URLs du Jour

2009-02-02

  • Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! I'll be watching the obvious movie at some point; it's a personal tradition. If you haven't read Jonah Goldberg's essay on the film, check it out. If you can stand clicking over to the Huffington Post, Perry Garfinkel introduces "a new sect I call Groundhog Day Buddhism."

    Oddly enough, I don't care whether the groundhog saw his shadow or not.

  • But that Buddhism thing reminds me. In his Inaugural Address, President Obama rattled on inclusively:
    We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers.
    Over at BeliefNet, Steve Waldman says (paraphrasing), hey, waitaminnit. If you're going to be pandering to religious (and non-religious) diversity, you should really kick in a mention of Buddhists: they outnumber both Hindus and Muslims in the US.

    Simple explanation: there's no detectable political upside in pandering to Buddhists. Because, as near as I can stereotype, unlike some religions I could name, they don't much care whether they're being pandered to or not. Good for them.

  • At Kausfiles, Mickey is, if possible, even more mystified than I about Judd Gregg's apparent ambition:
    What could Sen. Judd Gregg possibly do in a second-tier cabinet position--Commerce--to advance his conservative philosophy that would possibly make up for giving his ideological opponents a 60-seat majority in the Senate? Stop card check? Achieve a free trade agenda? ... Quick, name Bush's last Commerce secretary. ... Even if New Hampshire's Democratic governor angers his party by appointing a Republican to replace Gregg, will it be an anti-card-check Republican? ... Gregg could go down as the biggest sucker since Arthur Goldberg, who let Lyndon Johnson con him into giving up a lifetime Supreme Court seat to become Ambassador to the U.N.
    Yeah, I don't get it either. Seems like an obvious poor choice.

  • And, oh yeah: appointing Gregg to a cabinet post is unconstitutional. Um, technically.

    But there's a lawsuit in the works to determine just how "technical" that is; if it succeeds, Hillary Clinton will have to go back to baking cookies in Chappaqua. Does Judd want to take the risk of meeting a similar fate?

  • Drew Cline has informed speculation on two women mentioned as Gregg's possible replacement, both safely from Snowe/Collins RINO-land.

  • And now for something completely different: comic Steve Martin hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend. The comedy was—sorry, Steve—eh, but he sang (sort of) and played the banjo, performing an original song:

    "Hey, this guy's good."

    The New York Times had a good article about Mr. Martin's longtime banjo passion on Sunday; there are also links to a couple more songs, one with Vince Gill and Dolly Parton singing—sorry again, Steve—much much better than Mr. Martin.


Last Modified 2012-10-08 7:43 PM EST

Sullivan's Travels

[3.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

People really like this one a lot (IMDB score 8.1, a solid 100% on the Tomatometer). It's fine; that's why I'm not a movie critic.

It tells the story of Hollywood director John L. Sullivan (played by Joel McCrea), who's bringing in big bucks making piffle that the masses love. But he desperately wants to make Important Tendentious Films. (In a nice touch, the movie opens with the closing scene of his latest effort in that area.) His associates pooh-pooh this ambition, telling him that he hasn't suffered enough to be a credible serious filmmaker. So he resolves to impersonate a hobo, hop freights, live like a desperately poor person.

And along the way, he picks up Veronica Lake. That would never happen today.

What's good: quite a bit of clever dialog, some very funny bits, a powerful scene set in an African-American church. (And this must have been very powerful back in 1941, when the movie was released.)

What's so-so: McCrea and Lake, wonderful as they might be, don't have a lot of acting range. And the movie's famous switcheroo, shifting from slapstick and satire to—oops—temporary utter seriousness didn't work too well for me.

I like the movie's ostensible thesis, though. Oddly enough, it brought this dialog from Woody Allen's Stardust Memories to mind:

Sandy Bates: But shouldn't I stop making movies and do something that counts, like-like helping blind people or becoming a missionary or something?

Voice of Martian: Let me tell you, you're not the missionary type. You'd never last. And-and incidentally, you're also not Superman; you're a comedian. You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes.

"Indeed."

Last Modified 2014-11-30 2:08 PM EST