URLs du Jour

2009-01-21

  • OK, I laughed at this:
    Shares of In[t]uit … fell to their low on the day on strong volume after Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner reluctantly admitted during testimony before the Senate Finance Committee that he used the company's TurboTax software to prepare his returns.
    The share price since recovered, however, I think on the general realization that there's no way in Hell that Turbo Tax would have botched this.

    It is, however, a computer program, so the operative cliché is: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  • Clayton Cramer thinks he's spotted Day-One Barackrobatics. After promising "I'm not going to try and take away your guns.", the new White House website supports bringing back the federal Assault Weapons Ban, which … would take away (some) people's guns.

    Doesn't count, unfortunately. Bringing back the Assault Weapons ban was also a campaign pledge. Are his stated positions contradictory? Yeah, pretty much. He is large, he contains multitudes.

    (Yes, this is an effort to restart the Pun Salad-invented word "Barackrobatics", referring to an Obama flipflop, backtrack, gyration, or climbdown on the issues. Unfortunately, judged by Google hits, our word is getting beaten like a rented mule by "Obamafuscation": 269,000 to 6. Clayton prefers "liar" over both of these neologisms.)

  • On the same theme, Greg Pollowitz of Planet Gore notes that November's campaign promise:
    • Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families.

      Obama and Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.

    … did not survive the transition to whitehouse.gov. Oh well, stupid idea anyway. Hope you haven't already spent that $1000.

  • Lost starts back up tonight. At A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago, Isaac Spaceman has a handy recap of what's happened up 'til now, in the form of an imaginary dialog with the rescued castaways.

Ghost Town

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

Our hero here is the misanthropic Bertram Pincus D.D.S., played by Ricky Gervais. He picked dentistry as a profession so that he could avoid people talking to him by stuffing their mouths with cotton, appliances, and sharp objects. He's of that Certain Age where, traditionally, Investigatory Medical Procedures are performed. During such a procedure, unfortunately, he (technically) dies for seven minutes on the examination table; when he returns to life, he's gained the ability to see ghosts, and talk to them. This makes him a popular guy in the spirit world; in this imagining, ghosts have unfinished business among the living, and they view Pincus as a possible ally.

Once the initial shock wears off, Pincus learns that, if anything, he dislikes ghosts even more than the living.

The most insistent ghost is Frank (Greg Kinnear), ex-husband of the lovely widow Gwen (Téa Leoni, whoohoo!); he wants Gwen's budding romance with lawyer Richard derailed. Pincus initially resists, but becomes smitten with Gwen.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. It seemed significantly more adult than the average Apatow comedy raunchfest, and the script was clever and earnest in the right places. It kind of reminded me of Groundhog Day: the protagonist needs a supernatural kick in the pants to put him on the road to redemption. Gervais, Kinnear, and Leoni are all pros at light comedy, and they're in top form here.

Kristen Wiig has a small but hilarious role as the colonoscopist, most amusing when she's trying to avoid telling Pincus the truth about the lawsuit-begging bungle during his procedure.


Last Modified 2012-10-08 8:27 PM EDT