URLs du Jour


  • Feeling like watching Sarah Palin's speech tonight? Frank J suggests a drinking game:

    * Every time you get nervous, take a shot.

    You don't have to wait until the speech starts to begin the game.

    So I've started already. When does the game end?

  • Feeling bitter? So is Arnold Kling, and he knows where to point the finger.
    To me, political campaigns are not sacred events, to be eagerly anticipated and avidly followed. They are brutal assaults on reason. I look forward to election season about as much as a gulf coast resident looks forward to hurricane season.
    I recommend the Dual-Costello Strategy:

    1. Try to be amused. (Elvis)

    2. Try to find out who's on first. (Lou)

  • Feeling mortal? You might want to check out Lore Sjöberg's rundown of alternate options for disposal of your remains. (My favorite is the same as Lore's and it's here. The "Marine" service, please. A little pricier than the other packages, but… way cooler.)

Pun Salad Sophisticated Political Analysis: Sarah Palin 2

If only Obama had picked someone named "Drome" for the VP spot, then it could have been the "Palin-Drome Debate."

MODERATOR: Governor Palin, shouldn't the Vice-Presidential limo be replaced by something with better gas mileage?

PALIN: A Toyota! Race fast, safe car: a Toyota.

MODERATOR: Congressperson Drome, the Supreme Court recently issued a very divided decision…

DROME: Some men interpret nine memos!

MODERATOR: Governor Palin, will John McCain be taking any steps to stop the propagation of Soviet weaponry into space?

PALIN: No, it never propagates if I set a gap or prevention.

MODERATOR: Congressdroid Drome, what did Senator Obama say about his openness to alternate views and opinions?

DROME: "Dogma: I am God."

MODERATOR: Governor Palin, any clichés you'd like to use to wind up our debate?

PALIN: Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

MODERATOR: Congresscritter Drome, Governor Palin's the clear winner here. Thoughts?

DROME: Dammit, I'm mad!

This has been your Pun Salad Sophisticated Political Analysis for today.

Last Modified 2017-12-05 6:17 AM EDT

Marc Cohn (AKA: What I Did Last Weekend)

I'd like to mention (however belatedly) that I had a good time over Labor Day weekend, taking a short overnight trip up north with Mrs. Salad to see the great singer-songwriter Marc Cohn.

Marc—I call him Marc—had a small backup band: Shane Fontayne on electric guitar, Jon Ossman on string bass, both doing backup vocals. Marc alternated between grand piano, acoustic guitar, and, for one song, electric keyboard.

(They usually have a drummer, but he was not present due to what Marc mysteriously called a "clerical error." In a tribute to professional musicianship, they covered his absence quite well; in fact, if we hadn't been told that there usually was a drummer, we wouldn't have guessed it on our own.)

It was a fine show. Marc did a mixture of his early hits and selections off his most recent album, Join the Parade. His between-song banter and storytelling was funny and engaging, and the audience was ecstatically responsive.

It's a little regrettable that Marc hasn't enjoyed recent popular recognition like he had in the early 90's with "Walking in Memphis" and "Silver Thunderbird." (My first listen to "Silver Thunderbird" made me a Marc Cohn fan for life.) On the other hand, it makes it much easier to see Marc in a relatively intimate venue. And he seems OK with it too.

Speaking of which: the venue was the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. (Irrelevant question: how uncreative do you have to be to name a mountain "Stone Mountain"?) This is a very attractive and modern barn-style music hall, set, roughly, in the middle of nowhere. But, surprisingly, a lot of other people were able to find it besides us: it was packed. They serve pre-concert grub and drinks; although we did not partake, it looked good. (Marc had chicken, and raved about it throughout his set.)

We overnighted at Eaton, New Hampshire's Inn at Crystal Lake, a historic Greek-Revival house converted to a bed-and-breakfast. They offered a package deal: lodging, dinner, concert tickets, a round-trip shuttle, breakfast. All excellent.

Summary: Marc Cohn, Stone Mountain Arts Center, Inn at Crystal Lake; all recommended for you in any combination.

(No money, and nothing of monetary value, was accepted in exchange for those plugs, unfortunately.)

Last Modified 2008-10-04 2:19 PM EDT

Odds Against Tomorrow

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[Amazon Link]
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I was deceived! Mr. James Lileks described this movie in a Bleat last month, and I was intrigued enough to put it in my Blockbuster queue. But…

Anyway: it's a noir from 1959, a variety where the unlikeable protagonists make a lot of obviously stupid decisions on the way to their inevitable doom. Ed Begley Sr. is an ex-cop, bitter about being kicked off the force for refusing to testify about corruption. His plan is to knock over a bank in the sleepy Hudson River Valley town of "Melton"; it seems like easy pickings. But he needs a couple guys to help. So—obviously—he picks a whiny sadistic racist, played by Robert Ryan, and a whiny gambling-addicted black guy, played by Harry Belafonte. Good plan, Ed Begley, Sr.!

There's a lot of dialog (mostly unnatural and incoherent), acting (mostly over-), and "character development" (mostly clichéd and uninteresting) on the way to the ill-fated heist. We get to meet Ryan's and Belafonte's significant others, their acquaintances, and get to know way too much about their motivation in falling in with Begley and his idiotic scheme.

But finally, the big finish, and everything is tidily wrapped up in a heavy-handed metaphor about American race relations. (Remember: 1959.) I'll spoil it: instead of trying to escape from the cops hot on their trail, Ryan and Belafonte start shooting at each other. Unfortunately, they do this in a flammable environment and merely manage to blow themselves up. A cop at the end is standing over their charred bodies, and is asked "Which is which?" He responds: "Does it matter?"

Oh, I get it!

Last Modified 2024-02-02 6:29 AM EDT