URLs du Jour

2017-01-02

A true hodgepodge today…

  • Any Star Wars geek will want to read "Leia Organa: A Critical Obituary"

    While Leia Organa’s letters, doctrines and later, command directives formed the ideological-strategic core of the Alliance, she avoided the leadership roles assumed by her father and Mon Mothma. Indeed, she used the courtesy title Princess (afforded by her adopted parents, as elected officials in Alderaan’s post-monarchic democracy) sparingly, and purely for political effect. She became a field operative instead, managing diverse intelligence assets under the cover of diplomatic and sapient-relief travel. Before the Battle of Scarif, her missions shared intelligence with numerous Alliance cells. Her uncanny ability to predict the actions of enemies and allies alike made her essential, but the Alliance treated her warily, concerned she might manipulate its forces for her own ends.

  • Mark Steyn has a wonderful obit for Debbie Reynolds.

    When Arthur Freed and his directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen cast Debbie Reynolds in Singin' In The Rain, she was a 19-year-old who was good at gymnastics. But she wasn't a dancer, and she was supposed to dance with two of the greatest screen dancers of all - Kelly and Donald O'Connor. MGM wanted her youth and sweetness and wholesomeness - which were vitally important in a cast of wisecracking cynics and fakers. But they also needed her to move around at a high level of fluidity and competence. Kelly was impatient, and cruel and dismissive. (Afterwards, he was amazed that Reynolds was still willing to speak to him.) At the end of shooting one day, MGM's other dance star Fred Astaire happened to be wandering past the sound stage and noticed sobbing sounds coming from the piano. Underneath he found a distraught Debbie. Astaire offered to help teach her the routines. Her pep and pluck got her the rest of the way. If you watch "Good Morning" carefully, you can see Kelly and O'Connor are the two old pros and she's the neophyte. But so what? That was kind of her character in the plot, and she keeps up, and holds her own. At the end of the sequence, her feet were bleeding - and, as she famously said, the two hardest things she ever did were childbirth and Singin' In The Rain. And on the latter there was no CGI to serve as a production epidural.

    I own the Singin' in the Rain DVD; after I watch that movie, my face hurts from all the smiling.

  • Ah, but it's not all about dead movie stars at Pun Salad today. At NR, Kevin D. Williamson puts the grades on "Obama’s Last Report Card". Parallels with LBJ are drawn, because neither guy performed up to the expectations implied by their elections.

    Republicans know what Barack Obama has accomplished: The GOP practically has never been in a better position politically, with the state legislatures and governorships, the House and the Senate, and a newly minted Republican president. (A ritual acknowledgement of Hubris, who is also a jealous god, is here appropriate.) But Democrats should be asking themselves what Barack Obama has accomplished, too: He has decimated their party. The things they care the most about are, from the progressive point of view, mostly either in stasis or in regress: climate-change legislation, economic inequality, abortion, transnational governance, etc. The Left is strangely focused at the moment on exotica such as which dressing room transsexuals use at the gym and whether nonconformist bakers can be obliged at gunpoint to bake a cake for Bill and Ted’s excellent wedding. Their national leaders are elderly, intellectually narrow hacks of the kind who give hacks a bad name. Their great hope is an author of self-help books who smoothed her academic career by pretending to be a Cherokee.

    Heh! Save that last sentence for 2020.

  • Megan McArdle notes the latest proposed Democrat hack to get Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. How would they manage that feat?

    That’s a very good question! The answer some progressives have come up with is that there will be a nanosecond gap between when the outgoing senators leave office, and the new ones are sworn in. During that gap, there will be more Democrats left than Republicans. So the idea is to call that smaller body into session, vote on the nomination, and voila! -- a new Supreme Court justice. Alternatively, President Obama could use that gap to make a recess appointment.

    Megan submits this plot to a deserved amount of scorn, both theoretical and practical.

  • James Lileks: his resolutions are better than yours and mine.

    I resolve not to ask the dog who's a good boy, because not one of the male children I've met ever chewed up a lame chipmunk. I will ask, "Who's a familiar representative of his species? You are! Yes, you are." And the tail will thump just the same.

    I will adopt that one too, assuming I can remember it.

  • The post-election Donald:

    The pre-election Donald:

    The only thing we have is a phony, artificial stock market. So people think—But I’ll tell you what, nothing relates to the stock. Even in New York, on Wall Street and stuff, people think Wall Street. It’s a whole different world. The stock market is a phony number and it’s gotten there because nobody is paying any interest. When interest rates go up a little bit, you’ll see some very bad and very interesting things happen.

    Less than five months between these two statements. Why, it's almost as if he's making stuff up as he goes along!

  • But he's far from alone. (Pardon the language.)

    "Laci Green", according to Wikipedia is "an American YouTube video-blogger, public sex educator, and feminist activist. She has hosted online sex education content on behalf of Planned Parenthood and Discovery News." And she's moody.