The Spectacle Blog

Dear Eliot Ness

By on 8.21.06 | 5:46PM

To: Attorney General, City of Chicago

Your worship:

As I recall, I shot a man named John Dillinger to death in your city in the summer of 1934.

It was outside a movie theatre and I could name the movie that was showing and a woman named Anna who accompanied him, along with a woman of lesser repute.

I can recite numerous details of this event if you will reserve for me First Class flight accommodations from Washington, D.C. to your city. A champagne flight, please. Large prawns for lunch would be nice.

Yours contritely,

Reid Collins

Re: Woods

By on 8.21.06 | 5:25PM

Wlady, of course you're right. But what is there to say? As entertainment, the last round of the PGA didn't amount to much. The third round was terrific. I may watch that again. But I erased the final round recording the moment it reached its inevitable confusion.

Interesting thing. I save recordings of choice golf and tennis tourneys, and, while I have saved a number of recordings of Pete Sampras's victories, I have saved very few of Tiger's because they're usually pretty dull.


By on 8.21.06 | 3:45PM

Quin, Larry, I'm surprised (i.e. sad) I haven't seen anything from you on Tiger Woods' ultimate stinger in not only winning the PGA yesterday but re-establishing himself as the most phenomenal golfer/athlete/competitor/sportsman imaginable. Apart from his super-human excellence, most interesting to me is how his competitors respond to him.

Take, for instance, his playing partner yesterday, Luke Donald. Before Sunday, Donald's play was superb. His drives straight and true, his irons right on target, his puts deadly accurate. If you'd never seen him before, you'd have concluded he was one of the best. He started off yesterday in much the same form. But after a few putts that just missed and a bad break on the fifth hole, suddenly his edge was gone. From that point on it was clear as day that he knew there was no way he could compete with Woods. Having started the day even with him, he ended six strokes behind.

More on Torture

By on 8.21.06 | 2:49PM

I just noticed that Julian Sanchez responded to a post I had last week in which I argued that the revelation that Pakistani authorities may have used torture to expose the British airplane terror plot, if proven true, pokes holes in the argument that torture isn't an effective means to extract information from terrorists. Sanchez says I miss the point:

Re: August 22

By on 8.21.06 | 11:28AM

Michael Totten reports that Israelis generally scoff at worries about tomorrow.

Speaking of which, Andrew Sullivan is on vacation and his blog is, as usual, better than when he's in town. Totten's fellow guestblogger Dave Weigel has even managed, while standing on Andrew's own platform, to sneak in some subversive teasing about the "Christianist" tick ("I am under contract to use this term at least twice a day.")

British Equipment in Hezbollah Hands?

By on 8.21.06 | 11:01AM

The Guardian reports:

The Foreign Office today confirmed it was investigating claims that British military equipment sent to Iran in the fight against international drug smuggling had ended up in the hands of Hizbullah fighters in Lebanon.

August 22

By on 8.21.06 | 10:53AM

I am skeptical that anything big will happen tomorrow, for no other reason that it seems nothing happens when we are expecting it to (whether it's July 4th, the anniversary of Sept. 11th, etc.). What was most remarkable about 9/11 was that it happened on a completely normal day-- a sunny Tuesday in New York and DC.

Here is Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis writing in the WSJ a few weeks ago on the significance of 8/22:

Writers Against Israel

By on 8.21.06 | 10:34AM

The Website of the Nation republishes an anti-Israel letter that has been reprinted in newspapers such as Le Monde, El Pais, The Independent and La Repubblica. Signed by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Toni Morrison and Harold Pinter it says that Israel's secret aim is the "liquidation of the Palestinian nation." That's a rather odd charge considering that the Palestinian government is the one that's run by a group that was founded on the stated goal of destroying Israel. Furthermore, the Palestinian population is growing at a faster rate than the Israeli population, so if there is a liquidation project going on, the Israelis haven't been doing a very good job.

Provocative Synchronicity

By on 8.20.06 | 4:34PM

Two days from now the Axis of Evil has the chance to really show its stuff. August 22 is the now much-gossipped-about date when Iran's "reply" to the nuclear demand/bribe package comes due. Military exercises far southeast of Tehran proceed apace. Another North Korean missile test may be in the batter's circle, too. And what -- now that perfidious France has defaulted on its promise to enforce its own Hezbollah resolution -- does fate have in store for Lebanon?

Provocation of some sort is a possibility live as a wire. But although some overt act -- proving its intentions by non-negotiable fact -- would make the great powers a offer of stern unity they may not be able to refuse, we should hew close to prudence instead of passion when it comes to prospects for the now much-gossipped-about World War Three. I, for one, don't quite buy the rhetoric. And this does not mean things aren't deadly serious. Further weekend thoughts here.

Re: Fun With Ben & Jerry’s

By on 8.20.06 | 12:40AM

Oy, that brings back memories. James Taranto is incorrect to imply that Ben Cohen stole the idea for his BB demonstration from the 2004 documentary Paper Clips, since it was part of Ben's schtick before that movie came out; he included it when he spoke at the Ithaca College commencement in 2003, the year my wife (then my girlfriend) graduated. I picked apart the whole speech at the time, and explained how Ben's BB demonstration is a big pile of something you wouldn't want in your ice cream.