10/30/01 - As if you hadn't heard enough bad news lately, Gore is currently skulking about New Hampshire. Let's get it together, Dems. In related news, Gore delivers emergency Presidential address to bathroom mirror (Sent via High Industrial.) Bill Kristol lambasts the Dubya Administration for its current war plan (although this story suggests they might be moving in Kristol's direction.) And Ernest May isn't big on the Office of Homeland Security. But at least they finally figured out that Ari Fleischer is incompetent. Despite America's New War and all its myriad fronts, Republicans find time to hamstring the District. In the wake of 9.11, Churchill enjoys a Renaissance. Forget the IRA, says Tom Oliphant. It's the Unionists that are holding up the Irish Peace Process. In one of the stranger moments of post-9.11 (or post-Anthrax) revisionism I've heard, Susan's death by toxic stamps on Seinfeld has been shelved. The NBA (and MJ) return tonight with Jordan v. Sprewell, and I couldn't be happier. (Well, maybe if Camby wasn't hurt again, and we had a legitimate center, and...) Finally, there'll be something on TV again besides Farscape reruns. The first of three back-to-back Episode II trailers arrives Friday with Monsters, Inc., and the studios aren't digging it. No. 2 will appear the 9th on dvd.starwars.com, No. 3 will show before Harry Potter on the 16th. Recent celebrity sightings: Saw Donald "Hal" Moffat (The Thing, Clear and Present Danger, the Logan's Run TV show) taking in ABT at City Center on Friday night. Gillian danced in Black Tuesday, a Depression-era piece I've seen before and absolutely love (It's tailor-made for History buffs.) And the lovely Claire Danes (My So-Called Life, Romeo + Juliet) was dancing up a storm relatively nearby at the New Yorker's Against Violence benefit (Beastie Boys, B-52's, The Strokes, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Cibo Matto, Rival Schools, Benjamin Barber) Sunday night. Ms. Danes rose considerably up the Murphometer with her dancing skillz...alas, her rise was paralleled by the fall of the B-52's, who in a 45 minute set somehow couldn't find time to play "Love Shack." Be realistic, guys...you're opening for the Beasties (at a benefit, no less), so give the people what they want. In their defense, though, they did play "Rock Lobster."
10/24/01 - Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz explores Love and Theft. Nice timing, guys. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Burnham Institute publish new breakthroughs in a cure for anthrax. In related news, the FBI post the Anthrax letters. "'If we're a primary target, us leaving town limits the collateral damage to staff,' said Idaho Republican senator Larry E. Craig, in the wake of dozens of anthrax exposures on the Hill." James Ridgeway looks at Congress running scared. Tom Oliphant praises Powell's winter message, while the Pentagon pushes the winter deadline. Robert Reich checks out who'll be footing the bill for the War on Terrorism under the new Republican tax plan. Hint: It's not the rich. Salon trashes the McCartney benefit. I'm still staggered by it's awfulness. Third time's the charm. The NASA Odyssey enters Mar's orbit. Dems may now have a fondness for Giuliani, but as Slate points out, the nation's conservatives are getting to like Tony Blair. David Plotz assesses Blair's support for the war and discovers that, at least overseas, Wilsonian internationalism lives on. And, while I'm paying respect to our British friends, England relaxes its cannabis laws. Alas, I doubt this burst of common sense across the Atlantic is going to engender any reevaluation of our federal drug war incarceration rates, particularly during the prosecution of America's New War. I mean, if California's Prop 36 didn't make a dent. TNR scrutinizes Mark Earley's fearmongering in the Virginia Gubernatorial race. The Bush administration downplays the idea of an anti-Saddam Phase 2...for now. Scorsese's rumored next film: Alexander the Great with Leonardo DiCaprio? I guess they got along better on Gangs of New York than earlier reported. Spoiler Alert. A Lucasfilm insider details Episode II Trailer B, which should premiere Nov. 9 with Harry Potter, one week after the first teaser runs with Monsters, Inc.
10/22/01 - The View from Smalltown USA: Chuck Palahniuk on 9.11. (Via LinkMachineGo via Plasticbag.) Miami opens a shrine to Elian. "One poster bore photos of a contemplative Elian and called him 'The Miracle Child.' It read 'A mischievous, charming soul that will never be just like any other boy.'" Frickin' beautiful, isn't it? Just brings a tear to the eye. How the mighty have fallen...even Gore loyalists are now saying Bush is a better prez for these dark times. I disagree (they both would suck), but hopefully such statements will further discourage Gore from running in 2004. While on the subject of '00 also-rans, did anybody see McCain on Letterman the other night? According to my friend, it went something like this:
10/19/01 - It begins...ground troops move out in Afghanistan. Tom Ridge gets several low marks for his debut as Homeland Security czar. Old friend Seth Stevenson queries, Is Islam peaceful? DC Metro contemplates adding Georgetown to the blue line. I'm with Hawking. Big time spoiler review of the current cut of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Read if you dare. Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld, courtesy of reader Elizabeth Perry. Ang Lee casts the Incredible Hulk and it's Eric Bana, most notably of Chopper. (Thanks much to Lots of Co. for the links and head's up.)
10/14/01 - Terrorists planned to blow up Disney World? Oh, man, that's cold. For your viewing enjoyment, the trailer for Vanilla Sky, Cameron Crowe's next. (Via High Industrial.) Is 9.11 a hinge moment? Dylan's fall tour has begun, and unsurprisingly, "Masters of War" is making the setlists. It's nice to see Blood on the Tracks creeping in there, too. How great would it be to hear "Simple Twist of Fate" live? Cary Elwes on The X-Files? Ah, Sculley, now it's really time to go. But, hey, maybe she'll get a desk this season. Austin "Danger" Powers picks Beyonce for Goldmember - apparently, she'll play a Pam Grier-like spy. Nice people everywhere, what to do? Michael Kinsley explores the Seattleification of NYC. Free speech is tested on campuses across America. Frank Foer evaluates David Forte, one of Dubya's top advisers on Islam. The Post looks at the growing faith in governance since 9.11. Nader weighs in on the bombing of Afghanistan. Don't call it a comeback. Jordan gets ticked and goes for 18 in the first quarter against the Heat. Well, just so long as he's not dropping 'em on the Knicks I supposed it's ok. Hmmm...somehow my last post got eaten. That's not good. Perhaps it's time to move off the Geocities homestead and strike out on my own.
10/6/01 - We are in Blair Witch territory, letting our imaginations filigree the unknown and unseen, bracing for the next terrible thing. Maureen Dowd expounds on the dark cloud that has descended upon the nation's capital since 9-11. Jacob Weisberg examines Dubya's expert on Afghanistan, a former Columbia professor. Paul Krugman calls out Dubya's recent tax proposals for what they are - a shameless attempt to pass neocon voodoo economics under the guise of wartime bipartisanship. Joe Conason excorciates the White House for their lies about Dubya's 9-11 Nebraska trip. Waiting for a good movie? The first trailer for Soderbergh's Ocean's 11 is now online, as is the second cut on Michael Mann's Ali. Quentin Tarantino talks about his two upcoming projects, Kill Bill and Inglorious Youth. So that's what they mean by flame-broiled. Caught a few bands in the East Village last night, including The Realistiks, which were quite a nice blend of punk, alt-rock, and new wave keyboards. They were followed by the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a punk-cabaret act which, to pilfer a line from Hunter Thompson, would be the biggest group in America if Germany had won World War II. Accordian solos and everything...the perfect music for the month of Oktoberfest and Halloween.
10/3/01 - Columbia University gets a new president. The teaser for Black Hawk Down, featuring the lyrical stylings of Bobby Dylan. The Ashcroft Anti-Terrorism Bill stalls in the Senate, thanks to civil libertarians like Patrick Leahy. Take your time, Senators, take your time. USA Today looks at Psyops. Ann Coulter loses it, and even the National Review is forced to admit it. Will the death penalty hinder extradition of terrorists to the US by the European Union? It appears so. And, when it comes to people who want to martyr themselves anyway, the EU has an even stronger case than usual. Arthur Schlesinger ponders what the New War means for Democratic candidates in 2002. How to survive a bioterrorist attack. On this issue, the Fear and Loathing is coming on strong. I can't tell you how many people have asked me recently if I'm buying a gas mask. Not to mention the folks who are moving out of NYC for good as a result of the attacks. Call me fatalistic, but if somebody unleashes a chemical weapon on Manhattan, then screw it, they got me. I don't relish the prospect of a slow, agonizing pustular death, but I'm still more worried about getting hit by a truck while crossing the street than I am about the vapors. Besides, chances are any disease will have long incubated before symptoms appear anyway, and then what good would a gas mask do you? It's a bit like the people who are now afraid to fly since 9-11. Well, for one any terrorist organization worth its salt isn't going to keep attacking us the same way - if the intent of such attacks is to promote terror, then the best way to do is to keep switching M.O.'s. That means, the plane thing's been done. Secondly, as this horrible Greyhound tragedy shows, strange and bizarre acts of violence can happen at any time for any reason in this world, so IMHO it's best to just get on with your life. Spree preps for MJ's return. Marvel goes to the mat to save The Authority from DC. What goes around comes around, I figure. Remember back when DC was the together one and Marvel couldn't stop screwing up? Booyah. Farscape gets renewed for two more seasons. Ben Affleck as Daredevil? I dunno...that's kinda lame. Why not Guy Pearce?
10/1/01 - September 11 screenshots of 100 news sites, via Plasticbag. A Faustian bargain: Will America forsake human rights concerns to gain the support of key Central Asian regimes? The Sportsguy questions Cal's pantheon status. I'm inclined to agree. Well, well, isn't this just a great way to start a new term? And with Judge Starr present to boot. So much for trying to restore a semblance of impartiality to the Court. Don't you people have anything better to do than pick old scabs? Wizards home tickets sell out in minutes. My friend Mark and I were able to score two $10 "obstructed view" seats over the Internet for the Wizards home opener vs. Philly. The return of MJ vs. Allan Iverson is definitely worth a road trip to the old 'hood. I might also try to get a ultra-cheap ticket for the Knicks-Wizards home opener here at MSG, if such a thing exists. Burger King wants to test your Tolkien knowledge. Hints: Think Aragorn's "first" name and use the full title of the first book. I missed the first SNL episode of the new season, but Paul Simon notwithstanding it sounds like I didn't miss much. Why now indeed? So much for the End of Welfare As We Know It. The LA Times examines the gaping holes in the safety net exposed by recession. Stephen Jay Gould weighs in again on the attacks, remembering his Papa Joe. In yet another great column, Maureen Dowd calls out Ari Fleischer for the Bill Maher misunderstanding of last week. (Apparently, Fleischer has since repudiated his earlier comments.) Almost three weeks after the WTC attacks, movies return to normal. Speaking of which, I thought Zoolander was great cheesy fun, particularly if you're a sucker for well-placed cameos. David Halberstam discusses discusses terrorism and war in a time of peace with Salon. A fascinating article, and he takes the time to deride Tom Brokaw for The Greatest Generation to boot. Of course I'm grateful for the sacrifices the Depression-WWII generation made in a time of crisis. How could one not be? So many gave their lives to preserve democracy against the forces of tyranny. But, were they still the Greatest Generation when they turned fire hoses on black children? Every generation has its defining moment - for that of my (English) great-grandparents, it was World War I; for that of my grandparents, it was the Depression and World War II; for that of my parents, it was the Civil Rights Revolution. The real question is not which generation is "greatest," but how each generation will respond to the crises peculiar to their time. For us, well, that's still up in the air, even after the events of 9-11. One of the great riffs in Fight Club is Tyler Durden's diagnosis of Gen-X/Y malaise: "Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is a spiritual war. Our depression is our lives." How will we make a difference? I don't know. But the challenge before us at the moment is to prosecute this new kind of war without sacrificing the essential civil liberties that make the American Experiment worthwhile. It's as good a place to start as any.