'Nearly flawless piece of popular art'
Everyone is talking about iPhones. But I have a hunch something more enduring also launched yesterday: “Ratatouille.'' The reviews -- here
, to take just three examples -- are overwhelmingly positive. Check out this quote:
“Ratatouille” is a nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film. It provides the kind of deep, transporting pleasure, at once simple and sophisticated, that movies at their best have always promised.
No doubt, iPhones will change the tech and cell phone industry -- until the next disruptive technology comes around. But if the critics are right, we're witnessing with 'Ratatouille' something akin to the release of 'Wizard of Oz' -- something classic that only gets better over time without changing. I'm looking forward to seeing it. ...Update
- 07.02.07 - Speaking of iPhones, John
didn't have to wait in line to buy one. His review: He likes it. A lot. ... Somehow, though, I think I'll see 'Ratatouille' long before I ever buy an iPhone. ...
'We’ll get Paul’s spirit back'
OK, I'll lay off the Celts. BUT ONE LAST RANT. The primary reason I'm so upset at the latest Trader Danny move is that it's all but an acknowledgement that the last four years were a waste. Danny is now switching to an emphasis on 'veterans' -- when he could have done the same damn thing in 2003. Only now, with Paul Pierce entering the final stage of his career, does he desperately change direction to help Paul. I hope the team plays well next year -- and there's a part of me that thinks they will. That assumes Pierce and Allen stay healthy. After the next few seasons, though, I think we'll once again be looking at other teams and saying, 'Man, we passed up (fill in the blank - Noah, Yi, Brewer, Green)?' ... Hub Blog's cynical fear/prediction: At best, the Danny-Doc era will end with the Celts roughly where they were in 2003: Eastern Conference contenders -- except with considerably older players. ... Before getting to Reader No. 1's thoughts, a couple quotes. First up
We’ll get Paul’s spirit back and add Ray’s spirit, and that’s the sort of thing that can trickle down to some of the other veterans ...
And who, pray tell, played a central role in crushing 'Paul's spirit' and that of the entire team? ... And then this
Well at least they appeased Mr. Pierce. They went out and got him a peer - another aging All-Star, another guy with creaky joints.
Frankly, I wish they had gone for Noah or Yi (preferrably Noah), kept Delonte, traded Pierce for another Pierce, landed another veteran, and fired Doc and Danny. ... Now some thoughts from Reader No. 1:
I'm more surprised that Seattle got rid of a veteran NBA allstar and quality guy with Durant coming in - that should tell us something.
Seattle GM (and Concord MA native) Sam Presti is coming off a good run as Assistant GM of the San Antonio Spurs - he's no fool.
Seattle doesn't like the deal either.
When Jackie MacMullan writes that Big Book about the Celtics, perhaps she can explain how the NBA got in such a state that a guy with a $12 million contract who played 2 games last year is considered valuable enough to land Kevin Garnett?
'All these blind alleys and dead ends'
Sure enough, the Celts' move last night
provokes a 'WTF?!?' ... I've learned this in recent years: If you're not instantly wild about a Celts trade, if you have to turn it upside down to look at it from multiple angles, if you find yourself muttering, 'Well, it might work - I think,' if you're a bit sad to see one player go, you might as well admit it's another crap shoot with speculative upsides mixed with more than a little doubt and dread. ... Putting up with the 2007 season for what? No big-man addition -- again? ... Great. Danny says we might be in contention for the Eastern Conference. But weren't we already there when Danny took over and proceeded to blow up the team? ... I wish they had gone for Noah or Yi -- and kept Delonte. ... From Reader No. 1:
Hey, we were right - Danny Ainge traded the pick! Update
The bright side: it was only a couple of years ago that we were talking about trading Sourpuss Paul Pierce even-up for Ray Allen.
And we didn't have to trade Big Al...
...and we got rid of Wally World (runnerup to Andre Kirilenko in the NBA's JD Drew Lookalike Contest).
The not so bright side: ESPN - especially the part about "just one of a number of debilitating injuries for the Sonics..." (Pop quiz: who will be the first Boston sportswriter to remember that Bill Walton was the last veteran superstar with bad feet for whom we dealt?)
And alas, this doesn't seem likely to help the team very much - certainly not as much as a Kevin Garnett trade (and how much longer is Allen's shelf life)?
And... on a personal note, it's the 2nd time in 4 years that Danny Ainge has traded the favorite player of our family's biggest Celtic fan. When Antoine left, there were many hard words in this household for Trader Danny - and we kept wearing our #8 jersey. This time around, the word is - "I'm just sad" about Delonte.
The Mystery, as Peter has noted is why wasn't Robert Swift in this trade? "
What's left for Celtic fans? How about Virtual Reality? In a Virtual Celtic World, Red Auerbach is your Avatar General Manager, ripping off the Trail Blazers #1 pick in a Virtual Deal for (yes) Antoine Walker 3 years ago... just in time for Greg Oden to understudy Tim Duncan (thanks to a favorable bounce of those Virtual Ping Pong Balls in 1997)...
We need is a big thick book on the Celtics and how The World Has Changed to make sense of all these blind alleys and dead ends. We have a lot of not so thick Celtic books, many useful but none shedding light on what has happened in the last 20 years. How about it, Boston sportswriters?
-- Here's another 'WTF?'
... But here's someone who likes
the deal. Glen Davis might be a big positive surprise. ... And another thumbs down
. ... BunkoSquad wants to play high-stakes Monopoly
with Danny. ...
'If the club gets antsy ...'
If things don't change and the Celts don't get 'antsy,' Steve sees
Memphis, picking just before the Celts, going for Joakim Noah. The Celts would then go for Yi. ... I'd be happy with either one of them. The Celts need size. ... Steve has Horford going at #3. Probably. But I was under the impression Atlanta really needed a guard. I guess Horford is just too good to pass up. ... Cynical fear/prediction: Tonight I'll be exclaiming, 'WTF?!?' ...
'Thoughtful revision of Iraq policy'
Richard Lugar speaks the blunt truth
that the White House and a lot of people on the partisan left and right don't want to hear. ...Update
-- Charley makes a good point
: 'We needed these guys to be statesmen in 2002.' True -- and in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. But seeing that a lot of people still don't get Lugar's point, I welcome the truth of what he's saying as it applies to today's 2007 partisan-charged debate. ...
'His wincing recollection'
Here are some reviews (first
) of Gunter Grass's memoir. There's a part of me tempted to feel sorry for him. But I can't. He lectured too many people too often about the need to confront the past's awful truths. Except his own. ...
Danny: Go draft
Face it: Trader Danny isn't very good at trades. But he's not bad at drafts. Better to go with his gut-instinct draft choice of Yi Jianlian than a screwed-up trade instinct to make Paul Pierce happy
. Then again, maybe Paul won't be unhappy
. ... I still like Noah, but I sense his star is fading. ... Here's a history
of Celts drafts. Rex Morgan. Remember him well. He came to a CYO pizza party when I was young. Still have his autograph -- along with Hank Finkel and Satch Sanders' autographs. ...
'On a day when they could have had impact players ...'
Whenever I sound off about the Celts' draft prospects (or any sports draft or trade), I should always recall with trepidation the following quote, via Bruce
On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon. - Ron Borges, MSNBC after 2001 Draft.
'Coming up for air'
Reader No. 1 responds to recent posts on the Celts, property taxes and neo-Nixonites:
-- Coming up for air... looks like the Garnett trade has unravelled on its own and if he has an opt-out after 1 year as noted, it's for the best not to swap out Al Jefferson. But in Pierce-Garnett sure brought back memories of spring 2002 - only better. RE Andre Kirilenko, check out this list of myriad injuries (called by Peter May today)- it poses the question whether 'Kirilenko' is Russian for 'JD Drew.' I still see the #5 pick swapped given that available players (a) don't look like difference-makers, (b) are too similar to Big Al, (c) both (a) and (b)...
-- RE your post yesterday on property taxes: 'revolt' against government seems a strong conclusion. Would love to see some demographics on how many of the anti-override voters are dependent on Social Security and state pensions. (Also that the government-bashers are dropping like flies from talk radio - Howie Carr is an anomaly.) I think your first instinct was much more accurate: people who vote against overrides just can't afford them. It's a revolt against high costs.
ALSO - very important - those voting against aren't directly affected by the town services driving cost increases: schools. I don't know any parents who like voting permanent tax increases - BUT they do it because they see the taxes as inextricably linked to quality of education. If I'm right, the real worry will come in about 6-8 years when the baby boom generation is finished with Massachusetts public schools, deep into college costs, and thinking about flipping their houses for cheaper places to live. Even affluent towns won't vote overrides after 2012 - and then we will have a REAL problem.
The best solution is (non-government subsidized) economic growth, with some alleviation of tax inequities. Note in yesterday's story on the Stoneham sports & music wipeout how much of the town's property base is not taxable: One of the great ironies in Massachusetts is how many pro-override voters love their green space...
-- Defer the Nixonian comparisons to the present Bush administration, only to ask if that makes the present Democratic voices McGovernite?
Quickie responses: A Kirilenko trade sounds like another bland sideways move to me. ... I should have just stuck with people being fed up with higher property taxes. ... Yes, some Dem voices are neo-McGovernites. Like these guys.
They're also stuck in a mirror-image Vietnam-Watergate universe. Notice, though, Dem leaders wisely aren't biting. ...
'Sensitive compartmented information'
WaPo is running a big multi-part series
on Dick Cheney. Here'e the first installment
. ... Some of the material is old. But some is fresh. I didn't know that one of Cheney's first acts on Sept. 11, 2001 -- not after Sept. 11 -- was to convene lawyers to define the president's 'extraordinary powers.' That was his first primary instinct: consolidate government power. ... I know I can be accused of political psychobabble by harping on Cheney and Rumsfeld's experiences in the Nixon and Ford administrations. But they really do come across as being scarred by the brutal executive vs. legislative battles of that era. The first commentator out of the WaPo box had the same reaction:
The media and elected officials have known for 6 years about Cheney's corruption in the White House. This is right from the Nixon play book and Cheney was trained during the Watergate years.
Don't agree with everything the commentator says. But those sentences clicked. Then there's the other question I keep asking myself: Will we ever see another vice president like Dick Cheney? The third commentator provides a partial answer:
The reason Cheney is able to get away with his unprecedented power-grab is not because of some deep, dark and mysterious knowledge of the workings of bureaucracy. It's because Bush, the cipher, let's him. It's as simple as that.
Most vice president candidates are picked to balance out a ticket. Cheney was picked primarily to act as a trusted confidante and mentor. I doubt we'll see another one like him for a while. Or at least I hope not. ... FYI: I'm far from the first to notice the neo-Nixonite traits of the admintration. PBS
have, among many others, noted it before. It just took me longer to appreciate it. ... FYI II: The WaPo story has another example of John Ashcroft trying to fend off the clowns.
'Loathed, mocked and despised'
For many Americans, it's hard to understand why Tony Blair is so unpopular in Britain. Reading this op-ed
, it occurred to me that for many Americans, it's hard to understand why Mitt Romney is so unpopular in Massachusetts. ... Some politicians you just have to see up close, day after day, week after week, to grasp the 'embarrassingly transparent and shamelessly insincere.' ... But it's not all Tony and Mitt's fault. Brits love to hate their politicians even more than Bostonians love to hate their politicians. ...
'Downright suicidal,' Part II
A Celts executive says he's 'willing to bet'
that Kevin Garnett's agent is bluffing about Garnett not wanting to play in Boston. Only a reckless fool would make that bet. But it is the Celts. ... But inside the same article is a fascinating nugget of info: Doc really likes Corey Brewer
and Joakim Noah
. Not wild about Brewer. But I do like Noah. He's big, quick and smart. He also has a fascinating background
that could jazz things up at the Garden. I'd be happy with him. Very happy. ... My hunch is that Mike Conley and Al Horford will go at #3 and #4, respectively. If by some chance Horford is available at #5, the Celts should nab him. Here's why.
He's no Oden or Duncan. But solid big men are hard to find. ... At right, Joakim Noah. ...Update
- 6.24.07 -- Yi Jianlian intrigues too.
I was previously worried that Danny might go for Yi if the Celts got the #1 or #2 pick. ... My gut still says Noah. ... You know, this draft has depth. The falloff after #1 and #2 is apparent. But it's deceptive. There's talent out there. ...
A coming revolt?
Reading about Stoneham cutting
its entire high-school sports program, I can't help but think a breaking point is coming. The first reaction of some parents was not to say, 'OK, let's do an override. Let's fix it.' No, their first reaction: Off to private schools. There's just a sense out there, assuming my political antenna is picking up the right signals, that government can't fix itself. So property-tax payers are drawing a line in the sand. Not every community is doing so. The ultra-affluent towns are passing overrides left and right. But other less affluent communities aren't. Property taxes are rising so fast that they're the rough equivalent of small pre-housing boom mortgages -- and many non-affluent people just can't afford them. ... One of the biggest culprits of rising town costs: Health care. Which leads to Michael Moore's bashing
of the new universal health-care program in Massachusetts. Why the bashing? Evil insurance companies. Moore's solution? Government takeover of the system. But tell that to beleaguered taxpayers who daily see government incompetence at the local, state and federal levels -- whether it's town workers ripping off pension systems or the MBTA going bust or Mike 'Great Job' Brown's FEMA. ... I don't know where all of this is going. But the 'revolt' I sense coming is really a rejection of governments that seem incapable of reforming themselves -- and always demanding more. The 'revolt' may already be under way, but not necessarily in the guise of rejecting property-tax overrides. Non-affluent people are revolting by simply packing up and leaving the state in ever greater numbers. Those rejecting overrides are merely rear-guard holdouts. ...Update
- 6.24.07 -- OK, so the above post is embarrassingly grandiose and inarticulate. But you're not going to hear me saying the solution to high property taxes is higher taxes.
Iraq offensive brings out journalistic big guns
The current Iraq offensive has brought out this morning the big guns of military journalism: Tom Ricks
and John Burns
. Pay attention. They know their stuff. Their assessments of the current battle under way: Not bad, not good. ... Tactically, not bad in the short-term, though Burns notes Al Qaeda leaders have apparently slipped the noose again. Strategically, not good in the long-term, for the same old patterns keep repeating themselves: Al Qaeda leaders getting away, doubts about the performance of Iraqi soldiers, lack of troops, lack of time, etc. ... Burns's report contains something I've never seen: Military officials in Washington have determined that April 2008 is the "last point at which the current American force level of about 156,000 — augmented by the additional five Army brigades and Marine units deployed as part of the so-called surge — can be sustained, given staffing constraints." ... So there's going to be a troop reduction no matter what next spring? I'd advise Democrats to simply step back on the troop-withdrawal demands. No need to be blamed for something the military has already decided to do. This is Bush's own disaster. ...
Kevin Garnett's agent is all but warning
Trader Danny not to pull the trade trigger. ... Aren't owners supposed to be the ones who act as checks on impulsive GM trades? ... Forgot. Celts. Bruins. Catastrophic trades. Tanking teams. Inept owners. ... Thank goodness for agents who can perform interventions. ... A 'dangerous rush'
indeed. Danny would be trading away half the team for what? The mere thought he thought about this trade is depressing. ...Update
-- Obviously, some disagree
West Wing Mania
Doctors have their stethoscopes. Professors have their tweed jackets. Lawyers have their worn leather briefcases. Every profession has its subtle status symbols that are worn like uniforms to project power. But pols take it a step further: They have security personnel and aides with secret-service earpieces, American-flag pins and ubiquitous Briefing Folders, etc. It's the West Wing look. Now a Romney aide is getting his chops busted
for taking the act too far. ... It's part of the annoying 'imperial'
politician trend that we last saw during Caddy-gate. Romney's aides have always excelled at the West Wing stage antics. ... First link via Dan
. ... FYI: CEOs rank second in terms of absurdly large entourages. ...
'New endangered species: Modern architecture'
So Boston isn't the only city
thinking of bulldozing a 'modern' building. I'm one of the few
who thinks City Hall and City Hall Plaza can be improved and deserve preservation. But it really is hard to sympathize with architects who deliberately designed these buildings partly to insult the public's tastes. ...
'But we have a great General'
, who uses Massachusetts as a base when he's stateside, has an inspiring post
about the battle under way in Baquba, Iraq. I hope he's right that we can still win in Iraq -- and I hope I'm wrong that we're now fighting to merely define the degree of our defeat in Iraq. ... We agree on this: General Petraeus is indeed a 'great' general. Had he only been in charge in 2003 or 2004. ... We also agree on this: One battle does not win a war, especially an insurgency. ... Another local media outlet, Frontline, broadcast its 'Endgame'
piece last night. The LA Times
If "Endgame" were a newspaper story, it would be called a clip-job (a phrase from the era before computers): Just take the clippings from past stories, roll in a few fresh quotes and, voilà, weekend feature story.
Ouch. But see the show and decide for yourself. I'm going to try to view it online this weekend. ... Here's a good update
on Baquba. ...
Remember: We're Massholes
Here's a funny video
on the differences between Italians and Europeans. Remember: We're Massholes and thus not nearly as lovable as Italians. ... Video via normblog
'An attempt to handicap the field'
of the Celts' NBA draft options next week. ... Of course no one can possibly handicap what Danny Ainge might actually do. It's unfathomable. ...
'No, not the one in Boston,' Part II
Searching for 'Bunker Hill cartoons,' I came up with the engraving to the right. I've seen paintings and engravings by John Trumbull
and others before, but never this Lodge one. I like it. Full archive listing here
. ... Also found a cute postcard of kids
reenacting Bunker Hill and a strange British cartoon
depicting Bunker Hill on a lady's hair, from the late 1700s. No context given. ... Full postcard list here
'No, not the one in Boston'
finds out that, yes, even the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston will be closed tomorrow for Bunker Hill Day. ... The least city, county and, yes, state workers could do is learn a little about the Battle of Bunker Hill. And the first place they should go is J.L. Bell's blog
. Great stuff. Agreed: Whether the battle was fought partially or entirely on Breed's Hill/Bunker Hill doesn't matter. It's the Battle of Bunker Hill. ... Did you know Waterloo wasn't faught in Waterloo? ... They can also do well by ordering Thomas Fleming's superb 'Now We Are Enemies,'
about the Battle of Bunker Hill. If I recall correctly, Fleming is quite adamant that Col. William Prescott knew full well that he was building fortifications on Breed's Hill, against orders. Prescott's rationale (according to Fleming): 1. American cannon could only threaten Boston if artillery pieces were on Breed's Hill, not the more far-away Bunker Hill. 2. Fortifying Breed's Hill thus would bait the British into action. 3. Baiting the British was essential to divert Red Coats from a planned frontal assualt on Roxbury siege works, which Americans commanders didn't think they could defend. ... And that's Hub Blog's Improbable History of the Day, not to be confused with Peabody's Improbable History
, which, BTW, does include an episode on Bunker Hill
, perhaps to be found here
. Historical review of the show would probably settle most disputes about the battle. ... J.L. via Adam
-- There's also 'Bunker Hill Bunny.'
But it's a little inaccurate. Everyone knows there were no Hessians on Bunker Hill -- or at Pearl Harbor. ... Video of 'Bunker Hill Bunny' here
'Post-apocalyptic world of the 'Mad Max' movies'
WaPo has a big and fasinating
story about the vast private-security army in Iraq. They're not mercenaries but also not the Merchant Marines
. There's part of me that says, 'Well, all's fair in love and war. Supplies have to be delivered.' There's also part of me that says, 'We have more people over there than we've been led to believe, taking more casualties than we've been led to believe, and we're still stretched thin.' ... To get an idea of just one company's efforts:
ArmorGroup, which started in Iraq with 20 employees and a handful of SUVs, has grown to a force of 1,200 -- the equivalent of nearly two battalions -- with 240 armored trucks; nearly half of the publicly traded company's $273.5 million in revenue last year came from Iraq.
P.S. -- It should be noted that most of the security personnel appear to be Iraqis delivering weapons and reconstruction materials to Iraqis. But a typical convoy has Western contractors serving as leaders -- and the armored trucks and weapons are paid for by the military. ...
Larry Whiteside, RIP
, Larry Whiteside has died
. Nice tribute from Nick
. ... He deserves to get into the hall, pronto. ... Switching sports gears, Dave Lewis has been dumped by the Bruins after just one year, here
. Talk about zzzz. Poor Bruins. The Celts aren't far behind on the zzzzs. Also via Bruce. ...
'Wagnerian exit from the White House,' Part III
They're still battling
over what to do about Iran. Usual sides are lining up. There's even a Hitler-Munich analogy, talk of 'regime change,' Cheney fingerprints etc. The 'Wagnerian exit from the White House'
seems more tragically plausible. ...
'A proposed pecking order'
You really ought to check this out
. It's Brad DeLong's mischievous idea to create a 'pecking order' of respect for individual conservatives, based on when they abandoned Bush. Example: 'Brent Scowcroft, Honest Conservative Class of 2004.' ... I'd actually put him in the class of 2002 or 2003, but you get the idea. ... The comments are excellent, so good they're making me rethink my no-comments policy, though I still don't have time or inclination to moderate or hack out spam comments. ... Kate's comments are great. But I liked this one: "Trying to save conservatism from conservatives is like trying to save communism from communists." Ouch. ... Of course a similar list could be made for liberals, based on different benchmarks. I'm open to suggestions. ... OK, where would I fit in? Based on Brad's tentative rules, I'd be disqualified for consideration. I'm a moderate conservative Class of '92. Haven't voted for a Bush since '88. Sorry, Duke fans. I have no regrets. ... Via AS
, who, not surprisingly, thinks the respect cut-off point is 2004, when he switched his mind. Not so fast, Andrew. ...
'Zzzzz? really? how so?'
Bert takes me to task for my 'zzzz' comment in the post immediately below about the gay-marriage vote yesterday:
Zzzzz? really? how so? The gay marriage issue has been the biggest one in the state for several years now. It is an issue that has focused a national eye on our state. And the debate over the debate has been one of the favorite parlor games in Massachusetts politics. Many agendas were said to be on hold pending resolution of this issue. It was a B-I-G showdown and the result was unknown as little as 24 hours ago.
I’m curious why you mention it as a zzzzzzzzzzzz. Are you both uninterested in the issue and the political battle/theater involved? I could see where someone would think the process went on too long. But when the final climax is reached I think it’s got to perk up anyone who is remotely interested in politics, the issue or general society.
Now that I think of it, it might compare to the OJ trial in that way. Not that I’d compare the importance of the OJ trial with this issue. They are miles apart in that respect. But who didn’t perk up when they heard the jury was coming back in the OJ trial, even if they didn’t follow the day-to-day events of the trial.
This is what I wrote back to Bert: I never for a moment thought this would get on the ballot. Either they were going to not vote (thus killing it through parliamentary tricks) or vote (and kill it). This has been a needlessly long and boring process story. Sorry we disagree. ... FYI: This is also not the talk of the town. I haven't had one conversation about this topic. Not even at work. I haven't even overheard anyone talking about it.
To the last point: Obviously a lot of people are talking about it
now. But I'm one of those who agree with Robert David Sullivan's comments on Adam's site. ... FYI II: I'm personally against the ban. Gay marriage doesn't bother me -- and I now feel it's gone through the correct constitutional process. End of debate, as far as I'm concerned. ... FYI III: Earth-shattering gay-marriage headline: 'Massachusetts gay marriage to remain legal.'
It perked me up in a zzzzz sort of way. ...
"A G-rate Zapruder film this is,' Part III
FLASH!!!! BREAKING NEWS!!!! President Bush's watch was not stolen
! He put it in his pocket! Bush is not an evil lying sack of poopie! ... P.S. -- And, oh, the gay-marriage bill
was blocked. Zzzz ...
'No idea which Republican'
The latest poll
says Mitt indeed has an edge in New Hampshire, meaning a Hillary vs. Mitt race isn't at all implausible.
But the vast majority of voters say they haven't a clue who they'll vote for in NH. ... I'm pretty convinced Hillary will win the Dem nomination. Mitt, well, I'm not at all sure. I can see scenarios where he'll get the GOP nod. Rudy and McCain seem so lamely inconsistent. Rudy doesn't appear to have his heart in it, while McCain comes across as overly eager to please. At least Mitt is consistently inconsistent -- something that doesn't seem to bother the credulous base. ... Fred Thompson does nothing for me, BTW. ...
'A G-rated Zapruder film this is,' Part II
You know BDS has taken firm hold when the Albanian Watch Incident
becomes a metaphor for all things evil
about Bush. ... But wait, John
points to an article
that claims the president put the watch in his pocket. Agree something happened when he looked down at the ground twice. I still maintain he has that familiar look on his face that says, 'Oh, crap. There goes another watch.' ... Which is why I buy Timex. Which is why I buy $10 umbrellas. ...
'These habitual ticket-splitters,' Part II
Reader No. 1 on Reagan Democrats:
Reagan Democrats are for all practical purposes extinct. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the end of the Reagan Democrat. A young adult who grew up during the Reagan years, who is now economically and socially liberal/libertarian, is not a Reagan Democrat.
This poll-driven 'safe legal and rare' business that Selena Zito cites is not the legacy of Reagan Democrats - who actually believed in, and understood a few principles such as why it was important to be anti-Communist (that was an issue, but also a value). Quite a number of Reagan Democrats were Greatest Generation members who knew first hand too that war was hell and‚ sometimes necessary.
In fairness, 'safe legal and rare' is a tougher moral issue than being an anti-Communist. But it's also turned out to be the safe harbor for alternatively squeamish/pragmatic fence-sitting swing voters. Not to mention it's a Bill Clinton retread. But maybe it's time for a 90s revival... "Friends: The Movie," anyone?
Oh, please, not 'Friends: The Movie.' ... Another reason not to vote for Hillary. ... As for Reagan Democrats being 'extinct,' I disagree, unless someone declares me suddenly extinct. There really are a lot of people, usually moderate conservatives, dissatisfied with contemporary party politics. They like a little of what Dems offer. They like a little of what Republicans offer. They tend to still call themselves Democrats, but they'll vote Republican if the right candidate or cause comes around. Maybe a better way to describe them is 'moderates.' The term 'Reagan Democrat' is indeed old, though people still amazingly understand its general meaning. So that says something. ... And I'll repeat: I think Hillary is playing it smart by reaching out to moderates. Her husband did it -- and it works. ...
'A G-rated Zapruder film this is'
Kevin sends in a link to a video
in which a pickpocket may have swiped President Bush's watch in Albania. Kev: "I’ve watched and watched and can’t exactly figure out what happened. A G-rated Zapruder film this is." ... I think the watch just got pulled off by accident. When he turns left and jumps into the crowd to shake hands, the watch is there, then he looks down at the ground, twice, as if something dropped. The watch isn't on his wrist afterward. But who knows. ...
'And for traditional conservatives'
are holding GOP candidates' feet to the fire when it comes to protecting civil liberties and curtailing executive power. ... The reaction of the Romney people is too much. They're genuinely shocked that the old-guard conservatives didn't fall for their wink-wink-wink we'll-conveniently-change-our-position-later ploy. ... A small faction within the conservative movement has been battling Bush
for a while now. But it's good to see them actively sticking it to candidates afraid to criticize what is now obviously a neo-Nixon/Rockefeller clique running the White House. ... New poll
: Hillary up by 15 points. Reason: Women voters. I hear a lot of women saying they're voting for Hillary because she's a women. Period. ...
'Attempting to unload bad contracts'
The Celts may be talking trade with a team that's 'attempting to unload bad contracts.'
True or not, the rumors sound so typical of the Celts. ... I'm no longer expecting much from the draft -- or from any trade. They're going to go for another forward or guard who later will be involved in a trade that initially feels mediocre at best in the short-term -- and turns out horrendous in the long-term. That's been the pattern. No reason to think that history's pattern has suddenly changed. ...Update
-- From Reader AM:
Seems to me the Celts and Bruins have been in opposite situations for many years. The Celts have not had a real star to build around, so they've had a lot of pretty good players but haven't been able to do much with them. (For example, the two guys they drafted when they didn't get Duncan were decent, but useless to them.) The Bruins have had big studs (Thornton, now Charra) but haven't put sufficiently talented teams around them. (Thornton has been successful on all-star teams and with the Sharks, disappointing here.)
'These habitual ticket-splitters'
It's kind of amazing that the term 'Reagan Democrat'
is still used -- and somewhat valid. But I'm not sure about the 'value voter' description. I've defined 'Reagan Democrats' as those who are to the left of Archie Bunker but to the right of Meathead. But I date myself. A better contemporary description might be voters who enjoy Jon Stewart's humor while still hovering a bit to his right. ... Hillary is definitely reaching out to Reagan Democrats. It's a smart move. But I dread the idea of 28 straight years of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton royalty and polarization. I'm looking at other candidates -- from both parties. ...
'No more excuses'
I'm thinking the same thing.
But Doc apparently isn't. ... Switching sports, file under: Don't look now.
What the hell are 'spukies'
? The guy's insane. Insane. ... I go away for one weekend and look what happens ... It's almost the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. Yet one of the truly stupidest things I've ever heard of is 'horseshoe sandwiches,'
something John and I agree upon. But, well, horseshoe sandwiches are also actually pretty good if Port wine is included. ... I don't know what this means
, but it sounds like a 'horseshoe sandwich' as far as artery-clogged hearts are concerned:
Horseshoe sandwich osteotomy of the edentulous maxilla with simultaneous submucosal vestibuloplasty. ... Update
-- A fair-weather Hub friend writes in to say he's heard of 'spukies,' never heard of 'grinders,' and reminds me of the last time
I tried to deny the existence of a local word. ...Update II
-- From Bert:
I grew up on grinders down in Fall River. Rather than “meaty,” I’d say the defining characteristic is that they are toasted in the pizza oven.
I had never heard of a spukie until 7 or 8 years ago, from someone living in East Boston. I still don’t know that I understand them or have actually eaten one of these items.
I’m constantly amazed at the cultural gap between those on opposite sides of Boston. Too bad it’s being eroded so quickly in the name of national uniformity.
visited the Harvard Coop last night for William Martin's promotion of his new book 'The Lost Constitution.' Apparently Martin mentioned a certain blog post
about a gross historical inaccuracy in his novel. "I expected to get letters from the gun-nuts and the anti-gun nuts, but I never knew I'd hear from the cruller-nuts." ... Well, there's always a first. ... Confession: I'm indeed a cruller nut. I admit it. I can't help myself. ... FYI: I noticed the 'three decker' phrase too (see comments in first link). I personally use 'triple decker.' But I've also heard 'three decker' before. So I gave Bill a pass. ... FYI II: In my world, 'grinder' is used to describe a beefy sub, such as 'I'll have a meatball grinder.' The use of 'sub' implies deli meat, such as 'I'll have an Italian sub.' It's just my style. ...FYI III: Re Ron's question about why I don't have comments on Hub Blog. Answer: Ultimately, I don't have the time or inclination to monitor the comments section. Plus, I don't want crazed anti-cruller wingnuts taking over my site. ... FYI IV: I recommend Martin's book below. As I said, it's a fun and fast read. Good history too. Look at the discussion it's already started! ...
It's the 60th anniversary of George Marshall's famous address
at Harvard outlining what would become the Marshall Plan. ...
'And Jerry Mathers as ...'
The Beaver is on Broadway.
... Favorite lines:
At some point it had to be asked: Has it ever bothered Mr. Mathers that he reached the pinnacle of his career — in his words — before he turned 16?
He looked as if he didn’t even understand the question.
“Honestly, by the time I was 13, I was a self-made millionaire,” he said.
'The Lost Constitution,' Part II
Finished William Martin's 'The Lost Constitution.'
Verdict: Thumbs up. The ending is preposterous. I also found yet another historical inaccuracy, though not on a par with this one
. Yet it was a fast and fun read. ... A friend who knows I'm a sucker for historical fiction recently introduced me to George MacDonald Fraser's 'Flashman'
series. I'm currently reading 'Flashman at the Charge.'
The main character is a hilarious cad who always manages, against his cowardly will, to find himself in the thick of things. ...
'Epiphanies,' Part II
Of course a variation of Andrew Sullivan's boasting that he belately realized Bush was a fool before others realized he was a fool are blog posts like this
. It completely distorts Tom Friedman's pre-invasion views, which were full of doubts, warnings, criticisms and grudging support for the war. Sort of like yours truly. But I suppose some people just have that righteous 'sahal'
gene chip in them that requires total argumentative annihilation. ...Update
-- Howie has just diagnosed himself: He's got BDS
'All's well that ends well...'
... If you ignore the advice of your doctor and go with your gut instinct, as John recently found out
'Gore in the balance'
Al Gore has proven there are second acts in America. The Economist's Lexington columnist
explains why he should be satisified with where he is in life -- and why he shouldn't become 'just another member of the 2008 freak show.' I agree. I like the current Al. ... Illustration at right courtesy of Economist.P.S
. - Lexington recently looked at America's secret love affair with royality -- American style.
Another reason why one hopes Al doesn't take the plunge -- and why Hillary hopefully doesn't win. Twenty years of Bush-Clinton-Bush is enough.
Re Andrew Sullivan's recent posts on conservatives having 'epiphanies'
about George Bush, the old Hamlet line -- 'protest too much' -- comes to mind. Andrew, who passionately backed Bush before everything began to unravel post-2003 invasion, seems to be working too hard to ridicule others
for not coming sooner to a realization that he himself arrived at belatedly. It's weird reading at AndrewSullivan.com these days. ... For the record: I've never had an 'epiphany' about George Bush because I never liked the guy. But I still supported his Iraq adventure. Now how stupid is that? ...
'Is there anything so mundane that it cannot be Massholified?'
Masshole behavior moves from roads to the T to movie theaters and now ... to an apartment building
. ... I've observed Masshole behavior occurring more frequently at supermarket check-out counters. The person in front makes a simple mistake punching in his/her debit-card PIN. Everyone else behind starts sighing, rolling their eyes, muttering, 'Oh, Christ.' Total loss of time: 10 seconds. But tell that to a Masshole. I'm guilty of check-out-line Massholeness too, BTW. ... Link via Adam
'Kind of a Catch-22'
Go ahead and blame public health officials for not doing enough to stop Andrew Speaker, the Atlanta lawyer diagnosed with a dangerous form of tuberculosis, from flying about the world. But it seems clear in this story
he was determined to attend his very special wedding on a Greek island, used lawyerly tactics to turn the argumentative tables on public health officials, then went out of his way to get back into the States by planes, trains and automobiles because he didn't want to get "stuck in an Italian hospital indefinitely, where I could die." There's a word to describe Mr. Speaker: Selfish. ... As for public-health officials' inability to halt his precious trip, the case of the Virginia Tech killer pops to mind. Once again a U.S. bureaucracy was legally paralyzed when confronted with a potential danger to society. ... Not good for those worried about a potential pandemic influenza. Not good at all. ...