Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spielberg Take-Down

Bill Wyman, a contributor to my Seinfeld book, disses Spielberg (link in the title above).


As they say, in Florida the farther North you go the farther South you get.
--Chuck Todd (MSNBC) on Florida's North/South political divide

Follow the link in the title above to see Andrew Sullivan's more profane characterization of the state. (Go to the 9:55 post in his live-blog.)

The Great Chase

Steven takes back his SuperPac. (In two parts from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report).

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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"Now, with Alex Wagner"

MSNBC's new 1200 pm EST/11 pm CST show is NOW my favorite news/talk show.

Must-see TV, if you ask me.

Jonathan Meets Palin

Watching a bit on Morning Joe about the HBO film of Game Change (trailer below).

So proud of Jonathan Levinson (Danny Strong). Who knew that Sunnydale High's picked-upon nerd would become a prominent screenwriter (he also authored Recount)?

It's almost like something out of "Superstar."

Artist of the Week, 1/31/12 (J. M. W. Turner Week)

Turner, The Slave Ship

Artist of the Week, 1/31/12 (J. M. W. Turner Week)

Turner, Snowstorm

Friday, January 27, 2012

Heard on "Big Bang Theory"

For somebody who has a machine that allows him to travel anywhere in space and time, Doctor Who certainly has an affection for modern day London.
--Amy Farrah Fowler ("The Beta Test Initiation," 5.14)

Artist of the Week. 1/27/12 (Charles Demuth Week)

Demuth, Trees and Barnes: Bermuda

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whedon Course Greenlit

So I will be teaching my Joss Whedon course, but at the undergraduate level.

ENGL 4860-001
Special Topics in Film Studies: Joss Whedon
Fall 2012
Monday 600-900
Peck Hall 308

Under construction syllabus here.

Addy is Two

The adorable Addy Belle Porterfield, now two--today.

Andy Borowitz Reports on the State of the Union Address

Discerning as usual. Follow link in the title above.

Money quote:

After the speech, a furious Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, “It’s been a longstanding tradition in our politics not to use facts in a State of the Union Address, a tradition the President chose to ignore in an outrageous way tonight. I won’t stand for it and the American people won’t stand for it.”

"How long would it take the GOP candidate to earn what you make in a year?"

Follow the link in the title above to crunch your numbers. (Thanks to Slate.)

My result: The Mittster would earn my salary in 7 hours 32 minutes and 37 seconds.

Artist of the Week. 1/25/12 (Charles Demuth Week)

Demuth, Chimney and Watertower

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Fear Factor"

Just tuned in to the Florida Republican debate, but Comcast's info for NBC at the bottom of the screen is for "Fear Factor":

Leeches, & Shaved Heards & Tears Gas, Oh My!

"Gingrich Family Values"

Via Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher (link in the title above).

The Onion Goes There

98 Percent Of Americans Afraid Of 98 Percent Of Americans

From The Onion in 1998. Prescient.

Report: 98 Percent Of Americans Afraid Of 98 Percent Of Americans
JULY 22, 1998 | ISSUE 33•25

WASHINGTON, DC—An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday revealed that 98 percent of Americans live in fear of a full 98 percent of other Americans. "Between the criminal element, salesmen, religious zealots, alcoholics, minorities, immigrants, fast-driving teens, employers and panhandlers, a total of 49 in 50 Americans present a fearsome image to the vast majority of their fellow citizens," the report read. Newborn babies, the elderly and the infirm are believed to comprise the non-feared 2 percent.


I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.
--Mitt Romney in a Stump Speech

Artist of the Week. 1/30/12 (Charles Demuth Week)

Demuth, Welcome to Our City

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tony and Nic

Just noticed (follow link in title above) that Tony Head (Giles) is in the latest Nicolas Cage drek (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance).



Gingrich has spent his years since [his first year as Speaker of the House] having an affair, divorcing his second wife and making money by being the consummate Washington insider -- trading on access, taking $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and palling around with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Al Sharpton.

Even Chuck Schumer wouldn't be seen doing a joint event with Al Sharpton! But Newt seeks approval from strange places.

Newt Gingrich is the "anti-Establishment" candidate only if "the Establishment" is defined as "anyone who remembers what happened the day before yesterday."

Who would say such a thing about the The Newt?

Ann Coulter, that's who.

Artist of the Week, 1/22/12: George Bellows

George Bellows, Stag at Sharkey's

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Watched first seven episodes today while doing other stuff.

Still not sure whether I want to sign on for the long haul.

Way better than Ringer--that's for sure.

'Homeland' EP Howard Gordon on Possibly Killing Brody: 'Everyone's Been on the Chopping Block'

It's hard to imagine this excellent series without Damian Lewis. (Follow the link in the title above to read more.)

"Scott Brown: What About All The Rich Schoolteachers?"

Just how clueless are these people? (Link to the story in the title above.)

Reading on the John

Andrew Sullivan has a post up about its history (follow the link in the title above).

I was writing about this back in the early eighties.

Artist of the Week, 1/21/12: George Bellows

George Bellows, Coney Island

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Palin Wants Romney Vetted

Palin supports Gingrich because we can't afford to elect another unvetted POTUS (like Obama).

Unbelievable choot-spa from a VP candidate who wasn't vetted at all.

Artist of the Week, 1/18/12: George Bellows

George Bellows, Morning Snow, Brooklyn

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Colbert for Cain

So now Colbert's/Stewart's SuperPac is urging South Carolinians, in an ad filled with images of Colbert, to vote for Herman Cain ("He such an outsider he's not even running for President") since Colbert himself is not on the ballot.

Artist of the Week, 1/17/12: George Bellows

George Bellows, Cliff Dwellers

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisdom from Casey Stengel

I often think my motto should be Casey Stengel's observation on the Mets finally winning the World Series:

It took 'em a long time but they done it quick.

Mitt, White

He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie. He has mastered Benjamin Franklin’s honesty as the “best policy”: a practiced insincerity, an instant sunniness that, though evidently inauthentic, provides a bland bass note that keeps everyone calm.
Lee Siegel (link in title above)

Artist of the Week, 1/16/12: George Bellows

George Bellows, 42 Kids

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Whedon says we'll see The Avengers through Captain America's eyes"

Of course! A promising solution to the problem of too many characters.

For the Blastr story, follow the link in the title above.

David Simmons' "Heroes" Book

David's new Heroes collection is out from McFarland.

With a blurb by me.

Old (Cult) Home Week on "Supernatural"

Jason Dohring AND Nicholas Lea (Veronica Mars' Logan Echols and The X-Files Alex Krycek) both making appearances (as the God of Time Chronos and Eliot Ness (!) respectively--in last night's "Time after Time after Time."

Robert Frost, New Spokesperson for Jeep

I did a double take when I heard the voice of Robert Frost himself over a Jeep ad showing The Wrangler performing admirably in the snow:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
--"Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Artist of the Week, 1/14/12: Andre Derain

Derain, The Turning Road, L'Estaque

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bain Capitol/Mitt/"Pretty Woman"

[Fumbling with his tie, Edward (Richard Gere) tells Vivian (Julia Roberts) about his business.]
Vivian: You don't actually have a billion dollars, huh?
Edward: No. I get some of it from banks, investors… it's not an easy thing to do.
Vivian: And you don't make anything…
Edward: No.
Vivian: … and you don't build anything.
Edward: No.
Vivian: So whadda ya do with the companies once you buy 'em?
Edward: I sell them.
[Viv reaches for his tie.]
Vivian: Here, let me do that. You sell them.
Edward: Well, I… don't sell the whole company, I break it up into pieces, and then I sell that off, it's worth more than the whole.
Vivian: So, it's sort of like, um… stealing cars and selling 'em for parts, right?
Edward: [sighs exasperatedly] Yeah, sort of. But legal.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.


Calvin Trillin takes an hilarious peak into the future (link in the title above).

Fallon Does TeBowie ("Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ")

Utterly hilarious.

Becoming a Comedy Writer

I didn't start out to become a comedy writer. It was a decision made for me by every law school in the country.
--Alan Zweibel (part of the original SNL writing team on Morning Joe, 1/13/12)

Talk at Columbia State Community College

I have agreed to do the keynote for a lecture series at Columbia State Community College (link in the title). My talk will be 6 pm, the evening of February 13. Title:
Postmodern Mythic Television: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Lost

Here's the series description.
The Humanities Social Science Lecture Series
Spring 2012

The subject of the Spring lecture series will be myth, fairy tale, fable, and fantasy as it is redigested in the millennial era. The topics of the lectures will be explorations of how myth is reused in modern culture. Myths transformed, remixed, and re-examined in the humanities and the social sciences illustrate the eternity of mythic ideas. The current exploration of myths in the film, Red Riding Hood, the television shows Grimm, Once Upon a Time, and the graphic novels Bill Williamson’s Fables, and Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen show that myth is being revived in vivid ways that render the metaphors transparent to modern audiences rediscovering this material.

Artist of the Week, 1/13/12: Andre Derain

Derain, The Pool of London

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Dogs Against Romney"

A new website (follow the link in the title).

According to Rachel Maddow, attempts are under way (inspired by Dan Savage's successful conspiracy to redefine "Santorum") to fix the definition of "Romney" as

to defecate in terror

The source of all this is of course the incredible tale (first revealed here) of how the Romney family's diarrhetic dog was constrained on the roof of their station wagon on a drive from Boston to Ontario.

Artist of the Week, 1/12/12: Andre Derain

Derain, Bathers

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Whosters at the BBC

Our Whoers at the BBC Television Centre: clockwise from the far left: Dr. Lavery, Eric Hall, Tim Reitnouer, Lauren Magee, Lindsey Alley, Justin Taylor, Crysta Simms, Dawn Hall, Lauren Black

Romney Vows to Undo Everything Obama Has Done: ‘I Will Make Bin Laden Alive Again’

Andy Borowitz again scoops everyone else. For the story go to the link in the title.

Idiotic Hatred

It matters not where he was born; this man is deeply and fiercely alien to the American tradition. He thinks ordinary Americans "cling" to Gods and guns because we are "bitter." He believes we should "redistribute the wealth." He thinks cops are "stupid" for politely asking a Harvard professor to show proof of residence when a neighbor reported a burglary in progress. He thinks that if Congress doesn't immediately do his bidding, he can ignore the Constitution because he supposedly has a superceding need to"act." He thinks government has a right to tell people when they have made "too much money." He is an alien menace.
--Quin Hillyer, American Spectator

Andrew Sullivan just nominated this for his Hewitt award.

The Hewitt Award - named after the absurd partisan fanatic, Hugh Hewitt, is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics.

"Fidel Castro says 90 percent of Americans would vote for a robot"

Come on Fidel! Romney doesn't have that much support.

Read the story by following the link in the title.


Jesse Adelman's piece (from McSweeney's) can be found at the link in the title above.

Artist of the Week, 1/11/12: Andre Derain

Derain, Collioure

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Good News, Bad News

A doctor (to a patient): "I have good news and bad news for you."
The patient: Let me hear the good news first."
The doctor: "You have a terminal disease and only have 24 hours to live."
The patient: "That's the good news? What's the bad news?"
The doctor: "I have been trying to call you since yesterday."
--Deepak Chopra on The Dylan Ratigan Show

"Indecision 2012 - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Wealthy"

Jon investigates "Fat Cats vs. Crumb Bums."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Indecision 2012 - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Wealthy
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"Rick Santorum on Gays & Bla People"

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Oil City's Bridges

My class of '67 classmate Jim Shook took this photo of my home town.

"Wheel of Fortune"

This is supposedly real.

Edelstein (and Peckinpah) on Kael

Terry Gross had David Edelstein on to review 2011's best films, and he talked about Kael.

Below is the text. A link to the archived audio version on the web can be found in the title above.

The great photo is from the Fresh Air site.

On Pauline Kael: The late New Yorker film critic was the subject of both a biography by Brian Kellow and a memoir by James Wolcott about living in New York City during the 1970s. A collection of her reviews and essays, edited by Sanford Schwartz, was also released. Edelstein reflects on the film critic, who "changed his life."

"I miss her every day," he says. "She introduced herself to me in a movie theater and said she liked my work, and what do you say? And then I met her for coffee in her New Yorker office a few weeks later, and the first thing she said to me was, 'Do you love it? Do you love the writing?' And I said, 'Oh my god, no; it's hard, it's grueling.'

"And she gave me the saddest look I think I've ever seen in my life, because for her, there was something so thrilling about the way she could get just jazzy. ... One of the reasons people hated her so much was that they could love a movie and she could hate it, but she could do so much better a job of evoking it, of what it was trying to do and how it made you feel."

Peckinpah: I remember reading a Playboy interview with the renegade auteur. Asked about Kael's harsh review of Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, he replied (if memory serves):

Pauline's a great gal, but she's crackin' walnuts up her ass.

"The Real Problem With Romney's Gaffe"

A great discussion in an Andrew Sullivan post. Follow the link in the title.

Artist of the Week, 1/10/12: Andre Derain

Derain, London Bridge

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Year of the Bain/Bane

Bain Capital, the Mittster's asset management company, has increasingly become an albatross around the GOP POTUS candidate's neck.

And Bane will be Batman's nemesis in the forthcoming The Dark Knight Rises.

Surely this can't be a coincidence.

Larkin in the Hall of Fame

I watched Barry Larkin in his early years when we lived in Northern Kentucky. I am delighted that he made it to the HOF.

Follow the link in the title for the Sports Illustrated story.

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Responds to Female Hecklers With Offensive Oral Sex Joke


Can you imagine how much similar raunch we would have gotten from the Jersey boy if he had been the candidate? (For Slate's story on the incident, follow the link in the title.)


Not for the faint of tongue.

Home for troubled mints.

Clever. "Faint of tongue" reminds me of Elaine's "hard of smelling" on Seinfeld.

The Santorum

Some kind of combination of Eddie Haskell, John Kerry, and Jerry Falwell . . .
--John Heilman on Rick Santorum

Artist of the Week, 1/9/12: Andre Derain

Derain, Big Ben

Monday, January 02, 2012