URLs du Jour

2008-01-13

  • We've previously written about the District of Columbia's historic preservation cops preventing the demolition or alteration of the hideous and dysfunctional Third Church of Christ, Scientist. But if you think that was bad, check out this outrageous, but true, story of how the same arrogant bunch is preventing the installation of an access ramp onto a rowhouse. And so?
    And so, at ages 90 and 87, Cornelius and Merry Lucas remain stuck in their basement rooms, able to come and go only through a back door that opens onto an alleyway.
    The D. C. preservationists badly need to be ridiculed and demeaned, then fired. (Via OpenMarket.Org.)

  • If you are generally in favor of limited but competent government, a strong national defense, and free-market capitalism, the Washington Post gives you a choice today. You can choose to be depressed by George Will:
    Today, all the usual indicators are dismal for Republicans. If that broad assertion seems counterintuitive, produce a counterexample. The adverse indicators include: shifts in voters' identifications with the two parties (Democrats now 50 percent, Republicans 36 percent); the tendency of independents (they favored Democratic candidates by 18 points in 2006); the fact that Democrats hold a majority of congressional seats in states with 303 electoral votes; the Democrats' strength and the Republicans' relative weakness in fundraising; the percentage of Americans who think the country is on the "wrong track"; the Republicans' enthusiasm deficit relative to Democrats' embrace of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, one of whom will be nominated.
    … or you can be depressed by Jonah Goldberg:
    As pretty much everyone has noticed, the Republican race hasn't exactly followed any of the scripts laid out for it. Mitt Romney has been hacked apart like the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." John McCain's fortunes -- which had been bouncing up and down like a printout of Dick Cheney's EKG -- have suddenly spiked northward after his victory in New Hampshire. Fred Thompson ran a brilliant "testing the waters" campaign from his front porch, but when he tried to walk on the water, he sank like a basset hound trying to swim. Pushing the poor beast under the waves was Mike Huckabee, whose down-home folksiness makes Thompson look like David Niven.
    At least Jonah's significantly better than George at wisecrackery as we approach armageddon. David Niven. Heh! Aieeee!

  • Ann Coulter's father recently died, and she'd like to tell you about him.

  • And I try not to judge peoples' character negatively by what they write, even if I disagree with it. Even when I can't help myself, even more seldom do those judgments make it into this blog—why should you care?

    That said, however: if you read the previous item's link from Ann Coulter, you might want to check out this commentary on the same from a guy named Chris Kelly at the Huffington Post. See if you don't agree with me: Chris Kelly is one of the most vile, hate-filled people you'd never want to meet.


Last Modified 2008-01-13 5:11 PM EST

Hairspray

[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This is a pretty good tongue-in-cheek musical set in 1962 Baltimore. It centers on Tracy Turnblad (played to, as near as I can tell, perfection by Nikki Blonsky); you would have to have a heart of cold stone not to love her. She is the dictionary definition of ebullience. But she's also "different": obese—but in a totally cute and perky way—with a mom who hasn't left the house in over a decade and a father who runs a joke shop.

In addition to Ms. Blonsky, the rest of the cast is excellent, too. Christopher Walken plays Tracy's eccentric dad; John Travolta plays her reclusive even-fatter mom. Tracy's near-term ambition is to dance on the local TV show, hosted by Corny Collins, played by James Marsden, the prince from Enchanted. She's opposed by the station's manager, snooty Velma von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer), but helped out by the saintly Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah). The wonderful Jerry Stiller and Paul Dooley also show up in smaller roles.

So it's pretty good, and mostly a lot of fun to watch. The plot driver in the beginning is Tracy's quest to satisfy her aspirations for self-expression and acceptance. In the latter half, it switches over to a civil rights struggle, as Velma von Tussle is revealed to be not only snooty, but also an open racist. She's easily defeated in the end by plucky Tracy and her black and white allies, unified in their love of music and dance. This part is treated ham-handedly enough to make my cynical side bubble up: "And that's why we don't have any racial problems in this country any more, kids."


Last Modified 2012-10-15 10:59 AM EDT