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Not only is the election supposed to be about culture and not substance, but when we talk about substance, we must not say anything true.

My favorite part is where Hannity calls Kuttner “sir” while bullying him.


. . . or does something seem different around here?

When you’re all watching Jay Smooth on your own, I’ll stop posting this stuff. But here, from a roundup of old posts he has, is some genius media criticism on the difference between Fox News’s failings and CNN’s.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As I said before, it’s worth the wait till Joe Jackson comes in.

Because, even if we all have a little Elvis in us, I think Shatner has more than most.

From the day’s papers:

Berkeley protesters come down from the trees peacefully, after nearly two years.

Overnight stay for two at Hearst Castle, up for auction on eBay.

Photo by Flickr user brainchildvn used under a Creative Commons license.

I had to read this article three times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. Am I? Ezra and Matt add their kudos to a proposal to cap the speeds at which cars can go at 75 miles per hour. The reasoning?

30% of all traffic deaths can be attributed to speeding.

Note the lack of absolute speed mentioned. The deaths could be caused going 40 mph in a 25 zone on a rainy night and sliding on wet leaves, or blowing through a traffic light at 50.

I’m guessing that the writers here don’t drive much, and when they do, they’re either in a city, where they’re not driving fast because they’re stuck in downtown traffic, or they’re driving on the highway, where they’re going fast and enjoying the open road. They’re surely not going to speed while gridlocked; ergo, the speeding crashes must be happening at highway speeds. But there’s a lot of driving that doesn’t fall into those categories: small towns; rural roads; commutes in from suburbia, to name a few. One doesn’t have to be going 75 to be speeding, or to end up squashed.

(It’s not that there’s no risk to going fast, or no risk to speeding. There are, but this is reminding me of nothing so much as junior high sex ed, where perky adults theorize that kids are having sex because of a lack of ideas on what to do for dates, and propose mini-golf. )

Noble beast. Who, you know, eats dirt and stuff. But still.

On the Cross-Marin Trail in Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

I think Kelman can have this batch. Who says I don’t look after my people?

And yes, that’s a flamingo.

If you read the blogs I get mocked on do, you already know this, but I’m going to swim a mile in the fundraiser for the Women’s Cancer Resource Center for Oakland. Please give of your your charity here, and your mockery here, or here, or as normal, right here. Every little bit helps.

Again, donations received here.

Hi, everyone. This is not really Neddy writing, it’s Eric. But this was Neddy’s idea, and he started this post, which originally read, “I think it would be moderately amusing to execute this concept.” But then, we got carried away and actually executed said concept. Moderate Friday amusement in the political humor vein follows, with apologies to Mr. Copland; we really do ♥ you.

Since you’re just going to hate us Californians anyway, here are some unsubtle roses with our local Charlotte A. Cavatica in the foreground.

Well, nobody sent me a fancy lens.

Also, in case you’re interested in the peach crop: they seem to be falling while not completely ripe, is the situation. I blame the relatively cooler (only in the 90s, not the 100s) July.

Let me show you them. My friends.

I know, I could have repeated this trick, but I already did that trick. Anyway, the “before” picture is here.

On this week’s edition of The Now Show, you can hear Mitch Benn (previously, and here) respond musically to the “Tyson Homosexual” incident.

Sometimes gay, just means gay;
Sometimes it don’t refer to anything exotic or outré
Sometimes it doesn’t have a thing
To do with what you do with your or anyone else’s dingaling
Still you insist and protest
If I didn’t know better I might think you were a bit obsessed
Perhaps it’s you who feel you might just be that way
And by that way, I just mean gay.

You can tell your iTunes to download Radio 4’s free weekly Friday Night Comedy podcast, including The Now Show, here.

You don’t need me to tell you that Richard Price’s Lush Life is a great novel; Michael Chabon tells you all about it here. But it’s maybe worth further mentioning the way Price steeps his novel in the history of the Lower East Side. It echoes with names significant to a historian of the early 1900s: Riis, Cahan, Lemlich. They’re the names of people who tried to help the working people and immigrants of New York City: Riis who Theodore Roosevelt claimed inspired him to progressivism, Cahan who tried to invent an American Jewish socialism, Lemlich who organized the shirtwaist workers (except, notably, at Triangle).

Their New York has become the ruined foundation to Price’s punningly titled novelistic landscape of collapsed and desanctified synagogues, of basement hearths once home to aspiring immigrants, now witness to drug deals and thefts and the moral collapse of protagonist Eric Cash.

Also, if you like the major theme of The Wire—what corrupt institutions do to the individuals asked to persevere within them—then this is a good book for you. Go, read.

All right, everyone’s linked to this ludicrous column on Bush as Batman, but so far as I can see nobody’s taken the time to explain why it’s wrong. Below, with spoilers.

Before I go there: not only is the Dark Knight Batman not a Bush conservative, the Clash were not conservative. Dylan was not conservative. By the standards of the modern Republican Party, Theodore Roosevelt was not conservative. (Bonus on the middle TR link: neither was Winston Churchill.) Why would partisans of a movement claim as antecedents and allies people who would have been puzzled if not nauseated at the thought?

UPDATED: Ackerman on the subject; very good. Beaudrot on the subject; fine, but wrong. Transformers are a novelty created to sell action toys. Batman is a longstanding American myth, repeatedly reinterpreted, and like it or not central to the way Americans think about urban crime and corruption. (As is Dirty Harry.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Clearly, it helps to have real artists to do these things. Vanity Fair gets into the New Yorker-ribbing act with a John McCain cover that features the GOP-er, using a walker, giving Cindy the terrorist fist jab while she clutches a bundle of prescription drugs; together they bask in the glow of W.’s portrait and the U.S. Constitution on the fire.

But is it satire, dear reader? And if so, is it funny? Should it be depicted as the thought-ballooned imaginings of some hippie blogger, his browser faithfully tuned to Daily Kos? Oh, what analysis must come.

Inasmuch as I am now the same age my father was when the Police released their last studio album, what better time, then, to see the Police in concert, with Elvis Costello opening?

I went with my brother to the second show at Red Rocks. Elvis Costello played a good, short set with “the Imposters” as backers. Highlights included “Alison” with Sting on vocals, and an excellent rendition of “(What’s so Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” for the closing number.

The Police played a great couple of sets, featuring just the three of them on stage. They played terrifically well.

Unless I’m mistaken (I didn’t take notes) the first set focused on the solid middle three albums, opening with “Message in a Bottle,” while the second set consisted entirely of songs from Outlandos d’Amour and Synchronicity. They were so evidently having an excellent time (especially Stewart Copeland, who grinned hugely after pretty much every song) that the brooding stuff (“King of Pain,” say) came off pretty insincerely. The brisker material went extremely well: “Every Little Thing She Does,” “De Do-Do-Do,” and especially “So Lonely,” “Can’t Stand Losing You” (with “Reggatta de Blanc” in the middle), “Demolition Man,” and the closer, “Next to You.” They did everything at a high tempo—and volume, with Copeland’s signature cracks being palpable.

In all, a rare example of people who not only had their heyday during the Reagan administration and are still flogging the same material, but who sound even better now.

Just, wow. I know everyone else is doing it, but this is amazingly cool. Below is a Wordle for Blessed among Nations.

And here is one for Edge of the American West. This is less satisfactory because it apparently picks the recent RSS feed, so it overrepresents very new stuff. Still:

(1) Every time I hear or read that Jim Gordon is in charge of the “Major Crimes Unit” in The Dark Knight, I imagine him as played by Lance Reddick.

(2) Jim Gordon, Batman; McNulty, Stringer Bell; Gregory House; Apollo. All British actors playing American types. Does that seem like a lot?

Just because this is a much better example of a singer performing with the Muppets.

This is officially an award-winning blog

HNN, Best group blog: "Witty and insightful, the Edge of the American West puts the group in group blog, with frequent contributions from an irreverent band.... Always entertaining, often enlightening, the blog features snazzy visuals—graphs, photos, videos—and zippy writing...."