URLs du Jour


  • Pun Salad will probably not be able to sustain the poetry theme for long, but here's another entry: "If...Kipling Had Met Blagojevich"

    If you can keep your job while all about you
    Are fielding bribes and blaming it on you,
    If you can duck the Feds while all men doubt you,
    And bleep-ing show the charges are untrue,
    If you can fight and not be tired by fighting,
    Or, being wiretapped, profess surprise,
    Or argue that there will be no indicting
    Because it's all a bleep-ing pack of lies.

    Via Betsy.

  • The more verbal half of Steely Dan, Donald Fagen writes on Jean Shepherd for Slate. If most of what you know about Shepherd is A Christmas Story, Fagen has much, much more.

  • Enjoyed this bit of cheap-shottery at Michelle's (click the image to go there):


    Quoted is the NYT story that discusses Sweet C's refusal to disclose information that would be required for someone, y'know, actually submitting themselves for election.

    If she were running for election to the Senate, Ms. Kennedy would have to file a 10-part, publicly available report disclosing her financial assets, credit card debts, mortgages, book deals and the sources of any payments greater than $5,000 in the last three years.

    But Ms. Kennedy, who has asked Gov. David A. Paterson to appoint her to succeed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and who helped oversee the vetting process for Mr. Obama's possible running mates -- is declining to provide a variety of basic data, including companies she has a stake in and whether she has ever been charged with a crime.

    Ms. Kennedy declined on Monday to reply to those and other questions posed by The New York Times about any potential ethical, legal and financial entanglements. Through a spokesman, she said she would not disclose that kind of information unless and until she becomes a senator.

    Why should she be subject to the rules applying to … commoners?

  • I watched "The Menagerie" episodes of Star Trek last night, paying special attention to the performance credited to M. Leigh Hudec: "Number One" under Captain Christopher Pike. But her obituaries last week used her more recent name: Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.

    Her Wikipedia entry tells us why she's special to all Star Trek geeks:

    In various roles, Barrett had been in every dramatic incarnation of the popular science fiction Star Trek franchise, including live-action and animated versions, television and cinema, and all of the time periods in which the various series have been set.

    Her larger roles included Nurse Christine Chapel on the original series, girlfriend of the doomed Roger Korby, and later infatuated with Mr. Spock. She also had a continuing role on the Next Generation series as Deanna Troi's ribald mom Lwaxana.

    And when Starfleet computers talked, it was usually with her voice. In a very nice touch, this will include the upcoming new movie, titled simply Star Trek (due to be released on May 8, a mere 136 days away as I type, but who's counting?).

    Star Trek is not known for great acting—we love it for other reasons—but she was very good.

  • Behold the genius that is Iowahawk:

Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:18 AM EST

Man On Wire

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

This is a documentary about Philippe Petit, a Frenchman who wirewalked between the World Trade Center towers on August 7, 1974. Petit was a street performer, doing juggling and magic tricks for urban crowds. But his joy was in tightrope-walking, and his obsessive target, ever since he saw the plans, was the WTC. He had previously done similar stunts on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

There's a "caper" aspect to the story, covering the sneaking around that led up to the unauthorized and illegal stunt. (Much of this part is done via re-enactments.) Also there's some (underplayed) engineering: how to get a 3/4" cable across 140 feet of empty space a quarter-mile above the ground. But most of the film is interviews with Petit and the present-day versions of his 1974 coterie. Petit is a charming motormouth, used to speaking in poetic terms about his feat, and this works OK.

There's no explicit reference in the film to 9/11, but that context is present for anyone who watches. For me, it demonstrated the stark contrast between Petit's obsessive courage and joy in an ultimately harmless prank and the cowardly death and destruction over a quarter century later.

Last Modified 2012-10-09 8:19 AM EST