Saturday, January 03, 2009

Culture Slagfest

I listen to the Slate podcast feed (, at least partially out of habit, but mostly because I enjoy hearing people smarter than me talk about things that I only partially understand.

After the success, I assume, of the Slate Political Gabfest, they introduced a "Cultural Gabfest", which is a similar format-three Slate writers tackle three topics, engaging back and forth in a semi serious, semi snarky way for about 25-30 minutes.

The Culture Gabfest has always bothered me, partially because I am an ignoramus about much of modern culture, and partially just because, like a lot of critics, they assume a very snide, cutting tone towards works they consider unworthy. My ire started with a discussion of "Beautiful Children", a novel which I adored that they ragged on for no discernable reason, but this week's podcast was especially egregious.

They first of all mock Tom Cruise. Now, Tom Cruise has many things about him that are mockable. After crediting him for films like "Magnolia" and "Jerry Maguire", they see "A Few Good Men" as campy and ridiculous, and dismiss it as somehow impossible that Cruise can play his role in the new film "Valkyrie".

I love "A Few Good Men". Maybe I'm stupid, but I don't see how that film fits the definition of "camp". And Tom Cruise's character isn't taking "batting practice" at the beginning of the film, he is hitting balls for his team to practice fielding. You don't have batting practice in slow pitch softball.

They then move on to mock Bruce Springsteen for selling his upcoming greatest hits collection exclusively at Wal Mart. Now, first of all, Bruce Springsteen's fans are no longer just blue collar-but if they are, they shop at Wal Mart because they're broke, not because they're happy about their labor policies. And, as far as I can tell, Wal Mart is one of the few places selling CDs anymore, so if selling them at Wal Mart is what you have to do, then you sell them at Wal Mart.

Then "film critic" Dana Stevens complains about having to make a Top Ten List for 2008. Really? Really? Isn't that pretty much what you DO, for pity's sake?

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe criticism is all subjective, and I should stop getting antsy about people whose opinions I disagree with. Or maybe Slate's Cultural Gabfest is simply being hosted by a trio of effete snobs.

Still Watching, Still Reading

WATCHING (Well, Watched): "Gonzo, the life of Hunter S. Thompson", a documentary about the Good Doctor. Well worth your time.

READING: "The Baseball Forecaster 2009", still, "The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers" (a reread), "Sporting News Fantasy Baseball 2009". I have Roberto Bolano's "The Savage Detectives" on my shelf, too, that I have been meaning to get back to. I also have "New Moon", the second novel in the "Twilight" series, waiting for me. I'm actually afraid to start it, a little bit. I read "Twilight" so passionately, experiencing it so viscerally, I don't want to start it if I don't have time to finish it, because I know I will be mad if I can't. Isn't that stupid?

Friday, January 02, 2009

MLB Network

An all baseball television channel, the MLB Network, started yesterday, and I have been spending an alarming amount of time, so far, watching it. Naturally, I am hooked.

Documentaries, studio shows, replays of classic's just a little patch of heaven.

Sometimes I'm glad to be alive in these times.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

We Were So Much Older Then...We're Younger Than That Now


An interesting article about 50 things we know now, that we didn't know then.

Here's something I should do more of...

I have trouble remembering what I've read, so I should probably record them here.

WATCHING: "The World Is Not Enough"
READING: "The Baseball Forecaster 2009", this week's "New Yorker"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have I grown?

Monday, December 31, 2007
I don't
fucking get it.

That's what I posted, one year ago today.

Have I improved any?

Sorry, that's as much of a look back as you are going to get from me.

Happy Meme Year

Tagged by the illustrious Kathleen, ( here are Seven Things About Me:

1. I will do almost anything, including nearly injure myself, to get a child to laugh.

2. I am somewhere between 50 and 100 pounds overweight.

3. I have an irresistable fondness for the Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen series.

4. I get paid more money, frankly, than I deserve.

5. Deep in my heart, I know I could devote more time and energy to maintaining my relationships.

6. Way, way down deep in my heart, I regret having a vasectomy.

7. Ironically, as much as I write, and as much as I read, my spelling is still terrible. It didn't used to be.


1) Stop making promises I'm not going to keep.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We will see your oft injured former Marlin, and raise you... oft injured former Marlin, Brad Penny.

Reportedly, the Red Sox are about to sign oft injured former Marlin Brad Penny to a one year contract.

Not exactly the decisive response to the Texeira signing I was hoping for.

Say No To Drugs

My comrade DMarks will appreciate this one-an anti drug poster that might be from the 1930s. I can read old ads like this one all day long.

Attention Writerly Types!

Check this out!

Gorgeous Page

A gorgeous page. 25 Calvin and Hobbes strips, with commentary.

Well, this is cheery, too!

Apparently, Tom Brady is now in some danger of missing NEXT football season, too.

Oh, happy day.

BTW, Santa? Screw you.

This is interesting-the CEO of Zappos, making analogies between business and poker. I wish I worked for smart people like this.