A few years ago I read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. It was a thrilling read, a page turner, genuinely exciting – I credited the author with that; now I know it was because Hamilton was exciting. Because I am now reading Chernow’s biography of, ahem, George Washington.
The young George Washington
Chernow’s account confirms what we’ve always known about George – he was no Alexander Hamilton. Washington was a singularly un-exciting person, as methodical in his days as a well wound clock. I’ve only gotten to
1860 1760 but I will stay with it – in the hope that things pick up around 1776.
Boring yes, but very principled – I doubt he’d make it in today’s political and media climate. I just came across this passage which would doom him were he to reappear amongst us for another shot at the top job.
” . . . the exemplary nature of Washington’s religious tolerance. He shuddered at the notion of exploiting religion for partisan purposes or showing favoritism for any religious denomination. . . . When he needed to hire a carpenter and a bricklayer for Mount Vernon, he stated that ‘if they are good workmen, they may be Mohamatens, Jews or Christians . . . even atheists.“
On MSNBC right now, a pretty white female anchor with really long wavy blond hair is talking to another pretty white lady with long straight blond hair about another white lady with regular blond hair who is missing.
A white blond girl is missing! She’s pretty so we must put it on the teevee.
While this laptop was sleeping . . . I got to spend a day visiting the Fine Arts Museum in St. Petersburg, truly a jewel of a museum. Walked the galleries with a dear old friend whom I hadn’t seen in far too long and we shared a long lunch outdoors ‘under the oaks’. A very nice day indeed. I got to see this painting which so entranced me, I stood in front of it for ages, managed a photo, and then forgot to look at who the artist was. I shall have to return.
Hope you had a good day!
I thought Shatner’s career as a recording artist was one off, but now, thanks to Bill at Under the Lobsterscope, I hear he’s got a new album coming out. Details are here. For those of you who haven’t previously enjoyed the song/poetry stylings of the great man . . .
(He’s done this in a number of venues. I think I posted one last year, but my category skills are so awful, I can’t find it.)
Greg Mitchell at The Nation took the trouble to visit Rotten Tomatoes and see what critics around the planet are saying about Atlas Shrugged, the movie, Part the First which opened today.
A dud. A flop. A disaster. A bore. A waste of time. Not even fun.
Mitchell points out that:
Somehow, Atlas Shrugged, Part I (yes! more to look forward to!), which opens Friday, has at this writing achieved the rare feat [a 0% rating) . . . not a single critic to date, from major and minor outlet, high or lowest of low of lowbrow, likes it one bit.
(Betcha the most famous namesake of them all, Sen. Paul, likes it a lot.)
Well, who knew? I didn’t, but I suppose anyone under 50 did. Dennis Leary sings. Herewith a tour de force, I’m An Asshole. (move right along to 2:11 for the good stuff)
A theatre friend died Saturday. He was much too young and we loved him too much to have him leave us so soon.
Steve often appeared on stage with kids in the youth theatre productions – there were always adult parts; he was an audience favorite and was cast frequently. He was the first to make new kids feel welcome; he quickly put them at ease and showed them the ropes. They adored him.
He was a snarky and sarcastic fellow which of course was his charm. Steve often sat outside the stage door smoking (yes, smoking), wearing a baseball hat bearing a show logo – from which perch he could greet arrivals with ‘glad to see you decided to join us’.
Sunday night I was still feeling a bit sad when I took Logan and his mom to dinner. We talked a bit about Steve, but Logan was excited about the movie Billy Elliot which he’d just seen (he now wants to be a dancer). Later on at his house he performed his version of a number from that show and he dedicated it to Steve.
Another anthem to BBC – two in two days! This one comes from BBC Two and is giggle inducing. Plus there’s a bonus: Stephen Fry. (It would be lovely to have these channels.)
PBS is damn good. National Geographic is pretty terrific. But this! Here’s a trailer for the BBC One program (I almost typed ‘programme’ – heh), The Human Planet. It’s 3 minutes and it’s stunning – try to watch it in full screen. (h/t cousin Lizzie)
I just took a quick look at a few favorite sites – two of them, TWO of them feature Hieronymus Bosch paintings. Ugly, demented, demonic Hieronymus Bosch.
Does disaster put us in mind of this stuff? Here’s one:
Cosmo’s April cover promises 50 Ways to Seduce A Man. Someone still publishes Cosmo?
POSTED BY ORHAN
Over at Jezebel, Margaret Hartmann writes “On Friday, in a clever attempt to sooth angry travelers stranded at the Buenos Aires Airport, Cyndi Lauper grabbed a microphone and led a sing-along of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” Clearly dispatching stars to perform our favorite ’80s songs after flight cancellations should become standard practice.”
Looks like the creeping let’s-just-kill-the-damn-liberals and other people-we-don’t-like movement is gaining more steam. (h/t The Fifth Column)
South Dakota Moves to Legalize Killing Abortion Providers
Of course, good moral citizens have been gunning down abortion providers for some time. Now some fine congress critters in South Dakota would just like to make it nice and legal.
It is not crazy to expect this sort of thing will spread. Were anyone to propose such a thing 30 years ago, there would have been a collective gasp of shock and horror across the country. Today, it will barely cause a ripple. Cultures change and we are changing.
Eliminationism – in language and actions – has become more visible over the last few years. Much more on the subject can be found here in the first installment of an astonishing bit of work – a ten-part series by David Neiwert on eliminationist tendencies and language throughout history with emphasis on today.
Definition from the Wikipedia link above: Eliminationism is the belief that one’s political opponents are a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — in order to protect the purity of the nation.
Posted in abortion, Arts and Entertainment, Civics, culture, History, Politics
Tagged abortion, cultural conservatism, David Neiwert, Eliminationism, Politics, South Dakota
More at Buzzfeed: Impossible Celebrity Couples
Demi Moore and Paul Newman; Elvis and Angelina Jolie
Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies – Bill Murray at his best. And now I love the little rodent himself because he says an early spring is coming!
Yeah Puxatawny Phil! I heart you. (Hang in Kate, it’s almost over.)
Skip the chit-chat and go straight to 1:35 into the video. This is from something called “Night of Too Many Stars”, a fundraiser for something that was held sometime somewhere. But who cares really when there’s an opportunity to see Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell go all song-and-dance-men.
Tonight is Larry King’s last show and I think 25 years deserves respect, so I turned on CNN preparing to watch this last show in real time. I’ve seen relatively few over the years, but whenever I did, I appreciated how he stepped back and never made the show about himself.
And that is how I came to see some of the new 8pm show, Parker/Spitzer. These are two smart knowledgable people – and the show sucks. I don’t know if CNN has noticed but Parker communicates from every pore that she is bored and finds the guests just not worthy of her attention – almost Cokie Roberts level bored.
(At least it seemed so during the ten minutes I saw. On the other hand I’ve often enjoyed her columns, but the woman lacks an on-air personality.)
None of this matters of course. But what the heck, Christmas is coming no matter how hard Harry Reid tries to stop it and nobody is paying any attention. So I can say whatever I want.
Convicted criminal Scooter Libby with his boss, Dick Cheney
Saw Fair Game yesterday, the current movie about the outing of the CIA’s Valerie Plame by the Bush White House, done to punish her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson for speaking truth to power – it was a classic drama in real time and a worthy movie subject.
But. It would have been a much better movie without Sean Penn and it would have been a much more honest movie had it not borrowed so freely from All The President’s Men. Penn was a problem – I thought – because his personal involvement with left-wing causes spilled over into the Wilson character.
It’s always good to be reminded of some of the more sordid moments in our history. Especially given – as we’ve since learned – how deeply Plame was involved in counter-terrorism at the time that the White House ‘outed’ her. How petty the retribution against Wilson was – had they understood any history, they would have known that the best way to minimize damage from Wilson’s revelations would have been to ignore them. But they let their lesser natures rule and did far more damage to their cause than Wilson’s op-ed ever could have. Silly and petty people.
And the thing they were protecting wasn’t information; they were protecting their own lies.
And so we’re still in Iraq. And of course we’re still in Afghanistan where today is the 70th day of the tenth year of that war.
Posted in Afghanistan, Arts and Entertainment, History, Politics
Tagged Afghanistan, Fair Game, Iraq, Joseph C. Wilson, political lies, Sean Penn, Valerie Plame, War
Brian tell me that Aretha Franklin is dying. Much suckitude this week.
. . . she says Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is one of her “favorite movies,” that it’s “about timeless truths of America handed down to us from our forefathers and foremothers,” that it’s “wonderful” and “not pro-government, certainly, but definitely pro-American,” she must know it was written by a communist, right?
His name was Sidney Buchman. In 1951 he appeared before HUAC and admitted to being a member of the Communist Party, but refused to name anyone else. In 1952, he was subpoenaed again, but refused to honor the subpoena — much like Todd Palin did when called to testify about Troopergate.
Unlike Todd Palin, Buchman was found in contempt of Congress by a vote of 314-0. He was fined $150 and sentenced to a year in Federal penitentiary (suspended). A two-time Academy Award winner, it would be a decade before his name appeared on another American movie.
The Huff Post apparently has an entire SNL page. I just went there for the first time. As nice as it is to have a convenient one-stop to catch the best skits I don’t stay up to see on Saturday night, the page is embarassing.
Here are the headlines at 11pm Sunday:
Kate Middleton Bullied By Queen Elizabeth II In Hilarious ‘SNL’ Sketch
Scarlett Johansson’s Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promo With Jason Sudeikis
The Women Of ‘SNL’ Perfectly Spoof ‘Real Housewives’ Reunions
Jane Lynch Makes Hilarious ‘SNL’ Promos With Fred Armisen
‘SNL’ Newcomer Vanessa Bayer Does Hilarious Miley Cyrus Impression
SNL Does Perfect Spoof of Jimmy McMillan
as interpreted by The Trip on BBC 2. (I seem to be unable to think or write so I toss out this little amusement.)
The early days of big names in Vegas – Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and catch that guy on the right! Heeere’s Johnny.
Try to imagine four top entertainers ‘working a room’ like that today. (Instead of a stadium.)
This made me laugh out loud. Reminded me of an old Bob and Ray radio routine – “and now it’s time for our special guest, The Man Who Looks Like Ralph Bellamy! Welcome Mr. Shockley!”
My father was all about music – his music. He loved it and taught it to all of his children and even his grandkids knew the names of the big bands. This is the last I’ll post, and it’s gorgeous:
Andrew Sullivan must have an intern trolling you tube and vimeo 24/7 to find fresh and original stuff. This one is also just delightful. Hold on for 20 or so seconds.
More from these two here.
* UPDATED FOR ED WHO SAYS I DON’T SAY Y’ALL ENOUGH.
New York Magazine has a lenghty piece about Jon Stewart in the current issue. From it:
“Jon is exactly the same guy he’s always been, only with money,” says Denis Leary, a friend since 1986. “He knows that the moment he really believes he’s important, the funny goes away and he becomes Bill O’Reilly, except shorter and Jewish.”
That sounds about right.