URLs du Jour

2008-12-08

  • P. J. O'Rourke reports on Disneyland's House of the Future, past and present. Basically: in the past, the future was better. That's the way I see it too.

  • But there's trouble elsewhere in the park too…
    Disneyland management has fired four actors who portrayed swashbuckling pirate Jack Sparrow, but Disney officials deny charges that the pirates were replaced by Tinker Bell fairies, it was reported Saturday. One former cast member says Disney officials were worried that the swashbuckling actors were causing young female parkgoers to flash more than their riggings and yardarms late at night.
    (Via, of course, Dave Barry.)

  • Rich Lowry points out the free-lunch fallacy of "green jobs" as pushed by Obama and other powerful Democrats by citing an economic thinker we've been citing quite a bit ourselves:
    The "green" jobs enthusiasts are making a classic error illustrated by the 19th-century French economist Frédéric Bastiat. When a railroad was under construction from France to Spain, someone in Bordeaux suggested that there be a break in the tracks to boost the town's economy with all the extra work for porters to cart luggage between trains, etc. Bastiat pointed out that if breaks in the tracks were such an economic benefit, every town should have one and France should build a "negative railroad" consisting entirely of interruptions.
    Rich winds up with a point we've made a time or two as well:
    It's always a mistake to believe that government can "create" jobs. It only creates jobs by taking resources from the economy, and therefore destroying jobs out of sight. It should attempt to create a favorable business climate and leave the rest … to the market.

  • If you're a parent, or an ex-child, of the correct age, you'll recognize the literary work on which If You Give the Federal Government $700 Billion is based:
    If you give the federal government $700 billion, it will just ask for more.

    When you say you're not sure about more and ask what the money will be used for, the federal government will stamp its foot, tell you you're too dumb to figure it out, and then ask you for a handkerchief to cry in because it now hates you.

    The handkerchief will remind it of …

    It's a lot more credible than the last 300 Paul Krugman columns, so check it out.

  • Speaking of stupid ideas, here's one that I hadn't seen yet: resurrecting FDR's Federal Writers Project.

    Proposed by, guess what, a writer.

    Because there's just not enough unread writing around; it needs subsidy.

Get Smart

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

It's not awful, and there are some laughs, but overall…eh.

It is, if you didn't know, a remake of the 40-year-old TV spy parody Get Smart, with Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart, Anne Hathaway as Agent 99. They work for the super-secret agency CONTROL; Alan Arkin plays their Chief. They're up against their nemesis agency KAOS, as usual, with Terence Stamp playing arch-villain Siegfried.

The movie ritually recycles many of the old show's gimmicks and catchphrases: "Sorry about that, Chief"; "Would you believe…"; the shoe phone; the Cone of Silence; and many, many more. The screenwriters appear to have been working off a checklist, which is fine, but makes the whole thing scream "this is a contrived remake made solely for crass commercial purposes" just a bit louder.

Anti-spoiler: Agent 99 makes numerous references to her mother, and the movie seems to be setting up for a Barbara Feldon cameo. (Ms. Feldon, youngsters, played the original 99, and she was awesome.) Doesn't happen, though. Instead we have to be satisfied with a brief appearance by Bernie Kopell, the original Siegfried. There are a couple other cameos as well, including Bill Murray, who should have been given something, well, funnier.

Consumer note: the DVD has a gimmick that allows you to view alternate line readings and deleted scenes within the movie itself. Don't bother; this makes the movie much longer without being any funnier.

What's next? The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie? Or perhaps Gomer Pyle, USMC.


Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:22 AM EST