Friday, August 31, 2012

I Could Totally Do That...

Here's Expendables star Terry Crews in by far the coolest thing I've seen all week. I've had "Muscles! Muscles! Muscles!" in my head since yesterday, so I figure you may as well as share some of the pain. Little known fact: I taught him everything he knows.

Old Spice Muscle Music from Terry Crews on Vimeo.

Oh, Clint...

If you're like me, you could feel your heart breaking into a million pieces yesterday as you watched Clint Eastwood -- the icon Clint Eastwood, the hero Clint Eastwood, the man behind some of the greatest movies of all time -- give a rambling, incoherent mess of a diatribe for twelve long minutes ostensibly in support of Mitt Romney at yesterday's RNC festivities that instantly brought to mind Jim Downey's famous smackdown of Adam Sandler in Billy Madison. Oh, sad day.

I was already a bit befuddled that Eastwood, a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian, would so publicly go to bat for a wet blanket corporate shill like Romney, but so it goes. Politics is politics. After all, another of my movie heroes, Charlton Heston, was also a GOP diehard. When I heard Clint was to deliver a keynote speech at the RNC, I assumed it would be a real barn-burner that would rally the troops.

Instead, we watched the octogenarian Oscar winner interview an empty chair, and metamorphose into James Stockdale right before our eyes. This was not fun to watch. Another reason not to vote for Mitt Romney, I suppose. Anyway, I most definitely wasn't alone in my reaction to the once-Dirty Harry's unfortunate flameout, as this piece tracking "The Five Stages of Watching Clint Eastwood Address a Chair on Live National TV" demonstrates.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fibulous

Mitt Romney's veep Paul Ryan had his big convention moment last night, and while his speech did the job of firing up the anti-Obama (if not necessarily pro-Romney) base, it also had to set some kind of record for pants-on-fire proclamations from Mr. Medicare-Voucher. For a campaign that proudly declared just two days that they won't be "be dictated by fact checkers,” Ryan sure proved that out last night with all the nega-truth bombs he dropped. You know it's bad when even Fox News runs a piece (written by a progressive, admittedly) calling Ryan out for his mendacity. In addition, here's The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza with Ryan's top five fibs, and TPM's Brian Beutler with his own five. There's some overlap between the two lists, but they're both instructive all the same.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Akin Pain

After a few weeks off, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show returned last night just in time for the RNC and for his take on Todd Akin's instantly-infamous "legitimate rape" comment from last week, and the GOP's desperate efforts to change the narrative in its wake:

Recommended Reading

Matt Taibbi has a lengthy new piece over at Rolling Stone tracking Mitt Romney's history with Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, and whose "vulture capitalist" practices ran roughshod over the private sector. From the article:
Romney is a man from nowhere. In his post-regional attitude, he shares something with his campaign opponent, Barack Obama, whose background is a similarly jumbled pastiche of regionally nonspecific non-identity. But in the way he bounced around the world as a half-orphaned child, Obama was more like an involuntary passenger in the demographic revolution reshaping the planet than one of its leaders. 
Romney, on the other hand, is a perfect representative of one side of the ominous cultural divide that will define the next generation, not just here in America but all over the world. Forget about the Southern strategy, blue versus red, swing states and swing voters – all of those political clich├ęs are quaint relics of a less threatening era that is now part of our past, or soon will be. The next conflict defining us all is much more unnerving.
Read the rest -- and there's a lot of it -- here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From The Onion...

Isn't it great that The Onion is satirical, and that none of what's in the article below would ever actually happen?
Things That Shouldn't Be Said In Modern Society To Be Said At Least 1,400 Times At RNC
From the piece:
“It’s difficult to comprehend, but dozens of comments on such topics as human relationships and the physical world itself—which will seem as if they were crafted by some primitive unthinking civilization that existed centuries ago—will actually be emphasized, repeated, and used to punctuate key points in every single speech.” 
“And what’s more baffling is that speakers will receive legitimate applause for saying things in public that no reasonable, informed member of society would ever willingly say in private,” she continued. “In fact, the more monstrous and archaic the thing sounds, the more ardent the ovation will be.”
Read more here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 3

In our latest installment, the Mr. Boy Productions team sings the praises of Huey Lewis, discusses the latest developments on the new Jack Ryan reboot film, and picks apart The Bourne Legacy. After that, we take a fond look back at the long career of the late, great Tony Scott, and the many memorable films he directed. It's fun, it's informative, it's about an hour-and-twenty minutes, it's episode 3 of the MovieFilm podcast! Download from iTunes, right click and save here, or stream it live below:

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nostalgia Theater: Unmasking M.A.S.K.

During the 1980s, the two crown jewels of kidvid were Hasbro's Transformers and G.I. Joe, both of which found a sweet spot of cultural awareness allowing them to branch out into all manner of other merchandising. Given that, it's no wonder that other toymakers were constantly on the hunt for new intellectual property in that vein. And while the decade is littered with abandoned also-rans that tried and failed to capture some of that mojo, one property that found a measure of success is M.A.S.K., unleashed by Kenner in 1985:

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Question of Race

When President Obama was first elected, we had several folks in the pundit class gleefully proclaiming this the end of racism in America. I wasn't naive enough to take that bait, but I did hope it would at least signal a shift in the tone and tenor of the rhetoric we use in engaging with people who differ from us. Maybe I was just kidding myself. It's been four-and-a-half years now since Candidate Obama delivered the "More Perfect Union" speech in Philadelphia (in response to the first Jeremiah Wright flap), that masterfully thread the needle of animus and understanding in a way that was instructive, emotive, and real, but in the time since, we've seen a further coarsening in how our differences are addressed -- if they're addressed at all.

We saw it when Rush Limbaugh berated Gen. Colin Powell for his endorsement of Obama over McCain, saying it was purely motivated by race. We saw it in the late Andrew Breitbart's attack against government worker Shirley Sherrod (and her subsequent, erroneous firing by the Obama admin) over her perceived reverse-racism -- which turned out to be anything but. We've seen it in the constant,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Haters Continue To Hate

A new poll shows that vast swathes of Republican voters really don't like Muslims and Arabs. (Or Sikhs, for that matter, which just goes to show the staggering degree of ignorance on display). Given the anti-Muslim invective on a constant spew cycle from various GOP'ers since, I dunno, forever, I'm pretty sure the survey was conducted by the International Institute of "Really? Y'think?"

(Apropos of this poll, check out my post from almost exactly two years ago analyzing the "Paradox of the Muslim Republican.")

Jawful

A mainstay conversation in my film classes is inevitably the continued awesomeness of Steven Spielberg's 1975 game changer Jaws (the just-released blu-ray of which is a must own for any film buff). Of course, any discussion of Jaws inevitably segues into the mercenary, increasingly ludicrous sequels that Universal pumped out over the next decade (none of which involved Spielberg, natch), that robbed the brand of all value and bottomed out with 1987's Jaws: The Revenge, most well known today as the flick that caused star Michael Caine to miss out on picking up his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Hannah and Her Sisters.

For many years now, I've been at a loss to explain to people the breathtaking badness of The Revenge. How it buries the needle so far on the "crap" side of the dial that it somehow manages to circle back around to "good." People stare dumbfounded as I describe the stupefying excess of a shark with such a mad-on for the lead character that it follows the plane they're in from the water. Or where the shark roars like a lion. Or where...Oh, the list goes on and on. Anyway, from now, rather than enumerating why Jaws: The Revenge is such a beautiful, beautiful turd, I can just point people to Ryan Lambie's "10 things to love about Jaws: The Revenge." You're welcome.

How The Dark Knight Rises Should Have Ended

Funny stuff. And no, just because I'm posting this doesn't mean I hated The Dark Knight Rises. Just like saying I didn't love The Dark Knight Rises doesn't mean I hated The Dark Knight Rises.

(FYI, here's their take on how The Dark Knight should have ended.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"It Was Just Surviving and Living Through It"

And speaking of Paul, here's a video, courtesy of AK Senator Lisa Murkowski's "Veteran Spotlight" program, wherein he discusses his time serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. I've known Paul for almost fifteen years now, and still remember when he enlisted shortly after 9/11 and shipped out the following summer. I still remember the pinch I'd feel in my chest whenever his wife sent out an update e-mail, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst.

I'm of course hugely grateful that he's been back home safe and sound for a few years now, and we were able to pick up our nerdy movie/pop culture conversations right where we left off without missing a step, but one thing I've never had/taken the opportunity to do is just talk to him about what serving in two warzones was like. What he experienced. How he changed. Thus, I found this vid extremely informative, insightful, and even emotional. It's about fifteen minutes, but it's well worth a watch in its entirety.

Devil May Care

Back in March of last year I posted that Twentieth Century Fox was getting set to reboot the Daredevil property they held the rights to, lest their option run out and the character and his ancillaries revert to Marvel/Disney. Well, during that span the project went through two different directors, and even an abortive attempt at a schoolyard trade with Marvel for some more time with the red-suited vigilante before Fox finally cried uncle and ceded the rights back to the Mouse House.

If the past is any guide, I'm sure the character will fit right in as part of Marvel's movie-verse, especially when you consider that they've also recently reclaimed the Punisher, Blade, and various other "dark" heroes populating the company's "Marvel Knights" imprint, which specializes in secondary, street-level characters. What happens next is anyone's guess, but my friend Paul Shirey over at Joblo has some good suggestions for what he'd like to see happen the next time the Man Without Fear stalks the rooftops of Hell's Kitchen on the big screen.

Recommended Reading

Peter Beinart on the sudden, pronounced upsurge of anti-Muslim incidents across the country, and where the impetus to carry them out may be coming from:
During the Republican presidential primaries, Herman Cain said he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. Newt Gingrich warned incessantly about Sharia being imposed upon the United States. In July, Michele Bachmann and several other members of Congress insinuated that Huma Abedin, one of the few American Muslims in a high-level government job, was an agent of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. John McCain, Marco Rubio, and John Boehner criticized Bachmann’s smear campaign, but Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Eric Cantor, and Romney adviser John Bolton defended it. Romney, predictably, tried to have it both ways, saying that Bachmann’s attacks “are not things that are part of my campaign,” but that “I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about.” In other words, I won’t defame American Muslims myself, but if other prominent Republicans want to, go ahead.
Read the rest here.

From The Onion...

In light of his moronic comments regarding abortion, and the subsequent negative fallout they've engendered, Rep. Todd Akin has taken to The Onion to clear the air in a new op-ed entitled, "I Misspoke -- What I Meant To Say Is 'I Am Dumb As Dog S___ And I Am A Terrible Human Being.'" Here's a highlight:
It’s funny, because, in my head, I remember thinking very vividly, “I, Rep. Todd Akin, am a bigoted jackass who probably should not be alive, let alone in political office. People need to know what a terrible person I am so they will then remember to punch me in the face anytime they get the chance.” But when I opened my mouth and tried to articulate that thought, somehow I blurted out the thing about rape instead of just saying, in plain English, that I am awful, just purely and incontrovertibly awful.
Read the rest here from "Akin" here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The GOP's Akin Heart

Yesterday morning, Missouri congressman Todd Akin, a Tea Party Republican running for the senate against sitting Democrat Claire McCaskill, appeared on a local morning news show and uttered a statement of such grade-A, premium cut stupidity that I was left utterly gobsmacked to hear it from any elected official, much less one who was, until yesterday at least, comfortably ahead in the polls and well on his way to becoming a senator. Said Akin, when asked about his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
As I tweeted yesterday: Mind = blown.

Tony Scott, RIP

Some shocking news broke yesterday afternoon and quickly spread across the web: Tony Scott, director of some of the most iconic and indelible thrillers of the last four decades, who helped redefine and reset the visual language and style of the modern action movie for an entire generation of directors who've come up since, was dead by suicide. And, just like that, one of the most illustrious and long-lived careers in cinema is over. I couldn't believe it last night, and I'm not finding it any easier a morning later. What a loss.

The brother of equally illustrious director Ridley Scott (with whom he co-founded production company Scott Free), Tony Scott is probably most known for helming 1986's Top Gun, which helped launched both his Hollywood career and that of star Tom Cruise, but that was merely the beginning of

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nostalgia Theater: The Famous Flavor of Reese's Peanut Butter in a...

Either because I'm in a time crunch or because, after a month of fasting, I just have food on my mind, but I thought I'd do something a little different with this week's Nostalgia Theater. This is a Reese's Pieces commercial that garnered a fair amount of airplay in '91-'92, right around the time I moved back stateside from Saudi Arabia. I remember it because it has a catchy jingle, and because it ends with what I thought for the longest time was a bad word. Re-watching it now, I realize it's saying, "FUN CANDY SHELL" at the end. Wish I'd known that twenty years ago.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Think of the Comedians!

While we're talking politics and comedy, Dean Obeidallah explains why Paul Ryan is bad news -- for the nations's recession-stricken comedians. This is doubly true when you consider the flush times just four short years ago when John McCain named comedy goldmine Sarah Palin as his veep. Man, I'll bet they thought those good times would never stop rolling. Anyway, in the process of making his case, he affirms a point I myself have made a few times:
I know many on the right see Obama as providing much more comedic material than comedians do. They often send me "jokes" about Obama on issues like Obamacare or the "Fast and Furious" program. 

Wizards of I.D.

In addition to the spigot of Super PAC cash and so-called "dark money" to sway the outcome of November's elections in favor of the Republicans, another line item making its way through GOP-led legislatures across the country is the enactment of draconian voter ID laws to disenfranchise likely Democractic constituencies, all under the auspices of combatting the non-existent issue of voter fraud. I've been following this story for the past several months or so, shaking my head at the cynicism at work when, upon passage of such a bill, the House majority leader in Pennsylvania proclaimed that it would "allow Governor Romney to win the state..."

When you can't win on your ideas, you stack the deck, which is exactly what's happening. From my end, the issue isn't whether or not there should be some kind of ID that's required at the polls, it's whether that ID is standardized nationally, and whether it's readily accessible to anyone who'd want it. As it stands, neither of those two bars are being met, and it sure looks like that's by design. It's sickening how in this age of hyperactive political polarization, every single issue becomes cause for folks to line up and throw spitballs instead of putting that effort into concrete solutions benefitting everyone. From Thursday's Daily Show, here's Jon Stewart on the voter ID non-problem. If this is your first exposure to this story, prepare to have your mind blown.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Impolitic

You know it's election season when the temperature of Internet conversation gets turned up to "boil" and stays there through November. When your Facebook news feed is inundated with educated and uneducated electioneering from all sides of the political spectrum -- right, left, and chartreuse. I feel like I hit a bit of a personal milestone yesterday when an acquaintance (the same acquaintance, it happens, who I quoted in this piece) called me out for having a "retarded liberal opinion." While I don't consider myself especially "liberal" (or "retarded," for that matter), considering the alternative I was happy to accept the designation. Still, the overheated nature of all this armchair politicking really does get dialed up thanks to the impact of social media, and as John Cheese at Cracked helpfully enumerates, it's (almost) enough to make you not want to vote at all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Right to Hate

The last few weeks have seen a sudden surge in random violence, some ethnically directed, some not. We had the incident at the Colorado movie theater in July, the shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple a few weeks ago, and in the past two weeks we've seen a mosque burned to the ground in Missouri, someone firing an air rifle at a Chicago-area mosque, and tossing acid at the window of a Chicago-area Islamic school. While these are all terrifying, those last two hit a little closer to home for me, given that I used to live in Chicago, and still have friends and family who attend both institutions.

After posting the story about the acid at the school on Facebook yesterday, with a note from myself wondering what the heck is going on lately, it prompted assorted comments from different folks wondering how to raise kids in a world with so much hate, blaming hate talkers on the radio, and just bemoaning a general lack of effort to understand one another. Most interesting, and perhaps most instructive, however, was a response from someone who, I'll say charitably, has a different set of ideological tent-poles than me:

Monday, August 13, 2012

From The Onion...

In the past two days, I've heard more than one person dismiss Paul Ryan as "the male Sarah Palin," or "just another Palin," but what I keep coming back with is that while he's ideologically as extreme or possibly more extreme, unlike Palin, he's a true believer who's managed to convince a number of talking heads who should know better that his Medicare-killing budget is "mature" and "responsible." If that doesn't worry you, here's word from "Ryan" himself, via an exclusive Onion op-ed with the ominious title, "Admit It, I Scare The Ever-Loving S*** Out Of You, Don't I?":
How scared are you that I can convince people I’m right? Because I’m good at it. No, I’m really good at it. You see, I know how to turn up the charm and charisma without putting people off. Then I back up what I’m saying with arguments that, when they come out of my mouth, sound completely accurate and well-reasoned. And I do it with such passion that people automatically recognize me as a man with deep convictions he will stand up for, no matter what. 
The American people love that s***. They love it.
As so often with The Onion, their satire carries a mean left hook. Read the rest from "Ryan" here.

The MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 2

The Mr. Boy Productions team is back with the sophomore installment of the all-new MovieFilm podcast! This week we run the gamut of topics, from riffing on the upcoming James Bond opus Skyfall and Peter Jackson's new Hobbit trilogy to an in-depth discussion on the original Total Recall; how it relates to the remake, how it impact on culture, and why there'll never be another Arnold Schwarzenegger. Download or stream it here (right click, save as) or at iTunes, and be sure to let us know what you think!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nostalgia Theater: When He-Man Wore Pants

Last week's post on the much-loved (by me) Masters of the Universe movie got me thinking about the next stab at the He-Man property, which launched the Conan-tinged fantasy hero into space and a new sci-fi setting. The New Adventures of He-Man premiered in syndication in fall of 1990, three years after the live action feature came and went, and five years after the He-Man and She-Ra animated shows from Filmation had ended their respective runs. Of course, that's an eternity in kidvid, which had by then been subsumed by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their ilk. Watching the parade from the sidelines, the folks at Mattel no doubt figured this was as good a time as any to bring back the Most Powerful Man in the Universe.

However, the new take was so different that it failed to win back extant fans and didn't win over many new ones, making the  New Adventures era a brief blip. With Filmation bankrupt by 1990 (and here's part of the reason why), the show was produced by American-Japanese studio Jetlag, with the premise that He-Man (having finally brought peace to Eternia, one assumes?) is spirited to the far future by representatives of the utopian planet Primus, menaced by a dastardly band of space mutants. When arch-foe Skeletor (with a new personality more like Jack Nicholson's Joker) inadvertently ends up tagging along, the storied rivalry resumes, with new, toyetic allies like Flipshot and Flogg standing in for Man-at-Arms and Beast Man. Here's the animated show's intro:

Recommended Reading

In the annals of around-the-bend Tea Party crackpottery, few rise quite to the level of Florida Congressman Allen West, a tough guy military man who turned tough guy politico after being drummed out of the service for confusing himself with Jack Bauer, and who rose to prominence on the back of his strident, Randian rhetoric that's anti-Democrat, anti-Muslim, anti-anyone who happens to disagrees with him. As Mother Jones' Tim Murphy helpfully explains, "West didn't just ride the tea party's wave in 2010—in many respects, he is the movement's political avatar." Read on as he explains the hows and the whys.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Vice Presidential Poison Pill?

Okay, things just got real.

With his selection of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to join him on the Republican ticket as his nominee for vice president, Mitt Romney has given both the conservative right and the liberal left a renewed reason to turn out to the polls. What this pick most clearly demonstrates to me is the deficit the former Massachusetts governor continues to hold with the GOP's base, who've long lionized Ryan -- a self-professed Ayn Rand aficionado who rose to prominence on the back of his "Path to Prosperity" budget plan that euphemistically re-defines "prosperity" as more tax cuts for the wealthiest, arriving there by demolishing cherished safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The uphill climb Romney's always faced, even as the presumptive Republican nominee practically from the moment his '08 bid ended, is the perception that he's sort of the George Hamilton of presidential contenders, running because, well, why not. Sure, he doesn't really stand for anything, but he's got some accomplishments under his belt, and he looks vaguely president-y. This is a perception that's been largely self-inflicted thanks to his practiced ability to float wherever the winds of political expediency take him ("I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was." -- seriously, he actually said that), even if that means freely caroming to the opposite side of "convictions" he himself held and voiced not too long ago.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Zaki's Review: Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall marks the second redundant remake from Columbia Pictures in as many months. But while  the studio's franchise re-start The Amazing Spider-Man ultimately managed to win me over and justify its existence as a worthy take on an old story, the new Recall never quite manages to make it over that hump. It's competently executed and diverting enough not to feel oppressive, but it so closely adheres to the dramatic through-line of the still-indelible Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer from 1990 that those of us in the audience who still have fond memories of it can be forgiven for feeling some "recall" of our own.

Like with the last one, the story follows the set-up of Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale," with blue collar worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell, in for the Austrian Oak) haunted by dreams of another life. After visiting memory implant facility Rekall to have an exotic adventure retroactively placed into his brainpan, he learns the life he knows is only six weeks old, with his loving wife (Kate Beckinsale, a combination of the Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside characters) a deep cover operative keeping tabs on him. Soon, a mad chase ensues, as the bureaucrat who erased Quaid's memory (Bryan Cranston in the Ronny Cox role) races to retrieve him even as Quaid tries to puzzle out who he is.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Amazing Chase

Kudos to your friend and mine, Brian Hall, for passing along the best thing I've seen all week (though, granted, it's only Tuesday). Eleven-and-a-half minutes of movie lover nirvana. Bonus points if you can pick out all the different flicks they culled from to pull this beautiful monstrosity together.

From The Onion...

In light of the events of the last few weeks, another strong dose of common sense from America's Finest News Source:
'Just Illegalize Us Already,' Nation's Assault Weapons Beg; 'We Are Tired Of Killing People,' Plead Firearms
From the piece:
Speaking on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of highly accessible American firearms that are reportedly "tired of taking the lives of innocent people," a group of military-designated, semiautomatic weapons pleaded for legislation that would immediately take them off the market and "far, far away from any psychos who would want to murder civilians." 
"Every day we have to live with the overwhelming guilt and sorrow of knowing we've been used to brutally and senselessly murder people," said an M16, who read from a prepared statement while flanked by more than a dozen fellow assault weapons. "How many more human beings do we have to kill before lawmakers finally prohibit private citizens from buying us? Enough is enough already."
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Nostalgia Theater: Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture Turns 25

This past week, word broke that G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu is in the mix to helm a potential big screen revival of the Masters of the Universe property. The timing for this news couldn't be more apropos, as next week marks twenty-five years since the release of what was at one time (and maybe still is?) one of my all-time favorite flicks: Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture. From the perspective of the jaded here-and-now, it's easy to dismiss as chintzy and dated, but back then, when I could backfill story and aesthetic failings with my own imagination, it was pure, unfiltered movie magic.

For some context, Mattel's Masters of the Universe had dominated toy aisles, kidvid, and merchandising upon its debut in 1982, but by '87 it was clearly on the wane. Thus, the feature film represented kind of a last stab at relevance for the once-Most Powerful Property in the Universe. Produced by exploitation mavens Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus for their Cannon shingle (just two weeks after their ill-advised Superman IV: The Quest For Peace bombed hard and killed that franchise), Masters of the Universe launched on August 7, 1987 with the hope that it would lead to a series. Here's the trailer:

Friday, August 03, 2012

From The Onion...

Fed: 'If Jobs Are Meant To Be With Us, They'll Come Back On Their Own' 
WASHINGTON—Following a two-day meeting to discuss the country's continually disappointing employment numbers, officials from the Federal Reserve announced Friday that if jobs are really meant to be with the American people, they’ll return of their own volition. "Listen, if it's meant to be, it’ll happen," said Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, adding that there’s no point in purchasing new mortgage-backed securities or keeping the federal funds rate near zero percent "if both parties don't want this to work." "We can't spend all our time and energy trying to force this. We have to let them do their own thing, and if they don't come back, then maybe we were just never meant to be together." Bernanke confirmed that, while he is realistic about the slim chance of jobs ever actually returning, Americans should "always leave the door open" in case things change in the future.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Heroically Motivated

Tim O'Neil, author of the excellent "The Hurting" blog has a new essay up wherein he examines the whys-and-wherefores of different superheroes' doing what they do, with a special focus on Batman and Spider-Man, both of whom happen to have movies now in theaters. The crux of his argument is that hero origins risk becoming cluttered and unwieldy when saddled with too much expository baggage. Too much "because." From the piece:
"Batman hates crime" is perhaps the simplest, most accessible, least complicated motivation in all fiction. He hates crime in all its incarnation, in all its many sizes and shapes - he hates murderers and drug dealers and extortionists and rapists and thieves and white-collar criminals and international terrorists. If it falls under the umbrella of "crime," Batman hates it. If you wanted to be more precise, however, you could add a second clause, turn the motivation into something like:

Recommended Reading

Brian Beutler details the precise, pretzeled proportions of Mitt Romney's tax problem -- whether in terms of how much (or how little) he's paid, or how much (or how little) he intends to raise them.