Conjuring Political, Cinematic, Cultural, and Athletic Arcana since 1999


"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."
- Abraham Lincoln


The Crucible of War, Fred Anderson

Recent Tomes
Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge, Bernard Cohn
Race and the Education of Desire, Ann Stoler
Civil Tongues and Polite Letters, David Shields
The Care of Strangers, Charles Rosenberg
Citizens of the World, David Hancock
Dominance Without Hegemony, Ranajit Guha
Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland, Ronald Hoffman
Bad Blood, James Jones
Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson
The Transformation of Virginia, Rhys Isaacs


Ocean's Eleven (8.5/10)

Visions Past
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (5/10)
The Man Who Wasn't There (9.5/10)
Waking Life (9/10)
Monsters, Inc. (9/10)
From Hell (9/10)
Mulholland Drive (9.5/10)


Love and Theft, Bob Dylan

Vespertine, Bjork

11/30/01 -

Aw, man...R.I.P. George Harrison 1943-2001.
"All things must pass, all things must pass away."
"I look at you all, see the love there that's sleeping, while my guitar gently weeps."

11/29/01 - Hey y'all...still here, just in paper Hell, and it's gonna last for at least another two weeks.

December 19...The ring draws closer, and this Czech site has the pics to prove it.

This is the best news I've heard in months. China wants to restart the space race, beginning with a moon landing. What better way to channel Sino-American tension and military-industrial complex millions than into colonizing the stars? It's just the impetus we needed. Now if we just keep finding atmospheres...

Officer Shaq? "'He would definitely make an imposing officer,' said Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons. 'I'd love to see Shaq be the first through the door on a drug warrant.'"

In other basketball news, the Cambyman is back, but can he salvage the Knicks' season?

Speaking of happy returns, Dahlia Lithwick is back on the case at the Supreme Court. On the slate this time: online pornography.

At this time of crisis, it's good to know all Americans can agree on one thing: Attorney General Ashcroft is possibly incompetent and definitely dangerous.

Oops...I take that back: we don't agree. Paging James Madison...we got some tyranny-of-the-majority issues up in here that are going to need an institutional fix. You couldn't ask for a better example of the problems with governance-by-polling.

Will New York get both conventions in '04? Haven't we been through enough already without the GOP descending on us?

'In the land of the blind, he's the one-eyed king,'' said a prominent Democrat shortly before the terror attacks. The New York Times on Colin Powell's world.

Arctic volcanoes. Um, this sounds very interesting and all, but haven't these Arctic researchers seen The Thing?

David Broder calls out the Dems for the accelerated primary schedule.

As you might expect, Dylan at the Garden was amazing, with "Forever Young" and a revamped "Things Have Changed" standing out as highlights, although the Towson show of last year still remains my favorite. This is not some Steve Miller nostalgia act, folks. This is as immediate as anything going nowadays. Here's the setlist:

Wait For The Light To Shine (acoustic) (Larry on mandolin)
It Ain't Me, Babe (acoustic) (Bob on harp)
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (acoustic) (Larry on bouzouki)
Searching For A Soldier's Grave (acoustic) (Larry on mandolin)
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Just Like A Woman (Bob on harp and Larry on pedal steel)
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Lonesome Day Blues
High Water (For Charley Patton) (Larry on banjo and Charlie on slide guitar)
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (acoustic) (Bob on harp)
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
John Brown (acoustic) (Larry on bouzouki)
Summer Days (Tony on standup bass)
Sugar Baby (Tony on standup bass)
Drifter's Escape (Bob on harp)
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35(Larry on steel guitar)

Things Have Changed
Like A Rolling Stone
Forever Young (acoustic)
Honest With Me (Larry on slide guitar)
Blowin' In The Wind(acoustic)
All Along The Watchtower

11/19/01 - DNC chief Terry McAuliffe argues for a quicker Presidential primary process, no doubt to further extend the grip of the party poobahs over the process. Also in this article, is Russ Feingold laying groundwork for his own bid? Oooh...that could be interesting.

A Salmon of a Doubt, the last unfinished Hitchhiker's novel by the late great Douglas Adams, arrives in May.

Even in Manhattan, this was something else.

After losses to the Nets and Clips, even I have to admit it: the Knicks are garbage.

Forget about excessive radio consolidation, reduced rate political air time, the bandwidth crunch, or low power FM, let's fret about Victoria's Secret! Ah, the Powell FCC.

Well, despite its record-breaking take, Harry Potter turned out to be extremely ho-hum, as everyone feared when Chris Columbus took the helm. Hopefully the law of averages will kick in to make Fellowship that much better.

Spiderman's reaction to 9.11, and even Dr. Doom is moved (He is? Perhaps Latvia has its own terrorist issues.) (Via LinkMachineGo.)

Can't write much...Gill and I are off to see that pop singing sensation Bobby Dylan tonight at the Garden. Got to keep up with what the kids are listening to, after all. If it's half as good as the Towson show last year it's worth twice the ticket.

11/15/01 - The Taliban are routed (Naturally, this is when the French decide to join in), and now the interdiction phase begins. Perhaps we won't need ground troops after all.

Since it's been awhile since I posted a pic and since today is an anniversary of sorts (see below), here's Berkeley against my graduate housing institutional gray carpet. Gettin' to be a hairy little fella, ain't he? Still got the evil eye, though.

Dubya buries the Reagan papers. Now why would he want to do a thing like that?

Robert Reich looks for compromise on the stimulus package.

TNR lists the dumbest things said since 9.11. It's telling of the Gore Republic's lack of vision and general lameness these days that they're once again savaging the goofy antiwar left more than the crazies on the right. (Falwell's well-publicized anti-gay rant immediately comes to mind.)

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin...he's not above looking goofy with Dubya and playing cowboy in the heart of Texas. I'll wonder if they'll stop by the Bush estate in Connecticut as well.

Ashcroft shows his colors yet again. Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Harsh words on Dubya's "kangaroo courts", and they're by William Safire to boot.

Grr...NASA gets a new chief, and not only is he more beancounter than explorer, he's a Cheney hack. "'He has an interest in the military uses of space, but he's not a space visionary,' said Pat Dasch, executive director of the National Space Society."

My summer research project, Bill Press's Spin This!, is now in stores.

Mmmm, pork...the other white meat.

In the post 9.11 world, Tolkien resonates. Speaking of which, is Narnia next?

Spiderman hides and the Green Goblin rides in two new clips on the official site.

The new Black Hawk Down trailer is up too...looks nice, but I could do with a lot less of the "I didn't ask to be a hero" stuff, and I don't remember much of that in the Bowden book.

Ghost in the Machine is two years old today. The updates may be less frequent but GitM is still chugging along, even amid the rough-and-tumble of final paper season.

11/9/01 - An amazing aerial shot of the 9.11 damage. (Via Lake Effect, who also posted some intriguing war advice on 11/2.)

Jacob Weisberg ponders the imponderable - Can House Republicans still reach a new low?

They report, they decide? Mike Kinsley reexamines Republican attitudes toward media bias since 9.11.

Civil liberties continue to erode in the post-9.11 era with Ashcroft's plan to eavesdrop on lawyer-client calls.

In related news, Ashcroft plans to reorganize the Justice Department for wartime - "Justice will abandon or reduce manpower devoted to many of its current responsibilities, which range from civil rights enforcement to prosecuting environmental polluters." Oh, that stuff bored the Reverend anyway - he'd much rather go after such heinous offenses to his religiosity as assisted suicide and medicinal marijuana.

Extremist send another round of (fake) Anthrax mailings to abortion clinics, this time via FedEx. Why do I get the sense that this is exactly the type of thing Ashcroft's "new" Justice Dept. doesn't give a hoot about?

Meet the Democratic Hawks, Kerrey, Lieberman and Biden. While I'm inclined to agree on the question of ground troops, I'm sure it's just a coincidence that all three fancy themselves Presidential contenders.

Senate Dems fight back with their own incentive plan. Phil Gramm hating it is always a good sign.

According to Dark Horizons, the official Ep. II teaser poster is the one posted here 10/22 (scroll down), except Hayden has a bigger lightsaber and Natalie has (ahem) a larger bust. Also, the special AOTC trailer for DVD-buyers premieres sometime today at

Take that, Stephon Marbury. Don't look now, but with Jason Kidd at the helm the New Jersey Nets are actually good. Consider me on the bandwagon.

11/7/01 - The Dems, who are renewing their call for election reform (no word, obviously, on opening up the debates), win big in New Jersey and Virginia.

Closer to home, NYC picked a new mayor. I watched the mayoral debates over the weekend and, man, these guys are sorely lacking. Ah well, Bloomberg it is. I've already made my thoughts known on Green in an earlier post (10/22), so, IMHO, no great loss for the city.

Tommy Thompson orders smallpox vaccines for all. Great, but it's looking once again like they could have better spent those $600 tax refunds.

Sam Raimi releases this publicity shot of the Green Goblin in flight. Definitely looks better than the behind-the-scenes shots taken over the summer.

Seth Stevenson pans the Tick pilot.

I'm sure those who care have probably seen it by now, but nevertheless: the Episode II "breathing" teaser.

A.O. Scott ruminates on why the Simpsons are still splendid.

Oh, this is ridiculous. Do we really have to put Lamar Odom through this Robert Downey rigamarole for using marijuana a few times? That's's not as if he's about to pull a Len Bias and die on the court.

The Scratching Post moves and redesigns.

Sorry about the lack of updates of late. I was back in Washington DC from Friday through yesterday, catching up with the bro and sis-in-law, seeing Jordan play (for $10, no less!), catching up with old friends (and a few webloggers), and doing some research for a forthcoming end-of-term paper. But I'm back now, so it's all good. Nothing like visiting old haunts to remind you how much happier you are now.

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