The Phony Campaign

2007-08-27 Update

It's been five days, so let's check in with the phony Google hits for the major contenders …

Query StringHit CountChange
Since 8/22
"Hillary Clinton" phony278,000-48,000
"John McCain" phony207,000-55,000
"John Edwards" phony207,000-47,000
"Barack Obama" phony193,000-38,000
"Ron Paul" phony190,000-34,000
"Mitt Romney" phony150,000-43,000
"Rudy Giuliani" phony140,000-14,000
"Fred Thompson" phony128,000-34,000
"Dennis Kucinich" phony84,800-18,200
"Dave Burge" phony54-3

Everyone continues to leak phoniness hits; what's going on? But Edwards managed to leak a little slower than McCain, so he's wangled a tie for second place. Guiliani leapfrogged Fred Thompson into seventh. Hillary, of course, remains in a solid lead position.

Last Modified 2014-12-01 9:50 AM EDT


[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This is a decent legal/crime thriller, wrapped up as a mystery: we see nasty Anthony Hopkins shoot his unfaithful wife. He makes a verbal confession, and signs a written one. The cops have his gun out of his own hand. So why is he so cocksure he's going to go free?

His nemesis, our hero, is Ryan Gosling, about to depart the LA District Attorney's office for a plush corporate law gig, mentored by ex-Bond villainess Rosamund Pike. So there's a subplot on how the fruits of his ruthless ambition will turn to ashes in his mouth, etc.

Two problems: first, Mrs. Salad and I figured out the gimmick involved in the mystery pretty easily. I'm pretty sure you will too, if you put your mind on it for a couple seconds. So we spent a lot of the movie waiting for the good guys to catch up with us; that's not conducive to cinematic enjoyment.

Second, the legal theory used to climax the movie is (according to UCLA law prof E. Volokh) almost certainly bogus.

So my advice would be to turn off your brain as much as possible while enjoying the decent acting and dialogue here.

Last Modified 2012-10-17 3:28 PM EDT

Three Men on the Bummel

[Amazon Link]

One of my favorite books from my geeky youth was Have Space Suit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein. Here's how it begins:

You see, I had this space suit.

How it happened was this way:

"Dad," I said, "I want to go to the Moon."

"Certainly," he answered and looked back at his book. It was Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, which he must know by heart.

I said, "Dad, please! I'm serious."

This time he closed the book on a finger and said gently, "I said it was all right. Go ahead."

"Yes … but how?"

"Eh?" He looked mildly surprised. "Why, that's your problem, Clifford."

A little later:
"There must be a number of ways to get to the Moon, son. Better check 'em all. Reminds me of this passage I'm reading. They're trying to open a tin of pineapple and Harris has left the can opener back in London. They try several ways." He started to read aloud and I sneaked out--I had heard that passage five hundred times. Well, three hundred.
Such was my love for Have Space Suit, Will Travel that when I found out that Three Men in a Boat was an actual book, I decided to read it. And I did, back in 2003. But it was marketed as part of a package with this book, its sequel, and now I've finally got around to reading it, and …

Well that's not a very interesting story, is it? Guess what. This isn't that interesting a book either. It may have wowed the Brits back at the crack of the 20th century, but I think you had to be there. The plot revolves around three very British gentlemen resolving to tour Germany on bicycle. The text is very discursive, with pages-long diversions into topics that have little if any modern relevance.

But you might like it! You can check it out for free at Project Gutenberg.

Last Modified 2012-10-17 3:29 PM EDT

Sweet Land

[Amazon Link] [2.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

This is a slow-moving tale of love, prejudice, and heartless capitalism. Mostly set in 1920 Minnesota, the plot revolves around the arrival of beautiful and plucky Inge, who's been set up to marry bachelor farmer Olaf. Complications: she turns out to be German, which was a bad thing to be in 1920 America, probably marginally worse in the uniformly Norwegian community she's found herself in. So things get complicated there, also by the fact that their neighbor, good friend, and happy-go-lucky goofball Frandsen has found himself financially overextended with the local banker.

Well, things pretty much work out; this is not a spoiler, because we first see many of these characters nearer to the present day.

There are many good actors in supporting roles. I probably wouldn't have rented the DVD if one of them had not been the actor-who-is-not-me, Paul Sand, who plays old Frandsen, still kind of a goofball.

Last Modified 2012-10-17 3:29 PM EDT