The MacLamity

The News That Stays News, Reported Live

Friday, March 31, 2006

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Bible babel.

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Bible babel.

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The moko is back. She knows everything. She speaks everything. The chocolate industry should be grateful for the attention she pays it. "I have an American friend who buys Kinder Eggs just for the toys." The yellow plastic shells that the toys come in are also cool. If you spin them on their side, they stand to attention.

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It's always good to remember how many bad ideas Apple has had. It's also nice to look at photos of 80s PCs. As they age they are beginning to go from being ugly to being insanely crude marks of genius that had no other way of expressing itself, like the ancient outline of a hand in that French cave.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

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This is a good example of this.

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Hugo Williams on being accurate in poetry: "She [Carolyn] is a gentle soul and I knew she wouldn't have libel lawyers on to me. But if I look at these poems with her eyes, I think that only about 10 of them would remind her of anything we did. Other things have come into it. If she ever gets wind of it, she'll probably hurl it into a corner of the room. I'll send her a copy, but I'll definitely cross out the thing about her breasts being like cobras, because that's totally untrue.' " ... more ...

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The debate on the west's aid to poor countries really needs to shift in this direction. In some ways, Live 8's focus on trade was a step in the right direction. Pop stars should be arguing less about how much money we should give the starving of the world, and arguing more about the form the money should arrive in.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

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The art of quoting devastatingly, ctd.: "Weinstein, a professor of comparative literature at Brown University, clearly knows what he is up against. "These books have long been misconstrued as esoteric, elitist and inaccessible," he concedes, before slapping on his made-for-the-Oxygen-channel grin and maintaining, "I think they can be seen as a magic but intimate script whose strangeness testifies to all that is strange, unknown and unlabeled in ourselves." Fair enough — although that "magic" should caution the wary. Before you know it, Weinstein is managing to make Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner and Toni Morrison sound like the editorial staff of Self magazine. "At the center of this long book about long books is a simple truth: we want to recover our story," he writes, and, "These novels tell my story as much as I tell theirs. My life and my thinking . . . are inextricably, even frighteningly intertwined with their work," and, "These great writers depict our inner life as no one else has ever done" and, "My sights are on what these books might mean and deliver to the hungry reader, rather than to the expert."

By the time he announces that " 'Ulysses' is no less than a self-help manual," the reader half expects Jim Joyce himself to amble in from behind the curtain and get in touch with his inner Lestrygonian, or Ginny Woolf to share (you go, girl!) how conflicted she felt about gaining those 500 pounds." ... more ...

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The simplest explanation I've seen of how Flash memory works.

Monday, March 27, 2006

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Jack Abramoff's struggle to film the abominable Red Scorpion outdoes Coppola's mad fight to make Apocalypse Now.

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I can't think of a more succinct version of the Everything Wrong With Europe's Economy article. If you read this, you won't need to read another article like it for the next 2 years.

Friday, March 24, 2006

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The man who gave us Gaia is pro nnuclear power. So, does that mean nuclear power is a sensible idea and he's changed or that he hasn't and that nuclear power is as reliable a notion as the earth-womb.

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I'm with Andre on this. I read Lydia Davis's translation of Proust and I enjoyed it but got stuck on a late section and didn't find the energy for the final push. I picked up the Montcrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translation and was in raptures. The point of translating great literature from a foreign language is to have more great literature in your own language.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

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Understatements don't get more devastating than this one from Mickey Kaus while discussing Instapundit's book: "More to the point, Reynolds doesn't convince himself either. It's not a confidence-builder when, on page 206, he endorses space colonization as a way for humanity to survive in case we destroy life on the planet we're currently on." ... more...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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Jesus Quintero has finally discovered the internet (check out the video called Silencios; there's a man who understands his finest moments). I had heard one fact that got me excited. That was that last week he interviewd the guy who'd very publicly screwed Quintero's wife. Sadly, this was a misunderstanding. However, I hope I haven't just misunderstood that Quintero spent 2 years INTERVIEWING ONLY PRISONERS on his TV show.

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"Three days later my mother rang me at six in the morning. `Flora!' she almost squeaked. `It's on the news - they've caught the rapist! And it's Mr Cook!' She was so shaken that, although almost teetotal, she agreed to have a small brandy. My brother was frankly disbelieving. `A mask with RAPIST on it?' he scoffed. `He surely doesn't have the imagination.;" ... more ...

Monday, March 20, 2006

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The New Yorker snub: schadenfreude or award socialism?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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Is PUT YOUR LANCE FACE ON the dumbest use of a sports-celebrity endorsement ever?

Monday, March 13, 2006

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Kim Jong Il really needs to come up with some new gift ideas.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

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Fans of Janet Malcolm's "The Journalist and the Murderer" (the one that begins "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.")
will be relieved that the delicious doubts sewn by that book have yet to be dispelled:
The hair of a former Army doctor convicted in the slayings of his wife and two daughters was found in his dead wife's hand, according to long-awaited results of DNA testing made public yesterday.
But testing of another hair, under the fingernail of Jeffrey MacDonald's youngest daughter, showed that it came from an unidentified person, a find that MacDonald's supporters say bolsters his case.

Friday, March 10, 2006

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Pierre Assouline ponders the similarity between Britain's Minister of Culture, Media & Sport and the Minister for Culture and Agriculture whom he debated in a recent dream.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

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This is even more delicious than that moment in "Marathon Man" where the Nazi suffers his final horrifying defeat by stumbling into one of the gold markets in New York and watching horrified at orthodox Jews going about their business, unworried, unendangered, unexceptionally.

Monday, March 06, 2006

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Slate has started a series of slideshows on art which, if the first pick is anything to go by, will annoy me. "A 25-year-old American who divides his time between New York and Berlin, Wolfson works in a variety of media in a style that might best be described as poetic conceptualism." Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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O brave new world that has such guide books in it: "'It's like writing a travel guide to a place that doesn't exist,' Mr. Hodgson said. 'Whereas Frommer's guides tell you what hotel to stay in, I tell you which hotel not to stay in because you're going to get dragged down by a gangster.'"

Friday, March 03, 2006

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There is an obvious exception to the sad list of action movies that deserve some recognition in this world, but can hope for none. (“[L]et's pretend the Academy has now seen the light and created the new category: what would this year's contenders be? King Kong and Batman Begins would have to be there, as would Joss Whedon's rollicking Serenity, as well as Mr and Mrs Smith and War of the Worlds, criminally underrated both.) And that is “The Fugitive,” which, naturally, got blown away by “Schindler’s List” in 1993. (Another Best Picture nominee from that year, “In the Name of the Father,” reminds us of how sanguine the American populace used to be when the Academy nominated a movie just for elevating the Academy’s sense of political superiority.) Why did ‘The Fugitive’ do so well?

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"When the Senate gets around to allowing laptops laptops will be obsolete."

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Serge Gainsbourg sung in English! Some titles:


'Poinconneur des Lilas' is 'Just A Man With A Job'
'La Chanson de Slogan' is 'I Call It Art'
'Je t'aime moi non plus' is 'I Love you (Me Either)'


I love you (me either) is inspired.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

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Don't look back... like Capote in the movies (from The Guardian: "By the mid-1970s, Capote and his idiosyncrasies - his childlike voice and his flamboyant personality - were so famous that Neil Simon modelled a comic villain after him in his mystery farce, Murder by Death (1976). When the time came to cast the film, one of Simon's colleagues had an inspiration. Instead of getting someone like Truman Capote to play the villain, he asked, why not get Truman Capote himself?
Capote was thrilled. All American writers may love the movies, but how many of them are given a chance to star in one? The excitement soon evaporated, and, when I visited him on the set in Burbank, California, Capote was miserable - anxious and exhausted. Acting, as he should have known, requires unseemly early hours, hard work and a talent he did not possess. When the cameras rolled, Truman Capote was not a very good Truman Capote."

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A fairly decent article on Tesco manages to hit every factor of the historical version of the Lowest Common Denominator of the U.K. How to explain Tesco? Well, it is British. Therefore it is like the Mini, The Beatles, Kate Winslet, and so on (The editor must have cut the sentences about bowler hats and butlers called Jeeves). The kicker takes this to a surreal realm: "Great Britain's last effort to conquer the colonies with muskets and cannon ended in failure. This time, the Redcoats are arriving armed with merlot and cucumbers, which may prove to be superior weapons." It might have ended in failure, but you try burning down DC with merlot and cucumbers.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

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If you thought getting run over by an ambulance was the ultimate in ironic consider this.

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Support the troops! Pull them out!

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Some artists are such personal favorites that the notion that Denver would build a museum dedicated to the artist, and that the museum would be the largest one dedicated to a single artist is a proof that the world is a botched realization of my fantasies.

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Quote of the Days Spent Waiting for Drinks (from a fantastic compilation of memories of Beckett): "There were funny moments as well: the unforgettable line from our first meeting when, gesturing with his arm and failing to attract the waiter's attention, he turned to me and said, in that soft Irish brogue of his, 'There are no eyes in the world harder to catch than a barman's.'

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An astonishing anecdote about Richard Burton (no, not that Richard Burton): "Limited opportunities to study Eastern languages in Europe continued to produce similar if less colourful follies until the middle of the 19th century. The famous Orientalist Richard Burton was some way into his self-taught study of Arabic before he discovered he should be reading the language right to left instead of left to right." (No wonder his translation of Arabian Nights ends with the beginning)

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We'll know Shakespeare's lost his grip on the popular imagination when someone finds a cast of a face or a painting or a manuscript in an attic and doesn't think but what if this is Shakespeare?