Wednesday, February 29, 2012

DS Meets BB


Great piece in The Atlantic on the whaling industry. I found this chart most interesting, revealing as it does that Moby-Dick (1851), on which I will be teaching a graduate course this summer, appeared just before the industry peaked.

Artist of the Week, 2/29/12: Henri Matisse Week

Matisse, The Red Madras Headress

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mitt and Popular Culture

To Chris Matthews, Mitt is Chauncey Gardner (in Being There).

To Rachel Maddow, he's Thurston Howell, III (from Gilligan's Island).

To Calvin Trillin, Romney is Barbie's Ken.

The former guv of Mass reminds Howard Fineman of the Coneheads.

To Bruce Handy Romney = Mad Men's Duck Philips.

How would we understand Mitt Romney without popular culture, film, and television precedents?

Hair on Fire

The Mittster insisted today that he is not willing to set his hair on fire to win the nomination.

Howard Fineman (on Hardball) suggested just now that he has tried several times to set it on fire but it turned out to be flammable.

"Community" Dean Wins an Oscar

When The Descendants won the Oscar for best acted screenplay Sunday night, I was quite surprised to realize that Payne's collaborator Jim Rash, is Dean Pelton from Community (on the right).

Artist of the Week, 2/28/12: Henri Matisse Week

Matisse, The Blue Dance

Monday, February 27, 2012

Greatest Headline of the Year?

L. Brent Bozell Lies Again

As Media Matters points out, he-who-judges-all-media flat-out lied about energy production under Obama.

A Shocking New Poll, according to Andy Borowitz

Poll: Given Choice Between Romney and Santorum, Most Voters Choose Suicide

Who is Ryan Seacrest Wearing?

When it was announced last week that the always disruptive Sacha Baron Cohen had been banned from the Oscars, the story was picked up by many, many news outlets.

After Cohen, dressed as The Great Dictator, dumped his friend Kim Jong-Il's ashes all over Red Carpet commentator Ryan Seacrest ("Who are you wearing Ryan?"), I smelled a conspiracy.

The Dictator was supposedly carrying Kim's cremation urn in order to fulfill the late North Korean crazy person's life-long dream to attend the Academy Awards, but I suspect the whole thing was planned/scripted, beginning with SBC being banned from the ceremony.

Focus Grouping "The Wizard of Oz"

A truly brilliant bit from last night's Oscar telecast--performed by Christopher Guest and the Best in Show bunch.

Artist of the Week, 2/27/12: Thomas Eakins Week

Eakins, The Agnew Clinic

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Google Goggles

For the record, this was the first time I heard about GGs.

Follow the link in the title above to access the All Things Considered NPR story.


What did I learn today? Reading the book on the right (the existence of which I only learned recently): that Moist was the creation of Ben Edlund.

For earlier post on Edlund, go here and here.

"The myth of the eight-hour sleep"

Just fascinating (follow the link in the title).

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

"Wheat Thins Sponsortunity"

Colbert at his finest, dissecting an actual memo from Nasbisco:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Wheat Thins Sponsortunity
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Republican Debate Word Clouds

The Daily Beast asked its readers to suggest one word designations other than the preposterous ones the Four Stooges offered John King the other night.

Follow the link in the title above.

Romney's cloud below. A far cry from "resolute."

Artist of the Week, 2/25/12: Thomas Eakins Week

Eakins, Self Portrait

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In My Day . . .

I may have been out of the game too long, but in my day I probably wouldn't want my party to be associated with state-sponsored vaginal probes.
--Former Congressman Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe (2/22/12)

Artist of the Week, 2/22/12: Thomas Eakins Week

Eakins, Max Eakins in a Single Skull

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

William Saletan Calls Out Santorum

Great piece in Slate (link in the title above) delineating the duplicity of Santorum's anti-pre-natal care stand and partial-birth abortions.

A President You Want to Have a Drink With

If you are going to pick a president you can drink with you better be fuckin' sure he's still drinking.
--Lewis Black on George W. Bush (in an ad for an upcoming appearance at the Ryman)

Artist of the Week, 2/21/12: Thomas Eakins Week

Eakins, The Agnew Clinic

Monday, February 20, 2012

200 pounds ->

Under two hundred pounds for the first time this century--since perhaps 1980.

Brave New World (of Mixed Metaphors)

This is a brave new world we don't want to go down.
--Rick Santorum, deriding Obama's "theology" in February 2012

Is it merely accidental that so many on the radical right can't even say what they mean?

Artist of the Week, 2/20/12: Alfred Sisley

Sisley, Flood at Port-Marly

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dirty Harry Potter

Blastr picture of the day.

"Terry Gilliam's Barbecue Plagued By Production Delays"

Sometimes just an Onion headline is enough.

Rory and Data

I came back from London with a tiny Rory (from Doctor Who) for the enamored Kelly Hays, who posed Amy Pond's better half with Data (from Star Trek: Next Generation).


Everything Marx told us about communism was false, but everything he said about capitalism was true!
--Crysta Freedland quoting a saying she heard often while living in Russia in the '90s (on Up with Chris Hayes)

Artist of the Week, 2/19/12: Alfred Sisley

Sisley, The Church at Moret

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Schrodinger's Cat (again)


I bought Season 1 of Parenthood on sale at Target some time ago, but only started watching it yesterday.

Wonderful. Katims (pictured) is a genius. Friday Night Lights and now this.


What a wonderful idea!

A tumblr that uses criminal justice imaging software to produce likenesses of literary characters based on descriptions in the original works.

Follow the link in the title above.

What I Have in Common with Steve Jobs

Listening to discussion of the Apple genius's use of LSD--he called it one of the most important factors in his life (he claimed that the difference between Microsoft and Apple was that Bill Gates didn't do acid)--on Up with Chris Hayes . . .

I would claim the same: LSD was an incredibly important influence on me as well.

Other Laverytory posts on LSD here and here.

"'Tis the Season"

My new Telegenic is up. (Follow the link in the title above.)

Artist of the Week, 2/18/12: Alfred Sisley

Sisley, Garden Path in Louveciennes

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mitt the Conehead

On Hardball today Howard Fineman suggested that Mitt Romney reminds him of a Conehead. The more I think about it, the more I find the comparison telling.

Artist of the Week, 2/16/12: Alfred Sisley

Sisley, Station at Sevres

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"I am Spartacus!"

It's like the end of Spartacus. I've seen that movie half a dozen times, and I still don't know who the real Spartacus is. That's what makes that movie a classic whodunit.
--The clueless Michael Scott on The Office (Season 6)

Dogs Against Romney (ctd.)

Heard on The Martin Bashir Show:

Republicans are running away from Romney like the dog he strapped to the roof of his car.
--Julian Epstein

Rescue Panther

I love this new Geico ad.

Artist of the Week, 2/15/12: Alfred Sisley

Sisley, Provencher's Mill at Moret

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cruise like . . .

Just saw--for the 100th time--this ad for Norwegian Cruise Lines:

I suspect we will not be seeing any "Cruise like an Italian" spots soon--not in the wake of the Costa Concordia.

Artist of the Week, 2/11/12: Franz Marc

Marc, Fate of the Animals

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Postmodern Mythic Television"

A brief description of next week's talk at Columbia State Community College.

Postmodern Mythic Television: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Supernatural, and LOST

In seeking to explain the difference between fantasy and science fiction, genres in which she is equally at home as a writer, Ursula K. LeGuin once spoke of “grandmother and the kids.” The matriarch of both was the fantastic as it manifested itself in ancient myths and legends, but grandma bequeathed to history two offspring, both profoundly indebted to her: fantasy, in which the ruling paradigm is magic, and science fiction, in which the arbiter of what is true is, of course, science. Now the kids are on TV and the fantastic and the mythic are in our living rooms. My Power Point/clip-assisted talk will examine four small screen descendants: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Supernatural, and LOST.

"The Doctor's London"

Fall 2012 Honors Lecture Series: The City
On a 2012 episode of the ultra-geeky Big Bang Theory, microbiologist Amy Farrah Fowler observes that “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.” In a January Evening Standard screed comparing Sherlock Holmes and the Doctor, Nick Curtis denounced the 900+ year old Time Lord as not really a Londoner. Neither snark, of course, is exactly true. The Doctor has not just been a contemporary visitor to Great Britain’s capitol; his time machine/space ship TARDIS has been arriving in London as far back as the time of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth (with whom the Doctor may have . . .), which should not surprise us since Doctor Who, the longest running sci-fi television series in the world, airs on the BBC—and has since the day after President Kennedy was assassinated. Using Power Point and several clips from Who episodes, this Honors Lecture will track The Doctor’s loving and heroic relationship with his favorite city.

Major American Writers: "Moby-Dick"

My Moby class is now official (follow the link in the title above): Summer Session 2, MTWR | PH 300 | 330-550 pm.

Artist of the Week, 2/7/12: Franz Marc

Marc, Yellow Cow

Monday, February 06, 2012

Another "Who" Lecture

Last week I was invited to speak on Doctor Who in the UK.

Today, a second Who invite. I will be speaking on "Doctor Who and London" in next fall's MTSU Honors College Lecture Series on the city.

Artist of the Week, 2/6/12: Franz Marc

Marc, Blue Horse

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Bill Maher on Atheism

A brilliant new rule from the February 3rd Real Time.

Best line "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position."

The Theology of Leonard Cohen

Andrew has a brilliant post up about the incomparable Cohen. (Link in the title above.)

The State of State Science Standards 2012

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute grades the states in the map below (website in the title above). Tennessee gets a "D."

Tip of the hat to i09.


An hilarious collection of The Avengers' texts.

The Tumblr can be found via the link in the title above.

Artist of the Week, 2/5/12 (J. M. W. Turner Week)

Turner, Peace: Burial at Sea

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Andy Borowitz claims (follow the link in the title above) that, as a poor person aspiring to catch up with Mark Zuckerberg, Mitt is about to launch his own social network:

The fact is, if you’re poor in America, you should do what Mark Zuckerberg did: create a social network. I’ve just started my own, called TwoFaceBook. With TwoFaceBook, your profile doesn’t stay the same for more than two seconds.

Artist of the Week, 2/2/12 (J. M. W. Turner Week)

Turner, Interior at Petworth

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mtt and the "Uncanny Valley"

So what is the "uncanny valley?"

See also this post from Andrew Sullivan.

On Mitt and the Uncanny Valley.

The Word as a Whole: Unnecessary

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.

Posted by Andrew Sullivan.

"Dr. Who" Keynote

I have just been invited to give the keynote at a Dr. Who 50th Anniversary conference at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, September 3-5, 2013.

Artist of the Week, 2/1/12 (J. M. W. Turner Week)

Turner, Rain, Steam, Speed