Is This a Great Metaverse, Or What?

they think you're stupid

  • Appearing via cybermarketing magic on my Kindle this morning: Reamde, a new novel by one of my literary heroes, Neal Stephenson. Amazon says the paper version is 1056 pages, so it may take awhile to report back.

    I suppose someday I'll take the Kindle for granted, but I'm still in my starry-eyed stage. Magic, I say! But I'm impressed by more mundane things, too: unlike Stephenson's previous book, Anathem (937 pages), I don't have to worry about dropping Reamde on my foot.

    At Forbes, David Ewalt has a short interview with Stephenson.

  • The proprietor of IMAO, Frank J. Fleming, has a "big boy" gig, writing op-eds for the New York Post. If you read IMAO, you will not be surprised: they're very funny. For example, his current column where he thinks maybe it's time to let politicians know that the notion that they're competent to "create jobs" is simply a "cruel prank" the rest of us have been playing on them:
    OK, I get why this is funny. Of everyone in America, the politicians in Washington, with their pointless squabbling and inept bumbling, are pretty much the last people we should ever put in charge of something as important as the economy, so everyone thought it would be hilarious to act like creating jobs would be up to them.

    I can see the pitch now: “Think of ‘Jersey Shore,’ but we’ll put them in suits and task them with solving complex economic problems. We’ll call it C-SPAN.”

    It's funny because it's true enough.

  • In our continuing Barackrobatics series: Stacy McCain counts the number of times President Obama used the phrase "pay their fair share" in his Rose Garden speechifying yesterday.
    1. . . . for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.
    2. If we’re going to make spending cuts — many of which we wouldn’t make if we weren’t facing such large budget deficits — then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.
    3. . . . a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else.
    4. Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.
    5. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share.
    Stacy refutes the "fair share" implication on its face, but two further observations:

    1. Obama's speechwriters should be fired. Using a tired catchphrase once is bad. Repeating it five times?

    2. To repeat a comment I made at Stacy's website: The other thing that gets my goat in the quoted examples: in four out of five, Obama says that he only wants to "ask" taxpayers for more. That's an intelligence-insulting euphemism that demonstrates the speaker's underlying contempt for his audience. To quote Herman Cain: they think you're stupid.

    A previous Pun Salad rant on "asking the rich to pay their fair share" is here.

  • And this video is the saddest, and funniest, thing I've seen in awhile.

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:56 AM EDT


stars] Niagara (1953) on IMDb

[Amazon Link]

This 1953 movie is kind of fun. I remember watching it back in the olden days on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies. (And, thanks to Time, I can even nail down exactly how olden that day was: August 10, 1963.)

A married couple, Polly and Ray Cutler (Jean Peters and Max Showalter, respectively) are on a belated honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls. At their cheap motel, they encounter George and Rose Loomis (Joseph Cotten and—whoa—Marilyn Monroe). Marriage is not blissful between the Loomises; Rose is kind of slutty, and considers George to be old and boring. George, on his part, is moody and belligerent. But how much of that is due to Rose's behavior?

As it turns out, Rose is really an old-style femme fatale. Her scheme involves using her womanly talents to extricate herself from her stultifying life. Will she succeed? No spoilers here!

For a 1953 movie, it's remarkably frank about Rose's infidelity, and her (um) methods of manipulation. There's a pretty racy shot (for the 50s) of Marilyn in the shower.

Although the movie is really about George and Rose, Polly and Ray act as observers of, and occasional participants in, the whole plot. The thrilling climax involves Polly in peril. (As Chekov said: you shouldn't put a gun onstage unless someone's going to fire it. Similarly, if you place a movie at Niagara Falls, it's pretty darn likely someone's gonna go over.)

Marilyn's certainly the big draw here, and she does some serious acting. But the other actors are fine too. Jack Benny's old pal, Don Wilson, has a small role. Max Showalter was in a lot of different TV shows and movies over the years. For me, his best role was his last one: Molly Ringwald's grandpa in Sixteen Candles.

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:31 AM EDT