Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Sunday, December 31, 2006
One of Those "Contrasting Headlines" Posts

Poll: Americans see gloom, doom in 2007

AP Poll: Americans Optimistic for 2007

-- the great thing is, these are both AP headlines about their own poll.
Movie Stuff I Never Noticed: Always

Continuing on a theme: this is the opening sequence of Steven Spielberg's Always. Two guy in a boat are buzzed by a seaplane. The guys in the boat are played by stuntmen, since all they have to do is say a couple of words and jump over the side. But look at the guys Spielberg chose: is it a coincidence that one looks like Roy Scheider, the other a lot like Richard Dreyfuss, and the seaplane -- when it tilts up at the end -- kind of looks like a shark?

Movie Stuff I Never Noticed: Annie Hall

In looking at some laser discs -- yes, laser discs -- last night, mostly to see how crappy they look on a super-duper LCD screen, I caught something obvious in Annie Hall that escaped me before. At Annie's first appearance, Alvy has been waiting for her outside a movie theater. While he's waiting, a couple of embarrassingly-stereotyped Brooklyn Italian guys recognize Alvy from his TV stand-up appearances, and fawn over him for autographs. Not only are the accents over the top, but Allen drives it home by having Alvy say "What is this, a meeting of the Teamsters?"

This is all by way of setting up Annie's arrival by taxi, at which point Alvy berates her for being a couple of minutes late, and complains "I'm standing out here with the cast of The Godfather." He says to Diane Keaton.

Francis Ford Coppola directs Keaton and Al Pacino in The Godfather.

(Original here.)
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Someone Who Didn't Go To The Harvard of Cambridge

I just heard a caller to (sports radio) WEEI say how he happy he is about Saddam Hussein's execution, because now "the Hitler of the 20th century is dead".
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Can you really have such a thing as The Marvel Super Hero Fact Book?
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Phishing Spam From Borat!

Subject: Simple Steps For Protect Against Fraud And ID Theft

[Followed by an attempt to get me to enter my info on a bogus PayPal site hosted in Uruguay. You'll never get my password, foreign spamming scum!]

PS: My PayPal password is HyundeHyunde999.

PPS: No, it's probably not.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Make My Stamen Go Berserk

I posted this to YouTube a couple of months ago but never mentioned it here, but since I see that the songwriter went and died the other day, I guess now's the time. The songwriter is Dennis Linde, who died Friday at the age of 63. The song his obituaries mention up front is "Burning Love", for Elvis Presley in 1972, but Linde's career extends through the Dixie Chicks' 1999 "Goodbye Earl". In addition, Linde wrote many songs for other country stars, but it turns out he also wrote the only song I like from the film Grease 2, "Reproduction".

Who we've got here: On staff, we have Tab Hunter as the biology teacher, Connie Stevens (briefly) as the art teacher whom the script halfheartedly tries to link up with Hunter, and Eve Arden (even more briefly) as the school principal. As students: the Mark II T-Birds, who were Adrian Zmed, Peter Frechette, Christopher MacDonald, and some other guy; the Mark II Pink Ladies, notably Lorna Luft, Judy Garland's other daughter, who's the one coming on to Hunter in the third verse; and a girl whose only line is probably dubbed by Mae Questal ("put your pollen tube to work"). Also, Tom Villard, later of famous sitcom embarrassment We've Got It Made, has a line, and according to the credits an entire song elsewhere on the soundtrack.

Featured more as design element than as characters, here and throughout the film, are Jean and Liz Sagal, twins who peaked professionally with their sitcom Double Trouble in the 1980s. Their older sister is Katey Sagal, of Married with Children and Futurama. Just to confuse things, there's also the actress Pamela Segall (note spelling, which varies from credit to credit -- and sometimes she's Pamela Adlon) , who's also in this film (but not in this scene), and whose resume, like Katey Sagal's, includes voice-over work -- she voices Bobby Hill in King of the Hill. But she's not related to any of the Sagals. Got it?

Seen but not heard: leads Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfieffer.

(And I like the flaccid phallus behind Hunter towards the beginning.)

(OK, the opening song, with vocals by the Four Tops, doesn't suck either.)

TiVo Can Keep Its Francophobia to Itself

Unfaithful (2002) Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Oliver Martinez, Erik Per Sullivan. A man becomes increasingly distraught after he discovers his wife is having an affair with a Frenchman. (CC)
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Sunbeam to WLVI: Merry Fucking Christmas

As waves of layoffs threaten the news staffs of the national networks, remember that it could be worse:

After 16 years of coanchoring "The Ten O'Clock News" at WLVI-TV (Channel 56), Marinella is preparing her final script.

On Tuesday, the station's ownership will be transferred from the Tribune Co. to media mogul Ed Ansin's Sunbeam Television Corp ., which also owns and operates WHDH-TV (Channel 7). As part of the fallout, WLVI's 150 employees will be let go, including Marinella, effective after Monday night's newscast.

Note the wording: not "150 of WLVI's employees" -- "WLVI's 150 employees". All of them.

Starting Tuesday night, the CW56 will broadcast a 10 p.m. newscast from WHDH's studios with 7News anchors Frances Rivera and Matt Lorch. The WLVI building on Morrissey Boulevard will be sold.

Veteran journalist Jack Hynes, who started at WLVI in 1984, had harsher words. "I think everybody is angry and sad and bitter about what transpired," he said. "I for one feel that it was something that probably shouldn't have happened. If Tribune wanted to sell the station, they should have sold it to someone who was going to maintain it. All Channel 7 is going to do is close it down and 150 people are out of work the week before Christmas.

"Where are these professionals going to go? The town can't absorb them so they have to relocate or get out of the business," he said.

In a statement, Ansin said yesterday, "We had no responsibility for the payroll or severance packages for the people of WLVI. The Tribune Co. put the station up for sale because it was no longer economically viable as a stand-alone station doing one newscast a day."

Let's see if this counts as a War-on-Christmas item.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
At the Intersection of Progressive Rock and Progressive Blogs

Comment at Kevin Drum's, on something mockable from Jeff Greenfield:

Q: Can you tell a Greenfield from a cold steel rail?

A: The rail is smarter, more honest and serves a purpose.

Posted by: Roger Waters on December 13, 2006 at 3:08 PM

Sunday, December 10, 2006
What You Can Put On The Front Page at

(Click to enlarge.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Five W's and an H

You know that Kipling poem?

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

It turns out it's not really about journalism. Via Volokh.

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