URLs du Jour

2008-08-05

  • If your local Democratic Congresscritter suddenly starts sounding more eager to (say) allow increased domestic oil production, there's an explanation:
    California Democrat Nancy Pelosi may be trying to save the planet — but the rank and file in her party increasingly are just trying to save their political hides when it comes to gas prices as Republicans apply more and more rhetorical muscle.

    But what looks like intraparty tension on the surface is part of an intentional strategy in which Pelosi takes the heat on energy policy, while behind the scenes she’s encouraging vulnerable Democrats to express their independence if it helps them politically, according to Democratic aides on and off Capitol Hill.

    So… now they can "express their independence" because Nancy's given them permission to do so. Do I have that right?

  • The Reason Foundation has produced its "17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems (1984–2006)" See how your state is doing on twelve different measures of safety, congestion, and cost.

    New Hampshire scores in a dismal 46th place, down 12 places from last year. So, in-state readers: you're not just imagining the crummy roads. (Although we can, if we like, feel superior to Hawaill, Rhode Island, Alaska, and New Jersey., 47th through 50th, respectively.)

  • In other depressing news, New Hampshire ranks second-worst in terms of credit card debt, with a median of $2109 per card holder. It's not me, honest!

  • Heh! Calvin and Jobs.

The Jane Austen Book Club

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

In the whole genre of chick flicks, this is one of the chickiest. I contemplated getting a DNA check afterward to make sure my Y chromosome hadn't vanished.

It's the story of a bunch of women with varied problems: one has been dumped by her hubby, one's been through six of them. There's one who just kind of forgot to have any kind of social life while concentrating on her doggies instead, and there's an accident-prone lesbian, not that there's anything wrong with that. And a repressed high-school French teacher, who's disappointed that her husband didn't take her to France, as promised, instead heading out for the NBA playoffs.

So they all decide to discuss the six Jane Austen novels, one per month. If you were counting in the last paragraph, you'll notice that they're one person short. Naturally, they pick up a guy, named (I am not making this up) "Grigg", a wealthy science fiction fan, cheerfully clueless about Austen. He also fills one of the "young tempting hunk" roles in the movie.

As the movie moves through the books and months, various things happen to the club members and their significant others. It's very contrived, and too talky in parts, but still held my interest. You don't have to know anything about Jane Austen or her works to follow along, although it might help.


Last Modified 2012-10-11 3:18 PM EDT