The Most Beautiful Fraud: Toni Erdmann

The Most Beautiful Fraud:  <i>Toni Erdmann</i>

13

Feb

2017

Who among us does not practically break a leg running to the box office when we hear those magical words "three-hour bittersweet German art dramedy"?  The third film by the director Maren Ade, whose work I have never seen but which has been highly praised by those who have, seems like the most unlikely candidate for box o ...
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Put the X in Specs

Put the X in Specs

7

Feb

2017

In professional foot-ball's "Super Bowl", the New England Patriots, owned by a man who vocally supports a rich, horrible billionaire authority figure, defeated the Atlanta Falcons, vocally supported by an owner who is a rich, horrible billionaire authority figure.  This brings to a close America's most recent sporting sea ...
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All the Ways of Communicating

All the Ways of Communicating

26

Jan

2017

The question so memorably posed by Jack Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's Batman -- "Hubba hubba hubba, who do you trust?" -- has become of rather grave importance in recent years.  With Donald Trump in the White House, the Republican war antagonism to the press, at a low boil at the best of times, has boiled over into ...
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Between Impression and Expression: Fred Hampton

Between Impression and Expression:  Fred Hampton

11

Jan

2017

With some things, you have to learn by either seeing it or participating in it.  And you know yourselves that there are people walking around your community today that have all types of degrees that should be at this meeting, but are not here.  Right?  Because you can have as many degrees as a thermometer; if you don't h ...
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Put Me In, Coachella – Part III

Put Me In, Coachella – Part III

10

Jan

2017

I don't really care for outdoor music festivals.  For one thing, I am a hundred and seventeen years old, and it is something that young people do, like smart drugs, the Banana Sprite Challenge, and being a well-dressed neo-Nazi.  It also robs being outdoors of its major appeal (peace and tranquility), and robs noisy rock ...
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Put Me In, Coachella – Part II

Put Me In, Coachella – Part II

6

Jan

2017

The Coachella Music Festival has been in the news lately, partly because it's just that time of year and there's never enough content to go around so somehow an overpriced outdoor concert is transformed into 'news', but mostly because of allegations that Philip Anschutz (the owner of AEG, the entertainment conglomerate that ...
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Put Me In, Coachella

Put Me In, Coachella

5

Jan

2017

Recently, a meme was going around that your real age is 100 minus the number of bands playing at the Coachella music festival that you've actually heard of before.  In my case, this turned out to be 63 -- a good number, placing me (as in real life) right at that sweet spot where you're basically old enough to retire, but a ...
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Simply Having a War on Christmastime

Simply Having a War on Christmastime

22

Dec

2016

As I've discussed endlessly in this space, one of my favorite things about the right-wing persecution complex that's been so carefully cultivated by conservative politicians over the last 50 years or so is hearing people complain about things that are not only not actually happening, but are the opposite of happening.  We ...
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Just Another Beer Nerd from Chicago

Just Another Beer Nerd from Chicago

5

Dec

2016

When I started drinking, there was no such thing as "craft beer".  If you didn't like the weak, watery, tasteless crap that passed for beer in America, you did one of two things:  you found a bar that carried foreign beer (Guinness, usually, maybe something exotic from Germany or, if you were really lucky, Belgium), or ...
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Anno Terribilis

Anno Terribilis

21

Nov

2016

2016, the little year that absolutely could not, is almost over, and with the exception of people for whom it was a raging success -- morticians and neo-Nazis, in the main -- most of us are eager to see the end of it.  Starting out, as all years do, with the unlimited promise of the new and the possibility of growth, trans ...
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Entrefilets

Entrefilets

14

Nov

2016

As a reminder to my readers, during the 1980s, I penned a column for the New York Times entitled "Life's Little Construction Worker", in which I passed on to impressionable subscribers wisdom gathered from my father and his drinking buddies.  The column lasted for just over three years, at which point I was unjustly fired ...
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No Debate About It

No Debate About It

26

Sep

2016

Well, look at this!  It's the night of the very first and very exciting presidential debate, in which Hillary Clinton, a woman who embodies the American ideal that if you want something really bad people should give it to you and not ask a lot of annoying questions, and Donald Trump, a pool of pizza grease that has attaine ...
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Thou Shalt Catch Them All

Thou Shalt Catch Them All

19

Jul

2016

Six months ago, if you had a grown adult wearing a t-shirt with a children's character crash into you in a public place because they had their face buried in a cell phone screen and weren't' paying attention to their surroundings, odds were pretty good they were just using Duolingo to practice a language of no practical val ...
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Tom Block: Not Dark Yet

Tom Block:  Not Dark Yet

12

Jul

2016

My friend Tom Block  is in serious trouble and needs our help.Let me tell you about Tom. He’s smart , funny , a great storyteller , a terrific writer , and a critic of unusual insight . He’s lived a life  many of us would love to lead.Most recently he took a two-year road trip around America, during which he kept u ...
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As Rare as a Blue Sky

As Rare as a Blue Sky

8

Jul

2016

OLD TIME RADIO FAVORITESWhere Creeps the Shuffler!From the Casebook of Kidneypunch O’SullivanOh, Those Bulczywyczs!The Aaron’s Basinet Polish and Badney’s Consumption Grease Old-Time Variety Hunker-Down HourAround-the-Barn NewsFarmer Seth’s Country Comedy ChiaroscuroLi’l’ Jinx and the Hard Luck ...
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