Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He's Still Keith Hernandez

Via Awful Announcing we have learned that July 5 is Seinfeld Night at the Mets' farm team in Brooklyn. Presumably the Keith Hernandez bobblehead (click through if you don't believe me) only bobbles back and to the left. Quoting the site in full, because excerpting would not do it justice, here's what they have in store:
  • MCU Park will known as Vandelay Industries Park for one night only.
  • Mailmen in uniform get to throw out a ceremonial first pitch ("Hello Newman!")
  • Anyone who has a business card indicating that they are in fact a "Latex Salesman" will also receive a free ticket to the game.  If we call the number and it's some apartment on the Upper East Side, you won't qualify for the freebie. 
  • Fans can visit the information table for an "airing of grievances."
  • Closest to the pin / whale's blow hole competition ("Is that a Titleist?")
  • The foul poles will be known as Festivus Poles.
  • "Low-Talking" PA Announcer.
  • Elaine Dancing Contest
  • Everyone Runs the Bases Post-game...but anyone named Jerry gets a head start (Take that Duncan Meyer).
  • Game of "Risk" on the Concourse
  • Cereal eating contests
  • Anyone named George Costanza will be allowed to join our radio broadcast as a color analyst for an inning
  • Players in puffy shirts for batting practice.
This makes me want to re-grow my beard, buy a handmade vintage bike and head north!

The original piece in which the above was referenced is a great example of "I'm Keith Hernandez..." The woman actually looks a bit like Elaine Benes.

And, because "The Boyfriend" is still one of the greatest things I have ever seen on TV, I have to throw this is in as well:

OK, OK, fine, one more, if you insist:

Neocons, Paleocons and James Bond.

I got a big kick out of this conflict of views on who is the best James Bond between Jonah Goldberg and Taki Theodorscopulos (Just "Taki" usually). As it happens, I have read both of them for years and had drinks with both; Jonah at the various NRO get togethers and talks now and again and Taki in a memorable evening (for me) in the long closed "Z" club in D.C. The reason this conflict of views is so funny is that each man plays to his strengths and does not break character. Jonah, nerdy, knowledgeable and pop culture friendly and savy. Taki, worldly, old world, wealthy and a ranconteur who knows everybody of a certain set and despairs of modern mores. The young, middle-class, neocon and the old, wealthy, paleocon on James Bond. Jonah thinks Daniel Craig is a better actor than Sean Connery and I agree. But James Bond does not require an actor, he requires an icon. That is why, for all Craig has done with the franchise, I side with Taki and his personal take. Bond is bigger than life and so is Connery. I spend so little time in Gstaad however that I have no personal acquaintence with either Sir Sean or Sir Roger. Next week George Will is going to inform us why George Lazenby is the truly greatest bond if only we had the right sensibility.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

No Pining for the Fjords Here

Via the AV Club comes one of the more wonderful news stories I have seen in some time:

That is extremely silly and I expect the Colonel to show up at any time to put a stop to it.

And now for something completely the inspiration for the above:

Special thanks to Nick C. for allowing me to exercise right of first refusal on posting this.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

So THAT'S what emojis are for...

With the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones rapidly approaching, Cara Rose DeFabio (via YouTube and the Emoji Foundation) brings us an iPhone masterwork wrapping up Game of Thrones so far. To say this is a work of sheer genius is an understatement.

It goes fast which may require multiple viewings to take it all in. Or perhaps take random screen grabs to turn into a trivia game for your next GoT viewing party!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Notes from Mostly Underground

Many thanks to the WMATA for taking the train out of service conveniently at Farragut North, allowing me to do the above ground transfer to the Orange Line via Farragut Square.

Also, it's great to see that Farragut Square is now Food Truck Central. Wish it was like that when I worked there; the place was a culinary wasteland 10 years ago.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Take the Cannoli. Leave the Atmosphere.

Loyal reader and contributor Powaqattsi wishes to draw attention to the latest achievement of his fellow Sicilians. Behold the birth of the Sicilian Space Program!

Now I'm picturing a giant rotating pizza in orbit a la 2001.

Leave your best Chico Marx impression in the comments. 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Nemesis or Archenemy?

I just saw this piece by a fellow named Closterman. It was linked to by someone on National Review Online, so don't get the idea I read Esquire. It is very rare unless I'm reading Christopher Buckley or P.J. O'Rourke that I say I wish I'd written that. Well Closterman you enter the club. It used to be that on blogger you just pasted something and it linked. I am one of those ten percent who thinks HTML is a venereal disease:,0,1188415.story#axzz2vODeJDi7 And I haven't caught it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis Should Have Made More Movies-R.I.P.

So at the link below I learned that Harold Ramis has died at the age of 69. This is incredibly sad. Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray are more famous but Ramis is, as a movie maker and writer, even funnier than they are. His movies bear watching again and again. One aspect of them is the warmth of the characters. Caddyshack, Ghostbusters (I and II); National Lampoon's Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Back to School, Analyze This and particularly a movie I think will be watched in a hundred years from now, Groundhog Day, are never mean spirited. One masterpiece is a lot, five is amazing. (I count Groundhog Day, Animal House, Ghostbusters, Stripes and Back To School--in that order). As an actor he seemed to have enormous fun, he did a wonderful turn as a physician who makes house calls in As Good As It Gets. It appears Harold Ramis never got an Oscar--for anything. That shows the incredible undervaluing of comedy in Hollywood. Its by now a cliche but Harold Ramis really will be missed. Here are some Ramis clips:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Middle East and Middle Earth

Now President Obama as Grima Wormtongue is enough to turn off a lot of folks but the idea behind this was great.  That the inspiration came out of Turkey is also great as that country certainly has a window to the West.

I think the King of Morocco makes a good Prince of Dol Amaroth.  I also think that John Kerry is more Grima Wormtongue than Obama as he is the diplomat strengthening the evil forces.  The just departed Ariel Sharon was Théoden under a spell.  Also, The King of Jordan needs a place.   

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Ten Bloggers Blogging

Discerning eyes will have noticed a new name on the masthead, and really should get back to work.

We welcome FreeSteve to the fold and look forward to his contributions. He is the first actual paid writer to grace our masthead, not that we are paying him. Outside of his contributions to our written language, he is known for his Al Jolson and David Bowie impressions, sometimes within the same song.

His nom de blog suggests a desire for privacy so I ask those in the know to refrain from using his actual surname.

Job Opening in Edinburg. Coolest job in Scotland Not Having to Do With Scotch.

Ok, Gendry aside we see very few sword maker's apprentices in the culture. Apparently, someone is looking for one.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Second Draft Jokes

Did Bob Dylan just try to sell me a car during the Super Bowl? Well, at least it wasn't a Volt.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Even Better Than the Real Thing

I'm not what you'd call a football fan, I've never had the least inclination to play a football video game, and normally reading about a football video game would seem pretty pointless. This blog, however, is pure genius. We'll be lucky if the actual Super Bowl is half as entertaining.

It's worth running through previous Breaking Madden entries to get the full character of the author's assault upon the intent and spirit of the console game.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's the Arts, Tolkien Edition

Some of you may be aware that I am an enormous Tolkien geek, though not nearly as enormous as Stephen Colbert:

Nevertheless, I was intrigued to find out, via io9, about The Silmarillion Project, in which an artist is illustrating each chapter of Tolkien's version of the New Testament.

These do not necessarily correspond to my envisionings of the beings and places of early Middle-Earth but they are neat to contemplate.

Kommunisti s Koshkami

OK, back to the real business of this blog.

Via Lawyers, Guns and Money comes word of a site even JJV could love:

Communists with Cats! (i.e., the post title in English)

Although, to be honest, I'm a little worried about those Stalingrad cats, and not because I think they're vulnerable to German shellfire.

This Blog is My Blog, This Blog is JJV's Blog

When I saw the news that Pete Seeger had died, I counted to 1000, and was not disappointed, in the sense that I expected the pinched, mean vitriol that ensued. I like to think that Pete Seeger, were he paradoxically alive to read this particular obituary, would celebrate JJV's right to express such opinions, then set them to music and have everyone clapping and swaying by the time he got to the "Sea and the Sword" bit.

(While writing this, I managed to notice that JJV had actually updated his post with a slightly more conciliatory addendum, difficult as he made that to detect. I find the extensive quote from a "former red" ironic; I suppose some former fellow travelers are more equal than others.)

At the risk of self-plagiarism, albeit with a change of name, I will offer that Pete Seeger had a far more salutary effect on the world than Ronald Reagan. In fact, I was thinking that it would be far better to have things named after Mr. Seeger when, lo and behold, there is a movement to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after the longtime Hudson Valley resident.

Finally, as the ultimate contrast, I urge everyone to peruse Seeger's testimony before the quintesentially un-American House Un-American Activities Committee (with the highly appropriate-when-said-forcefully acronym HUAC). It may be one of the greatest (if regretfully repetitive) expressions of the true American spirit of the twentieth century. I for one would have named names and spent the rest of my life in shame and regret.

Rest in Peace to a truly great American.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger-No Hagiographies For A Regretful Ally of Stalin

I tend to like Pete Seeger's music but the glossing over of his deep Communism in his obituaries creates a false impression and is of a piece with the journalistic effort to exaggerate the Right's falings and white wash the Left's. There is no nice way to say it--for all/most of his life Pete Seeger was a willing supporter of the Party and idea that killed over a 100 million people in the last century. Stalin, Mao and Ho were all great guys according to him. He simply outlived Communism. Nor can he hide under the "peace" banner. There was never criticism of a Communist war and he was never for any peace that the Communists were not pushing. Here are two songs--one before Hitler attacked the Soviet Union (and while Stalin was divvying up Poland)--but after France and Britain were at war--and one after Stalin was attacked. Pete Seeger song on involvement in WW 2 before the Nazi’s attacked the USSR: Franklin D, listen to me, You ain’t a-gonna send me ‘cross the sea. You may say it’s for defense That kinda talk ain’t got no sense. Pete Seeger song after Hitler invaded the USSR Now, Mr. President You’re commander-in-chief of our armed forces The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses I guess you know best just where I can fight … So what I want is you to give me a gun So we can hurry up and get the job done! FDR was too anti-Nazi for Seeger until the Fuher attacked another death house state. Similiarly he railed against the attempt to save South Vietnam from Communist forces but said nary a word when they put hundreds of thousands to the Sea and the Sword. Pete Seeger was a troubadour and sang many a catchy tune. But his beliefs were not for an America any decent person would want to live in. Update: I do want to align myself with the more charitable commentary at, well Commentary. on Pete Seeger. I had also forgotten until reminded by the above article that, in fact, Pete Seeger was not an "unapologetic" former Communist where Stalin is concerned. The incomparable former red and powerful anti-communist and historian Ron Radosh learned to play the banjo from Seeger as a red diaper baby in the 50's and reaquainted himself with him later in life very movingly. This part is worth quoting: So I felt some trepidation when I got Mr. Seeger's letter. Surely he was angry, or at the least peeved, by my article. I had been a banjo student of his in the 1950s and regarded Mr. Seeger as my childhood hero and mentor. But for decades since then, I have been publicly identified as an opponent of much of what he has believed — that the Rosenbergs were innocent, for example, or that Fidel Castro was a friend of the poor. I almost fell off the chair when I read Mr. Seeger's words: "I think you're right - I should have asked to see the gulags when I was in [the] USSR." For years, Mr. Seeger continued, he had been trying to get people to realize that any social change had to be nonviolent, in the fashion sought by Martin Luther King Jr. Mr. Seeger had hoped, he explained, that both Khrushchev and later Gorbachev would "open things up." He acknowledged that he underestimated, and perhaps still does, "how the majority of the human race has faith in violence." More importantly, Mr. Seeger attached the words and music for a song he had written, "thinking what Woody [Guthrie] might have written had he been around" to see the death of his old Communist dream. Called "The Big Joe Blues," it's a yodeling Jimmie Rodgers-type song, he said. It not only makes the point that Joe Stalin was far more dangerous and a threat than Joe McCarthy - a man Mr. Seeger and the old left view as the quintessential American demagogue - but emphasizes the horrors that Stalin brought. "I'm singing about old Joe, cruel Joe," the lyrics read. "He ruled with an iron hand / He put an end to the dreams / Of so many in every land / He had a chance to make / A brand new start for the human race / Instead he set it back / Right in the same nasty place / I got the Big Joe Blues / (Keep your mouth shut or you will die fast) / I got the Big Joe Blues / (Do this job, no questions asked) / I got the Big Joe Blues." Mr. Seeger continued in his letter to me: "the basic mistake was Lenin's faith in [Party] DISCIPLINE!" He often tells his left-wing audiences, he said, to read Rosa Luxemburg's famous letter to Lenin about the necessity of freedom of speech. And despite all of my criticisms of Mr. Seeger over the years, he ended warmly, saying: "You stay well. Keep on." I was deeply moved that Mr. Seeger, now in his late 80s, had decided to acknowledge what had been his major blind spot - opposing social injustice in America while supporting the most tyrannical of regimes abroad. Mr. Seeger rarely performs anymore. But if he does, and if he sings this song, I suspect that few in the audience would have any idea of what it is about. And I doubt that any other singer today would cover it. Only an audience composed entirely of the now-aging old left veterans would understand it instantly. Undoubtedly, many of them would be shocked.

The Economy Is So Bad QEII Is Down to Her Last Corgi Chow.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is, incredibly the first post of the New Year. I have been experiencing operating difficulties but have perservered to bring you this news: If I were her I would personally issue Letters of Marque against pirates and such and fix up the old Castle heating system that way. Probably more money in just jumping Elton John and Paul McCartney up from knights to Earls for a few million. I mean, Elton has the ermine already...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Two Wheels Good

Masthead-space-occupier CRH has long been an avid cyclist, going all the way back to an attempted crossing of the Tappan Zee Bridge in the late 1970s. I imagine he needs to pull some of these maneuvers on the streets of DC.