A special (midnight!) thank you to girlfriend of ibiteryoureyes for pointing out this injustice – Time Out New York’s latest magazine issue that calls for hipsters to die.

You know, TONY, I have two beefs with you.

  1. While falling short of stealing my idea, you stole my hipster hatin’ thunder (the sort of thunder that likes loose fit jeans!), and that upsets me because…
  2. You pulled a goddamn hipster-ish stunt in doing it. I scanned and skimmed and perused your articles, TONY (not Soprano). And I noticed something that seemed interesting – they’re all silly articles that seem to say even less than they weigh. You know, like a hipster’s clothing, a hipster’s tone of voice, a hipster’s art, a hipster’s sister (hipsta sista!). So, like, in calling attention to these silly willies, you, uh, kind of implicate yourself in their…silly willy ness. Silly, silly willy illy TONY.

Here’s the thing and there’s its shadow – by paying so much attention, and devoting an entire issue to these peoples, you are giving them exactly what they need and want. You know, attention, something that they didn’t get in high school. Especially not from your writers, who at the same spot on the ol’ maturation timeline, were too busy writing everyone’s yearbook profile, or writing an investigative in-depth feature article column about the girls’ soccer team.

That’s right. You were looking for cool, TONY, and you found it. Everyone at Yesterday’s Salad is cooler than you, cooler than all the hipsters, and every girls’ soccer team everywhere.

That’ll teach ya to steal muh thunda.

TONY? (Not Soprano!) …like a close-up picture of yo mama and yo papa bumpin the boogy…

ibiteyoureyes.

Can you blog without the internet, or is this just keeping a horribly insincere and muddled journal? I’m certainly not setting before my fellows a true and accurate image of man. No matter; Dash is a-travelling today, trading in his Davis Square Dandyism for Hyde Park haunts and Wilmette Willows. In order to get a good fare home I flew JetBlue to New York where I currently sit at the dawn of a four hour layover. Worse, my promised free internet has yet to materialize. Who knows when this will be posted. The flight itself was nice. The much vaunted Direct TV service is hindered by the fact that there’s never anything good on morning TV. The highlight was the XM radio. There’s just something about taking a dip with Lucy and Ethel in the morn. Overall, JetBlue kind of seems like the H & M of airlines: highly fashionable, reasonably priced, but lacking substance. Basically, no airline is a real airline until they fly to London. Still, no matter what, JetBlue is a hell of a lot better than skybus.

But the real subject of today’s post is my continuing mission to watch every best picture and director nominee of all-time. Recently, Nate braved the Chinatown bus (and weird Harvard professors) and came to Boston to finish watching 1989 (1990 Awards). Here’s what I thought:

Wildcards:

Crimes and Misdemeanors. I really enjoy this movie, but less and less so on repeat viewing. Given the film’s weight, I also find myself surprisingly more drawn to the Woody Allen character than to Martin Landau (who gives a great performance). When I first saw C and M, I was more impressed with Landau and Woody (the director’s) daft switching between the film’s light-hearted elements and pulsating seriousness. This time around, the Woody Allen character was the standout. His character’s sadness is much better realized and immediate. This time, Landau’s actions felt overly rash and poorly thought out. Match Point doesn’t have these problems. Crimes and Misdemeanors without the (misdemeanors?) Woody Allen type, Match Point focuses on the tormented lover, fleshing him out, and improving that part of the story. Match Point is really a model for late-career artistry: revisiting what has come before with the skills of a life-time. Match Point probably deserves to be on the list; C & M certainly does. A-/B+
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A story broke yesterday that sent my stomach for a flip (although it could have been all the eyes that I bit – it was one of those days). Paul Newman essentially announced his retirement from acting.

Some info regarding Mr. Newman’s announcement can be found here, courtesy of The Movie Blog, courtesy of Good Morning America. The gist of it, though: Paul is finally, at 82, feeling old.

At first I was sad. I wanted to see that rumored “one more picture” (it would have been a picture, not a movie) that Mr. Newman and the one and only Robert Redford had discussed doing, if the right script came along. That rumor eventually spawned a title, hinting that a script might have been found, but I forget what that title was and now I don’t care.

At this point I should explain that I have been mentally preparing myself for Paul Newman’s umm…retirement…for about three years now. I know he’s been “old” for longer than that – but he’s just not a man you believe will…retire. That should illustrate just how much Paul Newman’s very living-breathing existence means to me on a day-to-night-to-day-to-night basis. To take it one step further: this is almost exactly how I feel about my grandfather.

Look (see! put on ya bifocals!) ibiteyoureyes has never denied it – he’s a throwback when it comes to books, movies…American culture. And that’s not a grammatical error, I often feel like I am actually connected to such older materials, and, thus (thus on the bus Gus) consider myself a part of said (here lies Fred, he is dead) “throwback” movies, books, culture. This is why my favorite poem is Miniver Cheevy. Not even a great poem – but it’s all I got.

Except I also have Paul. Many of us have Paul. And now, he’s retiring. Because he’s tired. Because he’s old. And I don’t blame him. It’s an unsurprisingly class move. And not many people in the modern era have even been in the position to make such a move.

I’m sure the articles will start soon. “Paul’s hung em’ (boots, pistols, cue sticks, etc) up. He’s tired. I love Paul. Here’s a list of all his movies, along with a few thinly veiled self-serving lines about why I, [insert name of writer] loved them.”

And you know what? That’s fine. Read the rest of this entry »

Ever since the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer decorates his apartment with the set of the old Merv Griffin show, I’ve wanted to have my very own TV living room. Well, the wait just may be over: someone has decided to sell the set to TV’s Family Feud on ebay! Even better, it’s only at $275. Sadly, shipping is estimated at $5000, but you can’t put a price on true happiness anyway.

While the Family Feud set is tempting, here are the sets I’m holding out for: Lovey and Thurston Howell III’s hut from Gilligan’s Island; Death Star trash compacter; Wayne’s basement; the Oval office from The West Wing.

Fun with the OED

May 28, 2007

We do a lot of word blogging around here, but our posts mostly stick to definitions and etymologies. They’ll still be plenty of that, but tonight, we’re going to focus on some of the great quotes in the OED, which, come to think of it, is really what makes the OED so great in the first place. And since we’re going to be looking at quotes, we should pick a word whose essence has stimulated countless writers, a word whose very use inspires the world around to alight in poetic flames, and dance ‘neath the embers: Whiskey (or, Whisky).

The word comes from the Gaelic uisgebeatha literally meaning, “water of life.” The original English version of the word was “whiskybae” which is much closer to the Gaelic than our current form. Whisky should not be confused with “Whisky n-2” which was a type of 19th century one-horse carriage, and was in turn derived from the verb “whisk.” A good way to remember the difference is to remind yourself that if you have to much whisky you wont be able to drive your whisky. At least, that’s how I remind myself when I drunkenly time-travel.

Most of the quotes in the straight whiskey section [I won’t comment on my great pun; instead, a note: my spelling of whiskey is inconsistent, sometimes using the English form “whisky” and others the American “whiskey.” A distinction is also sometimes made between Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey. Spelling-wise, I find myself torn between my love of Queen and Country.] simply define what Whiskey is. The real beauty comes in figurative language.

Here’s a good Chandler simile: “Farewell my Lovely xiii. 82 She wore a hat with a crown the size of a *whisky glass.”

Or a nice little piece from Saul Bellow: Dangling Man 179 ‘Took you in it at last, didn’t I!’ I exclaimed. ‘You damned old *whisky-head.’

The best of the lot (as a Whiskey-ographer, not author) is probably Graham Greene: Lawless Roads vi. 161 ‘He was just what we call a *whisky priest.’.. He had taken one of his sons to be baptized, but the priest was drunk.”

Sadly there are no great quotes for “whiskey-v”, “to supply with whisky, to give a drink of whisky to.” Even more surprising is the fact that the verb is only transitive. Can I only whisky others? It would seem propriety has the last laugh in the whiskey world.

A long time ago, when the Justice League and Superfriends were hot-hot-hot, Power Records released “Songs and Stories of the Justice League.” In addition to songs about Wonder Woman and The Flesh, the record bizarrely included a song for Metamorpho, the Element Man (this despite the fact that Metamorpho had refused induction in said social club). Leaving aside questions of Metamorpho’s standing, the Metamorpho number is the standout track on an otherwise worthless album. The song has a quasi-religious feel, having been constructed to sound like an upbeat version of that old spiritual, “Go Down Moses.” Here’s a lyrical example (mp3 here):

This is the story of the element man [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

Starts out in old Egypt land [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

Rex mason was his real name [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

A soldier of fortune didn’t care about fame [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

It occurred to me the other day, rewatching Field of Dreams with Nate, the Earl of Enemclaw, that Ray Liotta would have made a good Metamorpho. He’s a semi-tragic figure, never quite as appreciated as he perhaps should have been; a terrific performer when handled by the right creators, yet someone who just seems like he’s mailing it in the rest of the time. Feel free to apply that sentence to Liotta, or Metamorpho.

The truth is Ray Liotta bckcft2ot7g.jpgprobably never had a chance as a serious leading man in Hollywood. As a young man there was something magically grizzled about him. He was handsome and terrifying at the same time. His Shoeless Joe was a scarred figure. Unlike D. B. Sweeney’s Shoeless Joe in Eight Men Out, Liotta’s Joe understands the magnitude of what he’s done. The rest of the characters white-wash Joe’s actions, but Liotta’s portrayal belies this simple rereading of history. Joe may have played well in the World Series, but he took the money. Liotta’s Joe doesn’t shy away from what has happened; he has come to the enormity of his actions. Perhaps he’s had his Nick Carroway moment.

The idea staggered me. I remembered of course that the World’s Series had been fixed in 1919 but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely HAPPENED, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people–with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.” Read the rest of this entry »