Monday, August 31, 2009

Three Cheers for LeVar

Reading Rainbow is coming to an end.


George F. Will has discovered that President Obama and the folks in his administration "Are not serious people." Who could have known!

Mind you, they're still better than McCain, one assumes. After all, how can cap-and-trade and nationalized health care compare with campaign-finance reform in terms of needless harm to the Republic?

Michael Vick: All Is Forgiven

By now I assume you've all seen this:

People in Philly (or at least, a large segment of the population) have embraced Vick in a way not entirely unlike how people in D.C. clung to Marion Barry after his crack bust. Some of you might object, but I'd point out that it's just part of our culture and you probably can't understand it. (By "it" I mean embracing a neer-do-well athlete for unclear reasons even though they are almost certain to cause the team grief down the road. Get your mind out of the dungeon.)

On this last score, the WaPo's Dan Levy has the definitive analysis:

There will be a quarterback controversy by the end of the season. . . .

Philly loves the backup quarterback, and it might come from the fact that they've never been all that happy with the starting quarterback. Randall Cunningham had such a tumultuous relationship with the fans, he wore a hat that said "Let me be me" while sitting on the sidelines. . . .

Vick did do enough last night to whet the appetite of every Eagles fan looking for a championship. Vick, or at least the idea of Vick, is everything fans want in Donovan McNabb. A few years back, McNabb decided he wanted to focus on being a pocket passer, basically deciding that running is for suckers. Some thought it was a shrewd decision to lengthen his career. Some in Philadelphia thought it was a decision to 'conform' to the NFL model of a quarterback. In other words, McNabb was getting too white for some people in town.

While McNabb has remained elusive, including a few times last night adeptly escaping pressure, he's not the tuck-and-run quarterback we knew in his first few seasons. Or what we knew of Vick before he went to prison. So for some, Vick is everything McNabb used to be, and more.

Those sentiments came up this week when J. Whyatt Mondesire, head of the Philadelphia NAACP was promoting a rally to support Vick at last night's game. The 'rally' completely fell short, according to reports. But not lost on people was the fact that Mondesire famously wrote a slam-job piece on McNabb (in essence making all the claims stated above) and now seems to be defending Vick. Could this be a theme echoed throughout the city, you know, after this whole dogfighting thing gets old to talk about?

Last night's 'rally' may have been more about the black community galvanizing behind Vick instead of McNabb than it was protecting Vick's right to earn a living from those few animal-rights protesters who showed up to voice their opposition to the signing. If the community turns on McNabb and puts its energy behind Vick -- and I'm not suggesting it has, yet -- could the locker room be far behind? . . .

Now reports are coming out that McNabb was unhappy with the flow of the offense because of Vick's involvement in the gameplan. And it's just the pre-season. If the Eagles get off to a 5-0 start, which is quite possible, there will be high-fiving on the sidelines. But if the Birds falter a few times in their first five games, there will be a clamoring for Vick to take the reigns in week seven. On Monday Night. In Washington.

Breaking News

Disney to buy Marvel for $4 billion.

Very, very interesting. I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing, but I can guess which way the talkbacks at AICN and Newsarama will go . . .

Kausfiles Rising

Say what you want about Kaus, but he has all the right enemies.

(Scroll down, I'm not talking about Orszag, obvs.)

Sounds like someone's got a case of the Mondays!

Not happy about being back to work? Here, then, is my gift to you:

Matt Labash spent a week with Marion Barry.

You can't imagine how good this is.

Bonus Gift: Labash has a collection of his best stuff coming out this winter, Fly Fishing with Darth Vader. Pre-order it today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Note from a Concerned Editor

The headline on the backpage of today's New York Post reads:

"Mighty Sanchez: Mark Gets Starting Nod: See Sports"

My concern is if it turns out the new Jets quarterback plays down and, well, dirty. When will the haters start calling him, um, Dirty? You've got the Dirty Dozen. There's Dirty Harry. I can just picture it now: Dirty... Mark. That's what they might call him. Dirty Mark Sanchez. Hmmm...

Please, it's a family blog!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Very Tory Notion

"He lived his own large life and the ledger of it shows a substantial positive balance." Pretty gracious stuff.

Mind you, George Will found the McCain-Feingold Act so unforgivable that he preferred the elevation of Barack Obama, the most liberal president in modern history.

Exit Question: If I hadn't prompted you, would you have guessed the quote was Will or Peggy Noonan?

Update: Scott Johnson has a less polite analysis: "We live in Edward Kennedy's America not only in the consequential legislation that he sponsored and saw through the Senate, but also in the afterlife of the vulgar political sham on which Senator Kennedy relied to defeat the nomination of Judge Bork."

I bet he won't be going to any Georgetown parties!

Update II: Tommy from Quincy is bereft.

Motion Comics

Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is out on iTunes and while it's an interesting concept, I think it's structural problems are indicative of the superiority of print.

Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (I'm not typing that out again) is a motion-comic, one of Marvel's attempts to come to grips with the digital world. Marvel is built on a hard-copy product (though that core product is not their primary revenue source, it drives the big revenue streams) and their experimentation with this new format should be applauded, even if we judge it a failure.

The "motion comic" is essentially a cross between digital graphic novel and Sin City with small bits of movement infusing individual still images via the magic of computer manipulation. Spider-Woman is built using an honest-to-goodness comic book engine, the writer being Brian Michael Bendis (who's a stud). But the format doesn't work nearly as well as if the entire production had simply been on the printed page:

* Having voiceovers is terribly distracting because there is no animation. This works fine in narration, but is terribly distracting during actual dialogue. You hear a character's voice, but their lips aren't moving. Even if this is done with a high level of technical and artistic sophistication, it looks amateur and off-putting.

* Where conversations would be conducted with a single long panel and then alternating dialogue balloons on the page, here they flip back and forth between still panels. Makes it feel like those re-cycled He-Man animations.

* Like a lot of pulp and noir writing, comic-book writing is meant to be read, not heard. Prose that merely stays out of the way in a comic book sounds kind of ridiculous to the ear when someone says it out loud.

* Despite all that, it's awfully pretty. Very nicely rendered stuff. And Bendis, per the norm, creating an interesting story.

By all means, spend the 99 cents to catch the first episode of Spider-Woman. But at the end of the day, I suspect it will convince you that the fears of floppy comics going away are unfounded.

Set to Stun

Star Trek cologne. For reals.

Vick Watch

"Civil rights" groups in Philly are holding a march in support of Vick. It's the Philly way!

The bad news is that the shop at won't let you order a "MEXICO" #7 Eagles jersey.

The good news is that they will let you order a "MXICO" #7 Eagles jersey.

An acceptable substitute? You decide.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The first teaser for Inception looks pretty interesting. Lots of gyroscopey goodness.

Obama = Jimmah?

Is Richard Cohen the first Dem to think about hopping on that train?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Meanest Movie Review Ever?

About Post Grad:

I mean, I should have known from the trailer what I was in for, and really, I kind of did. But how bad it was going to be didn’t quite sink in until the theater started filling with packs of girls and I noticed that none of them were pretty. I wasn’t just at a girl movie. I was at an ugly girl comfort movie – one for them to go and see with their ugly, chubby friends. It was like a fucking STAR WARS retrospective screening, but without all the light sabers and goatees.


A couple days ago I began a project of sorting through all of my old collection to pick out the stuff that needs to be graded and archived. And while I'm normally happy to defend the honor of comic books, some of what I found horrified me. Evidently, I was pretty big into licensed properties at one point:

Which are both kind of embarrassing. In my defense, I'll note that I only bought the first issues of these two, possibly because I was six, and blindly following the maxim always buy #1s. Then there's this:

Go ahead, click on the image to enlarge it and really drink in the horror. But here's the really embarrassing part--I didn't just buy Ewoks #1. I have the entire 14-issue run.

I know--or at least I think I know--that I never actually liked the series. Unlike most of the comics from my youth, I have virtually no memory of buying the things, let alone reading them. Which means that I was probably just picking them up out of devotion to Star Wars. Looking back on it I can't help but feel like I was sort of being hustled by Lucas, even then.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Worst Product Placement Ever?

Nike must love this.

And the unintentional hilarity of this shot is about as black as black comedy gets:

"Oh, SHIT brother. I am HIGH! And I’m an Eagle! How’d that happen?"

Unbelievable levels of awesome.

Started off with this:

Vick: Oh, SHIT! Ming the Merciless! Step off, you creepy shit!

And this:

Vick: Oh, Mr. Quiet Strength Man! How the fuck you doing? You wanna watch Gladiator with me? Fucking Gladiator and weed is DANGEROUS, like me running the ball on 3rd and 34.

By the time you get to "Lance" you'll be--literally--crying.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is Tesla the Automotive Twitter?

A typically fantastic Tad Friend piece about Tesla contains this quote from G.M.'s Bob Lutz:

The hubris of Tesla is 'We're not going to fall into the trap of being like Detroit--we're going to be the SIlicon Valley guys, nimble and innovative.' Everyone who tries to reinvent this business believes that auto companies are populated by dummies who don't understand Moore's Law. But, unlike a silicon chip, the modern automobile has to be a certain size, and carry a certain number of people, at a certain speed. Over thirty-five hundred parts from around the world have to come together at the right place and the right tie to produce sitxy to seventy of these things an hour. These things are called cars. And to make them you need a large engineering staff, a workforce that demands retirement benefits, a tax staff, a fleet of accountants, and an unbelievable amount of reliability testing that Tesla can't afford to do right now--and we can't afford not to do. Inevitably, Tesla will discover that the only way to succeed on the scale we have is to be exactly like us.

Also . . .

From KSK.


The greatest heel-turn in the history of the NFL? I say: Yes.

KSK has the last word: Suck it, Minnesconsin!

Dispelling Any Rumors

That guy is not me.

However, I applaud his sensibilities.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Standing Up for Brinkley

Galley Reader and Vandy Super Fan J.O. writes in about Cronkite-mania and NPR's dissing of the great David Brinkley:

I've had a love/hate with this blog since '07 and Jeff Green's colossal walk against my beloved Commodores. However, PBS shitting on David Brinkley (who was incidentally a Vandy alumnus) went too far and I need to vent.

The Cronkite worship reached into the depths of hell during the recent 2 hour PBS docu-celebration of WC's life. In effect, they minimized Huntley/Brinkley's successful entry into the evening news wars against Cronkite in very condescending fashion: Huntley/Brinkley were dismissed as "cutesy" and "unserious" and not very journalistic vs. the greatest journalist that we unclean serfs ever had the privilege to witness, i.e., Cronkite.

Those were serious fighting words: I'm 36 and "This Week with David Brinkley" was my introduction to the Sunday talking head chat show genre in middle school/high school. It remains the best ever, IMO.

I'm with J.O. on Brinkley.

Michael Vick

I spent about six hours on Saturday night listening to Philly sportstalk. The only topic of discussion was Vick. If the callers are indicative of general opinion (not a given), then there seems to be a pretty big divide on the subject in Philly. The divide seems (though may not actually be) largely drawn along racial lines, with blacks largely in favor of the move and whites more split on it.

Without getting into the moral dimensions of the debate, I'm struck by a question which is, oddly, getting little attention: From football perspective, why would the Eagles want Vick? The Four Letter's Matt Mosely has looked at this some. My thoughts follow his to a large degree.

From the Eagles' POV, what could they think they're adding with Vick?

* A back-up quarterback who could, with luck, become their franchise QB in two years after McNabb's contract is up.

* A gimmick player who could wreak havoc on defenses once or twice a game with the kind of trick plays that Andy Reid has long been fond of.

* A star player at a bargain price, positional value TBD. (This is the equivalent of the argument that you take the best available player in a draft, even if you already have strength at that position.)

I'm not sure that any of those up-sides outweigh the potential down-sides:

* Unsettling McNabb.

* Splitting the focus of the offense as they try to manage both West Coast and Wildcat schemes.

* The attendant locker-room headaches of having a special-case player around. See Owens, Terrell.

Plus, doesn't this all negate the reasoning behind using the 2007 first-round pick on Kevin Kolb instead of the wide-out help that they desperately needed?

I'm not against taking a flyer on a troubled player if that player might be your missing piece. I'd argue that the Owens experiment was probably a mistake, but that's debatable. And even if it was, it was certainly a reasonable mistake to make and one that a smart GM should probably be open to making again.

But is Vick that missing piece? Not obviously. If anything, Plaxico might have been a smarter gamble. We'll see.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Ballad of G.I. Joe

Galley Bro S.D. sends us this bit of amazing, off-the-charts hotness:

The level of detail here is staggering.

More on Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Galley Friend M.E. Russell did a fantastic interview with Shane Black around the time of the movie's release. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Don't Forget to Follow Me on Twitter!

You can sign up here.

It Must Be Safe to Stop Sucking Up?

Thanks, Peggy!

PS: Never has a Washington careerist owed so much to an obscure English poet.

The White House and Hypocrisy

Tyler has this fantastic item about why Tony Romo dumped Jessica Simpson:

I don’t know who these “sources” are telling Fox News that Tony Romo dumped Jessica Simpson because of her drinking, but it’s obvious they don’t think very much of us.

“Jessica would get really drunk and obnoxious, it was out of control. She would be sprawled everywhere with her head on his lap and the look on Tony’s face said it all,” an insider said. “He was so embarrassed in front of all the guys and his teammates were really harsh on him over it. Breaking up was a really hard decision for Tony to make.”

Seriously? Are we being serious here? We’re supposed to believe the Dallas Cowboys - the DALLASFUCKINGCOWBOYS - were offended by Jessica Simpsons partying? If anything they were annoyed because the stripper they punched out and tied up in the trunk of their Bentley would wake up any minute now and they needed to go bury her in the desert before then, and Jessica was taking to long to pass out.

The Death of Kayfabe

The WWE as late-night talk show.

In retrospect, it should have been clear that this is where the company was headed after Freddie Prinze Jr. was hired as a writer.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ryan O'Neal Is Some Kind of Scientist

I wonder what Ryan O'Neal got on his MCATs. Talking about his "mistakes" with Farrah Fawcett:

I would have been much kinder, more understanding, more mature. I'd lose some of the savagery. I don't know how she got cancer; maybe some of it was me.

Amazingly enough, that's not the worst part of the interview . . .
Variety reports that Hugh Jackman will be starring as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman on Earth. Yes, another musical. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, August 03, 2009

He-Man Ripped Us Off

More than you'll ever need to know about Masters of the Universe.

I never owned a single He-Man toy and the Pig only owned a couple of them. Much more into G.I. Joe and Transformers. The Pig would never brag, so I'll do it for him: He owned the entire Constructicon set. He was one of those kids.

The High-Water Mark of MTV