Old news, right? I know. I even heard about this in Montana. However, in case you read this when it first appeared, might I direct you now to the comments? Things got a little batshit up in there.
This is my favorite part: “Perhaps I’m not making myself clear, so here’s another example. Your response to me is hostile and a bit angry. If I were writing an article about ‘hostile and a little bit angry’ comments I’ve received on this blog recently, this one would be included.”
Thank God NPR Now was playing Prairie Home Companion today, because if they’d been airing something listenable-to I might not have browsed through XM’s news channels and stumbled on this segment.
Description as per the BBC:
"Hundreds of thousands of people have fled from Somalia since civil war broke out there in the early 1990s.
Many of them go to refugee camps in Kenya, others to Tanzania - and many have spent more than 15 years living in those camps. But one group has been more fortunate than others - the Somali Bantu, whose ancestors were taken to Somalia as slaves from southern Africa in the 19th Century.
In 2001 the Somali Bantu were recognised as an especially vulnerable group by the United States and two years later 12,000 of them were airlifted out of the camps and flown to new, permanent homes in the United States.
Assignment’s Tim Mansel visits one group of them in the western city of Boise in Idaho.”
When I’m driving through parts distant and rural, I’m extra-careful about trying to avoid encounters with the police (or what I think of as the My Cousin Vinny Scenario).
Which is how I found this site. I recommend it highly for anyone else road-tripping this summer to parts unknown. Because I like to be servicey like that.
(I have yet to find a similar chart with regard to the placement of GPS devices. Windshield mounts used to be illegal in California, but you can now put a GPS either on the lower left-hand or lower right-hand sides of the windshield. And I think it might be illegal in either New Jersey or Minnesota. Or maybe both. This is why I don’t use a windshield mount.)
The first news I ever heard about original programming on Starz related to the television adaptation of Crash, so I can only assume that I subconsciously instructed my brain to ignore any further mentions of Starz, which is why it took me until this weekend to start watching catering comedy Party Down.
It might also have something to do with the fact that this show is getting practically zero publicity.
But this is a tragedy! Although the first couple of episodes are hit-or-miss, by the fourth episode the show kicks in with some Office-level laugh-while-you-kind-of-want-to-cry heart—which is nothing less than you’d expect given the people working on this thing. To recap:
The show was created by Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame), John Enbom and Dan Etheridge (also of Veronica Mars, but not so much of fame), and Paul Rudd (of Every Movie Made in the Past Year fame). And it stars Adam Scott, Lizzy Kaplan, Ryan Hansen, Jane Lynch (!), Martin Starr (!!!), and Ken Marino (!!!!!!!!!!!).
Which means that as far as I can tell, this is how Party Down came into being: Freaks & Geeks and Veronica Mars and The State had a baby. And then that baby grew up to become a group of disillusioned actors working for an LA-based catering company that only works parties hilariously populated by other Veronica Mars and The State alums.
I have to admit that part of the pleasure for me is seeing all of the familiar faces (and, in the case of Enrico Colantoni’s episode-one appearance, much more than that) from shows that I’ve loved. But I’m also increasingly impressed with the way the show manages to balance being almost cripplingly dark with having a big old sappy heart.
It’s not by any means perfect, and it’s almost shockingly low-budget, but it feels fresh and surprising (if a bit uneven) in an early-days-of-30-Rock sort of way. And it’s heartening to have some evidence that Hollywood still occasionally allows enormously talented people to get together and make something lovely and unexpected.
(If you don’t have Starz, there are a few episode you can find online. Or you can watch it for free via Netflix Instant.)
An incomplete list of works recommended by David Foster Wallace. (Via The Rumpus, a site whose title actually made me grind my teeth with envy the first time I saw it. This unnerves me because — let’s be honest — there’s something really messed-up about the idea of being jealous over a URL.)
(Another thing that unnerves me? My inability to figure out how to enter an em-dash outside of Word … oh! Wait! It’s option-shift-hyphen! Look: — — — — !!!)
EDITED TO ADD: Tumblr apparently automatically converts double-hypens into em-dashes. I feel significantly less accomplished now.
“So if we decrease the use of carbon dioxide, are we not taking away plant food from the atmosphere?”—John Shimkus (R-IL), member of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (via The Baseline Scenario)
This is one of the best online language tools I’ve stumbled across in maybe ever. And it’s far and away the best site I’ve ever found for learning to write Chinese characters.
Skritter combines modern “tests you more on the bits you always forget” flashcard technology with what I can only describe as a Nintendo DS-style input method and then wraps it all up in an interface that’s fresh and sleek and even occasionally witty.
If you’re interested in learning how to read and write Chinese - or if, like me, you studied Chinese for years, promptly forgot it all, and are now looking to review - I cannot recommend this site enough.
(Particularly because it’s still in beta and therefore free.)
“It is possible and often customary in Nootka to imply in speech some physical characteristic of the person addressed or spoken of, partly by means of suffixed elements, partly by means of “consonantal play.” Consonantal play consists either in altering certain consonants of a word, in this case sibilants, to other consonants that are phonetically related to them, or in inserting meaningless consonants or consonant clusters in the body of the word. The physical classes indicated by these methods are children, unusually fat or heavy people, unusually short adults, those suffering from some defect of the eye, hunchbacks, those that are lame, left-handed persons, and circumcised males.”—Edward Sapir, Abnormal Types of Speech in Nootka
(There’s a vague spoiler ahead … if you care. Which, honestly, you probably shouldn’t.)
This letter from (one of) the Watchmen scribe(s) basically begs people to go out and see Watchmen again this weekend to support “smart, dark entertainment on a grand, operatic scale.”
There are plenty of amateur Watchmen reviews floating around out there, and I don’t really care to throw my hat in that particular ring, but I will say this: in my mind, this adaptation was with a very few exceptions (Jackie Earle Haley) one of the dumbest fucking movies I have ever had the misfortune of seeing, a true achievement given the source material.
But I was willing to attribute the bulk of that stupidity to what I imagine was an epic clusterfuck of directorial hubris and studio retardation. Until I saw the letter’s penultimate line:
"Trust me. You’ll come back, eventually. Just like Sally."
Which, for those of you who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, means that we’ll “come back” in the manner of a victim of an attempted rape who has so completely lost her way and her identity and her sense of self-worth that she eventually returns to her would-be rapist for one night of consensual but still somewhat psychologically damaging sex.
I’m shocked they didn’t have this guy write the taglines for the poster.
(Via Videogum, not that I’m particularly pleased with them for alerting me to this.)
This is nothing less than outlandishly batshit, and yet I can’t help but respect the totality of her commitment.
"I make the following suggested directions … That the ‘meat’ of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbecue, to remind the world that the meat of a corpse is all flesh, regardless of whether it comes from a human being or another animal, and that flesh foods are not needed."
(Via my friend Alison, who claims this was linked somewhere on John Green’s blog. But I looked and couldn’t find it and don’t care enough to follow up. And let’s face it, I don’t think anyone’s going to get all up in my business because I didn’t give proper weird-shit-finding credit. Unless I manage to involve Justine Bateman.)
I don’t usually read the New Yorker because it makes me feel bad about myself, but lo! I have found a Shouts & Murmurs writer entertaining enough to overcome my psychological reservations. (And whose work I can propagate without feeling like a bourgeois asshole.)
(More of a bourgeois asshole, anyway.)
My favorite piece of his is linked above; my second-favorite can be found here.
I’m not the world’s biggest Slumdog Millionaire fan, but even the vague possibility of a Danny Boyle-helmed Bond film is heartening. Particularly after the entry from Marc “Why Show the Car Chase When I Can Photograph the Pretty Pretty Hubcabs” Forster.