's. I mean Kevin's already referred to as the ugly one (or is it the funny one? or is that the same thing?), and the Mouse wouldn't endanger the ability to sell a relatively pretty property.
This is a terrible thing. It certainly conveys that some concepts and ideas are to be off-limits in decision making. How can that possibly help if the goal is to create a carefully-considered foreign policy?
Looks like there are some weebles (errr, senators) that don't only wobble, but who can also be pushed over. I don't think we should call them flip-floppers - that needlessly impugns the character of fish and implies a lack of commitment to either side. These senators appear to have set commitments regardless of what they've told voters in the past.
I think that's a bad number for a Biden in Delaware - though of course the big question is will Castle run?
In another closely watched race 5-term incumbent Chris Dodd is trailing potential Republican challenger Rob Simmons in Connecticut.
I'll be loaning this to Baltar and Binky tomorrow, so we'll see what they think. But personally I think giving it 1 star would be kind. Yeesh. That was terrible - and not in a fun way.
A new statewide, nonpartisan group dedicated to protecting the rights of the LGBT community in West Virginia has launched its website. If you are a Mountaineer who supports ending discriminatory practices in employment and housing in our fair state, go sign their petition.
That's what Stephen Walt is wondering. And since I'm the least musical of the Bloodless crew, I figured I'd open it up to you to tell me what he's missing from the 21st century. Way, way back in the mid-80s you had U2 make quite the mark. Of course in the wake of 9/11 there were the songs of Allan Jackson and his ilk. But more recently ... what? There's Trent Reznor's work. There's Green Day's American Idiot album (most obviously its track "Holiday"). What else is Walt missing?
I have no kids, so I don't think I can relate to this story as well as others. That being said, this is incredibly well written.
Fatal Distraction, by Gene Weingarten.
The Bloodless Crew went to see Watchmen this evening. I can't speak for the other two of us, but to my mind, I have to say that it was really, really good. I'm not sure about the commercial viability, as the superfans will likely be irritated, and those who know nothing of the novel will not get it. This is a bitch of a novel to translate to film, and compromises had to be made. However, I think that the best way to describe its success as a film is to say that it totally captures the feel of the novel. It's bleak, grim, and sad. What they did with the CGI of Billy Crudup's face to convey the infinite sadness and isolation of Dr. Manhattan, or the absolute purity of Rorshach, the vulnerability of the NiteOwl, and the total humanity of the Comedian... amazing.
You know the WV Quarter? Nice mountain... be a shame if something happened to it.
It's up to the church to set its own rules, but as a matter of public relations or compassion the Catholic Church's act in Brazil ... ummm, wow.
Katy Perry singing (if that's what you want to call it) a ballad. When will her 15 minutes end!
I find this a bizarre selection. He's only been a provost for less than 2 years, and he's spent his entire career at Towson. Now he comes to Morgantown where he needs to fill in a multitude of administrative jobs (I really can't begin to list how many openings there are on campus at the moment - lots and lots of jobs including all the biggest ones). It's an incredibly risky choice - and this from the people who brought us Mike Garrison. Here's hoping it'll work out - but we'll see.
Some (NSFW!) stills from Incendiary have shown up and people are talking about Ewan McGregor getting naked (yet again) in a movie, and whether this is a "hot" pairing. I was thinking about what "hot" onscreen pairings I'd like to see. Starting with Ewan McGregor, I'd like to see him with RDJ. And while I was looking for a pic of Ewan, I found this, which I don't know the movie, but wow, two of my favorites. But I think I would like to see my fabulous Tilda with Adrien Brody. So, there's a start... Armand? Kiki? Moon? What say you?
Makeup. There was a period in my life - high school, to be exact - where I would have given my eyeteeth to know how to apply and wear makeup. Then when I moved to South America in my 20s, and lived on a budget in an extremely humid and polluted city where the temperature regularly broke 40C, I had no interest in putting any more goop on my sticky face. That I was both thrifty with time and money by going without was something I appreciated more as time went on, and in my thirties I thought about it in much the same way I think about having a clean house: if basic hygiene is being met, and someone doesn't like it, they can fuck off. Of course, it's easier having self-selected into work that doesn't expect a lot of grooming. I keep, somewhere, not always sure where, a powder and mascara and a creme blush or gel rouge that doubles for eyes for extra special occasions like weddings. My one makeup indulgence is lip goo, mostly clearish. I do have a bunch of those Burt Bees tinted lip shimmers, that basically have a little tint in a chapsticky kind of package. They reside in various jacket pockets, and backpack compartments, but it's usually random whether I wear clear or tint, just whatever comes out of my pocket. My interest is keeping my lips from flaking off. As for facial care, I wash my face with what I wash my body with, and now that I'm older, I have to use some kind of moisturizer on my face in the winter. These days I am really fond of Celestial from Lush. Again though, that's because if I don't my face gets really itchy and annoying. It's funny how in these recessionary times, I really feel like I am doing OK, and I don't have to give anything up, and a lot of it has to do with having simplified a long time ago. I got rid of things that really were only time and money sucks - cell phone, cable, makeup - and by and large haven't missed them at all, and instead spend money on things that make me happy, like tickets to concerts and Fluevog boots.
Bruce Bartlett looks at the numbers. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton raised taxes - and the economy grew.
A report. Supposedly it may turn on Justice Kennard.
So there are these friends: 20-something Norwegians from affluent families who like punk music and have relationship issues. And at one point or another they have yearned to write. It's consumed them. And that's affected their personal relationships in a variety of ways. If you are interested in movies about such characters you should definitely check this out. It's a good movie. Quite. Structure and writing, acting, direction, music - this movie succeeds on every level.
Really, how can you pick out only 5? Still that's how many Barrett Brown chooses to focus on here. I really do think one of the best things that we could see happen to journalism would be if media outlets fired lousy commentators and talking heads who consistently made predictions that didn't pan out. But that won't happen of course - ratings and star power matter more than accuracy.
UPDATE: Friedman googles. O-M-G. I think he'd be more systematically examining the economy if he was relying on Tarot cards.
HT to a regular reader
President Obama campaigned on changing our interactions with Cuba. But Bob Menendez is doing is darndest to hold the line in favor of the old (failed) policies - even if it means blocking the heads of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from taking their jobs.
It keeps getting smaller. Will it even be able to protect Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales once they are completed?
Under current plans, the Royal Navy circa 2020 will be a very strange force. There will be just six high-end warships to protect two 65,000-ton super-carriers, plus a mixed flotilla of old Type 23s and FSCs numbering just over a dozen. It'll be a top-heavy force with too few destroyers to escort the carriers into a shooting war, and too few frigates to perform day-to-day patrolling during peacetime. It's a fleet optimized for nothing.