Culture

The Political Failure of Libertarianism

Featured image Sad news out of Iowa yesterday that the Libertarian Party senate candidate, Doug Butzier, was killed in a plane crash. Political junkies immediately speculated that this might well tip the close Iowa senate race to Joni Ernst. I’m not so certain of this; I think a lot of purist libertarian voters might just not vote for a senate candidate at all, or might even vote for the Democrat on the »

It’s only a (not very good) play

Featured image On our recent weekend in New York, we saw two Broadway shows. The first was a revival of the classic musical On the Town, which I thought was spectacular. I wrote about it briefly here. The show is still in previews; it opens officially next week. The second show we saw was a revival of the Terence McNally backstage comedy It’s Only a Play. The show was one on a »

When Old School Meets New Age

Featured image So where have I been all week? You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. So I’ll have to tell you: I was at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, the infamous home of new age spirituality where, I couldn’t help but notice, the “clothes optional” rule is still in effect. (I’ve written before about Esalen here and here.)  I couldn’t resist the chance to unleash my inner Hunter S. »

The Eisenhower Memorial farce

Featured image We have sporadically followed the long, sad saga of the proposed Eisenhower Memorial. The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has now survived 15 years. We have no Eisenhower Memorial, but the commission has a plan (a bad one) and a promotional website. For good and sufficient reason the National Capital Planning Commission rejected the proposed memorial plan earlier this year. The Washington Examiner reported on the NCPC’s rejection in a long article »

Where the NEA Meets the EPA

Featured image Lots and lots of climate news right now, ahead of next week’s UN “Leaders Climate Summit” that no world leaders are attending, but there’s one story out the last few days that deserves special notice: did you know that $700,000 of your tax dollars went to subsidizing an off-Broadway musical about the evils of climate change? Yes, I know, this sounds like a plot to a lame Mel Brooks remake »

Why the NFL should lighten up

Featured image In writing about the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice matter, my position has been that the commissioner should not be meting out discipline to players for personal misconduct. Non-football related misbehavior should be an issue for the player’s employer (his team) and, in appropriate cases, law enforcement. It also seems to me that if the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hadn’t taken to issuing discipline for personal conduct, he would »

Hath not a Timesman cultural literacy?

Featured image Joe Biden made waves when he referred to “shylocks” in a speech on Monday. He made waves because he didn’t realize the term was offensive to Jews, drawing as it does on Shakespeare’s problematic portrayal of the Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice. The late, great John Gross devoted an outstanding book to the portrayal of Shylock through the ages. The book provides a humane literary and historical education »

Tonight it’s “Christmas in July”

Featured image For readers who might be interested I want to note that TCM is playing the rarely seen comedy Christmas in July tonight at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) as part of its tribute to Dick Powell today. Why should you care? The film was both written and directed by Preston Sturges, a director known for the subgenre of “screwball” comedies that he perfected with what his admirers came to call “the Sturges »

Woodstock Redux

Featured image There seems to be a flourish of 45th anniversary observations of Woodstock going on this weekend, as though it was a slow news period right now.  (Perhaps too many editors and beat reporters are on vacation up in Martha’s and the Hamptons right now.)  Why the 45th anniversary?  Perhaps because of the typical baby boomer fear that a lot of folks won’t make it to the 50th anniversary?  Then, too, »

Boyhood: A brief note

Featured image We went to see the film Boyhood last night, and I want to recommend it to readers who might otherwise overlook it in the film industry’s recurring summer of crud. It’s a movie for adults about time and love and (the modern) family. I am not familiar with writer/director Richard Linklater, but I want to mention his name here as the man without whom the film wouldn’t exist. For whatever »

HBO, Beyond the Pale

Featured image HBO has done some good things, like Rome and Game of Thrones. But this is one of the most appalling things I have seen in a long time. There is an HBO program called “True Blood” that apparently is about vampires–way to be cutting edge, right? In its most recent episode, it featured a Ted Cruz fundraiser at the George W. Bush presidential library. In the clip below, you can »

Berkeley Finally Achieves Complete Utopia

Featured image I checked, wondering if this story was some kind of Onion-like parody site.  (Look: the Los Angeles Times is something of a joke these days; who’s to say they didn’t decide to jump the shark overnight?)  Nope; it appears to be on the level. Berkeley dispensaries must give free pot to poor members, city says Medical marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley must give some of their pot free of charge to low-income »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll offers these thoughts IN PRAISE OF AMERICAN MEN in honor of the day. She writes: It was probably about 20 years ago that I first heard the repulsive charge that America has a “rape culture.” It has now metastasized into the mainstream, but was a new theme back then. I was hired to entertain at a luncheon for women and girls and the group before me »

Paul Mazursky, RIP

Featured image Writer/director/actor Paul Mazursky died in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 84. The Los Angeles Times recounts his incredibly long and productive career in its obituary. The Times also picks five of Mazursky’s best films. Movies you may have forgotten, or forgotten to associate with Mazursky, include I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (which he co-wrote with Larry Tucker), starring Peter Sellers. Mazursky provided an early (1967) take »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Our friend Ammo Grrrll ends the working week with a bang. She takes a look at the invasion occurring on our southern border and declares: “HALLELUJAH, IT’S OBVIOUSLY THE END OF RACISM!!” She writes: Many years ago, Albert Brooks wrote and starred in the wonderful movie Lost in America. Briefly, a highly-paid ad executive and his ditzy wife chuck the high life to go on a quest to discover America »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image In this installment of her thoughts, our friend Ammo Grrrll asks: “How hot IS it?” She writes: Many winter residents of Arizona are escapees from colder climes such as Canada, Michigan and Minnesota. Wonderful people in the main, they bring their money, amusing accents, and frugal tipping habits to our Dusty Little Village (DLV) and then they go home in late March or April, mercifully, before they can vote. They »

Color Him Father

Featured image A few years ago, I wrote this post on Father’s Day. It is a post that rung a bell for at least a few readers. I am taking the liberty of reposting it today in honor of the day. My father was a thoughtful man. In the last years of his life he listed the things he was most grateful for and in retrospect I can see he thought about »