The Spectacle Blog

Germ Warfare

By on 11.27.05 | 9:20PM

Andrew Sullivan is fighting a germ insurgency. I'm stunned by the lack of pre-infection planning that has resulted in this quagmire. Though we may still win thanks to the bravery of the common white blood cell, it sometimes seems unlikely. The shocking revelations about abuse of imprisoned germs were particularly disheartening. Ultimately Sullivan's cold and flu medicine must be held accountable for its failure. That means drinking swampwater instead of medicine. Swampwater has struck a somewhat more gay-friendly political posture than medicine, but the suggestion that support for swampwater over medicine is about homosexuality, and not about the war on germs and other issues, is an unanswerable smear.

(Disclaimer for the humor-impaired: I hope Andrew feels better soon, and am not actually suggesting that he ought to drink swampwater.)

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Re: The 390-HP Lawn Ornament

By on 11.27.05 | 8:16PM

John: Methinks the dealership has about as much of a clue about how to deal with this as my 6-month old lab puppy. He, at least, would know to chew on the leather, and his attitude is vastly less arrogant and hostile than the service manager. I wouldn't try the jacks myself. Vibration of the car, at any appreciable wheel speed, could take it off the jacks and let fly across Loudoun County by itself. Which is one of the few things worse than letting the jokers from the dealership have it. No, methinks we'll play Dukes of Hazzard for a coupla days between here and our normally-distant haunts. And then take it to a real expert we know in Falls Church.

I trust that by week's end, we'll be laughing about it, remembering the nonsense only as a redundant proof of the Gipper's adage that government isn't the solution, it's the problem. Nevertheless, this is the most idiotic Catch-22 I've come across in many moons.

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Re: The 390 Horsepower Lawn Ornament

By on 11.27.05 | 7:52PM

Jed: Why would the dealership need to drive it around for a few weeks? Why not just lift all four wheels off the ground with a few jacks and set a brick on the accelerator for an hour or two, then refill the tank and repeat? They could clock the necessary mileage in less than a day.

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The 390 Horsepower Lawn Ornament

By on 11.27.05 | 12:21PM

Thanksgiving Eve was a joyous occasion in our household, and not only because of the arrival of two of the four twentysomethings (well, three if you count one young lady in tow). #4 son drove in from Laramie, Wyoming in my new supercar.

Having purchased it in September from its original owner in Colorado Springs, and registered it in the Commonwealth to get temporary plates, said registration had expired on his arrival. On Thursday afternoon, I dutifully drove it to our formerly favorite Ford dealer and delivered written instructions to perform an emissions inspection (a legal predicate to obtaining a permanent registration) and adjust the timing and other functions necessary for it to produce maximum power at this altitude (what one does for a car that operates at above 5,000 feet, as this had, is slightly different than for a car that operates here at near sea level.) Ay, and there's the rub.

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Re: The Sweet Science

By on 11.27.05 | 6:51AM

Wlady, it's because Ali refused the draft, was barred from boxing for a period, and then returned as a martyr. He attained designated worship object (DWO) status at that time. Interesting rhetorical questions: How many elements of DWO status (black, female, gay, HIV positive, labor union, communist, radical, etc.) does a figure have to have? Are there any absolute essentials? Would a Rocky Balboa-type white Ali have been possible? Poor Italian kid refuses Selective Service with the counseling of his religious leaders, and so forth?

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Re: Sweet Science

By on 11.25.05 | 8:14PM

Wlady: The NY Times’ William Rhoden had a similarly fawning piece on the Ali shrine earlier this week. At this point, I’m numb. I wonder what is next – an Ali monument on the Washington/>/>/>/> mall?

What’s most threatening to my turkey leftovers is that phrase from Clinton/>/>/>/>’s speech alleging that Ali was “a force for peace and reconciliation, understanding and respect.” Would it be asking too much if just one of those four terms could be true?

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Re: Sweet Science

By on 11.25.05 | 6:24PM

Paul: Your command of the fight game makes me doubly depressed to have to report on a column in today's Washington Post praising to the skies one Muhammad Ali, on the occasion of a shrine named after him in his home town. It's not to late to lose your Thanksgiving leftovers after you read what former president Bill Clinton said about Mr. Ali:

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Re: Quiet Man

By on 11.25.05 | 4:29PM

Dave: But that is one of the few objectionable parts of an otherwise great movie. It is paralleled in several others O'Hara starred in with Wayne. "The Quiet Man" wasn't at all about reviving Wayne's manhood. The point was that it takes more of a man to restrain himself in the face of trivial provocations than it does to fight and perhaps kill over things that don't matter. And when the Duke throws her around (or, in other movies, e.g. McClintock, in which he not only spanks her but instructs his prospective son in law on how to spank his daughter with a small metal shovel) he's indulging in an act that defines unmanliness: violence toward women. He'd have been much better to have booted her out the door and gone looking for a less bothersome match. I still maintain ol' Maureen was more trouble than she was worth.

But we started this whole mess around Babs Streisand. Talk about a woman who's more trouble than she's worth...

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The Quiet Man

By on 11.25.05 | 3:44PM

Fellas, I may be out of my league, and please forgive my hit-and-run (I won't be checking back regularly this weekend), but Maureen O'Hara was stellar in The Quiet Man. In fact, everything about the movie was top-notch. Okay, so Miss O'Hara seemed a bit shrill. She had to play the prideful, traditional woman who could tame John Wayne's Yankee sensibilities but also rejuvenate his manhood. Confused about the distinction between all violence and just violence, Wayne's character thought he could retreat into pacifism and the warm atmosphere of tradition without its burdens. This was unstable mix for that man in that environment, and Miss O'Hara played a wonderful earthly redeemer: demanding the respect of her strong man, part of which was his defense of her.

Jed, surely you take solace in the scene in which Wayne's character drags O'Hara's over the fields to confront her brother?

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Sweet Science

By on 11.25.05 | 3:29PM

Though I am stirred by the ongoing Wlady/Jed exchange (keep it going, please), I respectfully submit that you both are missing the boat in terms of viewing material this weekend. ESPN Classic is running and re-running Ringside: Top Ten Heavyweights, an evaluation of the greatest heavyweight champions in history, featuring the inimitable Bert Randolph Sugar. Don't ask me what happened to my afternoon plans. And I've seen almost all of this stuff many times.

Incidentally, Sugar's top three are: Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey. Much as it pains me, I'd have to invert those first two. I think Ali would have beaten them all in his prime. But for my own pleasure (and perhaps the good of the country), it would have been nice to see Dempsey tangle with him in a phone booth.

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