You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2015.
A challenge from my wife. I’m not allowed to mention the band that made the Beatles look silly. Done.
Here’s the point. (I hate it when people don’t get to the point. You?) Ringo Starr is a superstar drummer who doesn’t drum. He’s just Ringo. John and George are dead. Sir Lord and Master Paul is on top of a boring world of oldheads. But Ringo is still picking up teenagers, I’m thinking. Without drumming a lick. How cool is that?
Other drummers have to drum.
Even the Def Leppard guy with one arm.
And the man who has no name from the band that can’t be named. For this,one, he dragged his whole drum kit into a highrise stairway.
Throughout, there’s always a guy named Ringo. Who doesn’t drum. They work. He coasts. Gotta love it, right?
P.S. Everywhere else, drummers drum.
I’m from Liverpool. I’m a Beatle. I don’t drum. I just sit here. And bask.
P.P.S. the best beat ever.
That quickly, I’ve been informed I have to do a followup. Good Grief.
Music to my ears.
So tired of cliches. Chevrolets ’55, ’56, and ’57 were all boring, boxy crashing bores of cars. The only time I side with liberals. People who obsess about these mediocrities really do stress me out and cause me to wonder about the intelligence of the obsessives.
Equally fatigued with Jim Rockford’s Trans Am. And Magnum’s Ferrari. Love both cars, but they’re hardly anti-hero bait. The first is more gas than an anti-hero can afford, and the second is just ridiculous.
We have to ask ourselves, What does an anti-hero really need? You know he lives in a bad part of town. Probably in a walkup or a trailer. His car can’t be some easy steal, or a wanna steal, or anything but a whybother.
There’s only one answer, despite all your fond hopes. The Brits had a naval classification in WWII called a Q-Ship. It looked like a merchant vessel, sluggish, old, and vulnerable. But it had lethal guns.
There were Q-ships in American cars of the past. Whoops. May need another post…
Don’t even know where to start. My parents traded an infinitely cooler car for the first Mustang in 1965, which was a Ford Falcon with racier sheet metal and a 289 V-8. I hated it. I was 12. Old enough to know that it felt, looked, and was cheap.
Then the years rolled by, as they do, and gradually the Mustang became the indispensable accessory of every TV hero who was supposed to be seen as some kind of rebel against authority. Men and women both. If they were eccentric or down on their luck or on the side of the people against The Man, they invariably owned a clapped out 1966 Mustang convertible, always always red. The scriptwriter’s easiest exposition of character.
I can tell you my wife is sick to death of hearing me rail against this nonsensical trick. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit I bought a five liter Mustang once, trying to replace a Chrysler 300 I’d given up for financial reasons years before. It was a joke. Where the Chrysler lived to spread its wings and run, the Mustang had to have spurs dug deep into its flanks. Oh really? You want to go fast? Oh well. I’ll try (grunting and protesting the whole way). And handling? Forget it. When the merest mist hit the pavement, the Mustang became the tail-happiest critter on earth. Simultaneous understeer and oversteer. What a treat. I got rid of it in less than two years.
I have nothing against anti-heroes. I just don’t think they should be cliches. There’s no way to stop the stream of seedy private eye shows on TV. Not even trying to do that. I’m just suggesting that some of them should drive something besides a junky 1966 Mustang convertible, red.
You’re all probably too upset about Iran and POTUS treason to think about this. Which is why I’ll end this here. But if you are interested, I’ll do a followup with nominations for replacement anti-hero cars.
Let me know if you have ideas of your own.
Facebook seems to be unhappy with me. When I post something against the presidential orthodoxy, it doesn’t show up on my newsfeed. Just how closely are we being monitored and controlled?
There’s still another path. You can always go directly to my current blog, which is called Instapunk Rules. Lots of fun stuff there.
Did you know that March is Womyn’s History Month? Needless to say, they’ve been celebrating. Some highlights of the wit and wisdom they’ve shown since the same time last month.
Sarah Silverman volunteered to educate us men about how to resist our irresistible compulsion to rape every woman in sight. Pretty white of her I must say.
Especially given that Lena Dunham penned an outstandingly witty New Yorker article designed to instruct her sistren how to tell men from dogs. She lightened the blow by pretending she was only talking about Jewish men. Dogs have yet to organize their own victimization movement and identify their own triggers and micro aggressions. I’m nervous about what pit bulls and Rottweilers might have to say when they do.
Speaking of mad dogs, Hillary struck yet another blow for womyn’s absolute equality in the competitive field of politics by issuing a list of words, principally adjectives, that will not be tolerated during the upcoming campaign in which she can be expected to destroy all her opponents, male and female equally, after the fashion of her dynastic, one generation lineage of utter criminality. Just don’t say anything sexist. That would really piss her off.
Thing is, looking at womyn and noticing that they’re female remains one of the very worst things men can do, curse them. Why one of the leading womyn designers has announced a line of underwear for the superior sex that is intended to be decidedly unsexy. Or so she claims. You be the judge. Color us impressed but baffled.
Bold and groundbreaking as this offensive is, it’s not enough in the U.K. There, the lesbians are getting mad at straight womyn for appropriating their shapeless baggy clothes look. Apparently straight womyn have a duty to deflect hateful man stares away from the ones who find them even more offensive than radical feminists. One can only hope they’ll work it through without the kind of knock-down drag-out cat fight men find so erotic.
Actually, nothing is enough to satisfy womyn in the U.K. Here’s the lede from a recent article in the Washington Times.
A U.K. student feminism conference is asking attendees to refrain from clapping and use “jazz hands” instead so as to not trigger anxiety in others.
The National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Campaign announced the clapping “ban” at the West Midlands conference on Twitter Tuesday, shortly after receiving a request from the Oxford University Women’s Campaign.
“Please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!” Oxford representatives wrote.
In case you’re not completely conversant with what “jazz hands” are, here’s a brief tutorial.
I was thinking about waiting for the end of the month. But then, I got to thinking, you might mistake this post for an April Fool’s joke.
P.S. I should have known they’d save the best for last. Something about cats, which as you all know, I know nothing of.
Our chief negotiator, the senior administration official in a state of rigor too mortis to play Sunday golf, has closed the deal with the caliphate, leading purveyors of death on earth.
The news agency Agence France-Presse reports from Lausanne, Switzerland that Iran and the P5+1 powers (the five UN Security Council permanent members, plus Germany) have reached “provisional agreement” on the terms of nuclear deal.
Though the terms were not released as the news broke at roughly 9:15 a.m. EDT, the framework is thought to be generous to Iran, as the U.S. and other western nations had caved on key positions in the days leading up to a March 31 deadline.
Breitbart News had predicted that a deal would be reached Sunday, as the travel schedules of senior world leaders in Switzerland for the negotiations made it virtually impossible for all of them to be present after Sunday’s deliberations.
Something about the Brains Buffet in Nantucket scheduled for tomorrow. A can’t miss event.
All is well in Zombieland.
So. We have this tomcat who is the terror of the neighborhood. He stays out all night, comes home with the occasional limp and paws that need to be rewrapped after his bruising prizefights.
Can he be bothered to hunt down the mouse who has made our lives so annoying the last two days?
No. The mouse walks right in front of us. Begins at the litter box. Sashays across the rug. Gets in between the components of the stereo and stretches out for a nap. Goes underneath the door into the bathroom and acts like we’ve alarmed him when we go for a pill or a pee.
Boldly, we sentenced Elliott to spend the night in the media room, door closed, to finish off this menace. Five minutes ago, I saw Mr. Mouse in the bathroom again. Grrrr.
Time to go nuclear.
And then the super-nuclear ultimate option: Scottish Deerhound.
Guess we’re going to have to buy a trap.
If you’ve been wondering why Obama is actively selling out Israel while appeasing Iran, meditate on this:
“I am Iranian by birth and of my Islamic Faith. I am also an American citizen and seek to help change America to be a more Islamic country. My faith guides me and I feel like it is going well in the transition of using freedom of religion in America against itself”
– Valerie Jarrett Stanford University 1977.
Yeah. I was in Greenwich, New Jersey, where they had their own Tea Party about the same time Boston had theirs. They dumped it in the harbor. We burned it. There’s a monument to the burning.
The house I was in belonged to a clockmaker named Benjamin Reeve. Why the first floor was so much taller than the second.
Then, that morning, the TV was on with nobody watching and the phone rang. My stepdaughter cried out. It was her granddad who had called and her mother who pointed. One of the towers was on fire. As we watched, another plane hit. And the world changed forever in a moment.
My Boudica had a different experience, related here.
The same pup who challenged me to remember after I challenged him to remember saw no relevance in the fact that I remembered the Kennedy assassination, even though 9/11 happened to him at the same age the assassination happened to all of us. So I thought I would demonstrate the specifics of my memory. I was at school here.
It was 2:25 in the afternoon. Usually, we took the bus home. This day, though, my mother was waiting for us in our white privilege car.
“The president has been shot,” she said. She looked white. We went white. Probably our most white privilege moment ever. My sister got sick in the grass.
He was dead. And then everything changed forever.
Yes, she’s my favorite female athlete. Why? She’s determined not to lose. Because of this.
Not because of this.
She’s 11-0 in the UFC now. Three videos you need to see. The first is as short as her last brutal fight.
14 seconds to victory.
Down immediately and out. Armbar.
The next two are a documentary about how her even tougher mother taught her how to fight.
Every woman and most guys are going to love this.
P.S. I’d have shown you the videos but Don King said no. Not really. My wife went to bed and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use her new computer. Maybe you can see videos tomorrow. They really are sensational. Rhonda is hot stuff as a fighter. [CORRECTED: My wife woke up and did the embeds.]
I guess it’s time for me to admit something. I’ve outgrown Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. No matter how much I love Cate Blanchette. I love something else. The possible connections between philosophers and music. Because music is the secret of philosophy. More meaning in what Denyce Graves sings than most of what I read or reason. So I’ve made a few tentative stabs at correlating philosophers with music. First up, Nietzche, who wrote his own. Not necessarily good but tactically consistent. Repetition is everything. He thought everything repeated repeatedly, exactly. Sometimes I agree. But I’m not as smart as he was. Nobody is.
I know nobody wants to hear this, but philosophy and music are the same thing. Not crappy lyrics but the music of the spheres. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart were the greatest of philosophers. They just weren’t speaking in words. Still. There were philosophers who did relentlessly speak in words. What did they sound like? Kant, for example. The really really smart, rational one. Like this.
Music as logic, difficult, complicated, brilliant, unsatisfying, unfulfilling.
One could go back to Plato, who saw shadows in a cave. He had a vision. And a huge question about the shadows he saw. Somebody realized it.
Even the Romans had a philosopher. Marcus Aurelius. He was what is called a stoic. Whatever happens, you accept. I think that’s how it works.
Sure, it hurts. But when it’s time to die, you just die.
Obviously, we’re skipping around. The opposite of Plato was Rousseau, who inspired the Marquis de Sade, unless it was the other way around.
Much (if not much) earlier we get the much smarter than Rousseau Voltaire. Who was more like me.
Which brings us pretty much up to date in philosophy, unless you count the Babe Ruth of philosophy. Christ. Sorry. Didn’t mean to swear.
Well. Sure I do. The Babe is the Babe. Isn’t he?
We’ve been getting an inferiority complex. Other FaceBookers are taking pictures of their dinner. Arugula and hummus with anchovies. Brussels Sprouts on a plate as if they were food. Raw fish with a becoming pyramid arrangement of vitamins. The peculiar food resembling crap Vegans eat.
Well, guess what. We eat too! Here’s tonight “cuisine au bas,” Elsinboro style. And it’s not always avec Poupon either. Sometimes it’s avec les Frenches. How sophisticated can you get?
You’ll have to click on the graphic to see its full magnificence. Do you need any explanation?
Oh, okay. Explanation for the proles. The NCAA tourney is a state of the art exemplar of our New American Way, which is called Crony Capitalism, College Program (CCCP). The submerged tenth battle each other tooth and nail for the right to be in the final. We root for underdogs and surprisingly (Ratings +++) underdogs win. Then we get down to the final, where we actually want to see the best against the best (Ratings ++++),
And there’s the Winner. The inveterate, always and forever Winner.
While we’re on the subject, it’s also odd what gets you started remembering. My wife, at this moment, is in a laundromat because our washer died and what with weather and physical ills, we haven’t bought a replacement. So she’s being (naturally) crabby with me as she watches clothes swirling around inside the washer window. I should be there with her, shame on me, but I got up too late and she was already raring to go.
So, after her departure, I made a lame attempt at empathy, trying to remember a laundromat past. I been there, don’t you worry. Trying not to look at women inspecting their undies after not enough time in the dryer. Don’t be calling me some elitist.
Except that my memory played one of its usual tricks on me. Here I am, visualizing a washing machine, and suddenly I remember another day when I was ten and on board a trans-Atlantic ocean liner that somehow stumbled into the middle of an honest-to-God hurricane. Which you could see through the cabin porthole. Washing machine on steroids.
We were on the Leonardo da Vinci, pride of the Italian fleet. Whose captain thought he would just ‘nudge’ Beulah and let it go past. Bad bad captaining.
Nearly died that day. But that’s not the story today. I’ve been aboard three different ocean liners. Strong emotional bonds because I might have died in one of them. You have no idea what it’s like to sit on the floor and feel the ship lean into waves twice her height and wait, wait, for this suddenly frail monster to return to even keel. Again and again and again. For hours.
Aboard three of the greatest civilian maritime creations of the twentieth century. And all of them are now dead, pathetic hulks.
The Leonardo is gone forever, gorgeous as she was.
I was a first class passenger on the first Queen Elizabeth Cunard liner. Had rice Crispies served with pure cream. Heaven. She’s a side-lying hulk in the east somewhere.
I was also a visitor on the SS United States, a farewell party for friends of my parents who were also sailing from Genoa. She was the fastest ocean liner ever. Now she’s a shameful, rotting wreck in the harbor of Philadelphia. I wrote about her. Because she makes me feel ancient.
These titanic (yes) creations are more vulnerable than a human being. But human beings have the capacity to remember and grieve. Which I’m doing now. Through the porthole of a washing machine at a laundromat in Pennsville NJ. Isn’t life the best of all comedies?
The Internet is amazing. Sometimes you think your childhood past is actually an invented thing. I was trying to explain to my wife — recent convert to Formula 1 racing — about the Vineland Speedway in south Jersey. Tried to frame what it was like to drive in the entrance, which had a, to me, spectacular marquee featuring a dead Kaiser Frazier atop a simple sign. Then, lo and behold, I found the photo above. Exactly as I remembered it.
I’d been teasing her about F1 drivers past, quizzing her about which ones were still alive and which had perished in the world’s most dangerous sport. I mean, if you’re going to plight a troth of this sort, you should know the bodies on which it is built. Because there are a lot of bodies.
The memory of one of the dead drivers propelled me back to the Vineland Speedway, where I experienced many wondrous things as a child in the early 1960s. Events aplenty. Sights, certainly. But also the keenest triggers memory has — smells. Two stand out. In the bleacher seats at the Speedway, the comforting, enfolding aroma of cherry pipe tobacco, which neither of the pipe smokers in my family could stomach. But to my ten year old nose it was beatific.
But cherry tobacco can’t hold a candle to the other smell, which in my mind is still the single best smell I have ever smelled, including you know what. It was that good, that arousing, that magnificent. It’s called Castrol R. A racing motor oil made of castor beans.
On the Sundays when there was sports car racing at Vineland Speedway, the air was pregnant with Castrol R heated to a racing temperature. I won’t describe it because no one can. Just think of it as heroin for the nose. Why it’s the sensory trigger it is. A friend of mine and I bought a Norton motorcycle together and put the miraculous lubricant into its crankcase just so we could have the olfactory experience again. It’s not good mechanical practice. If you’re not using the motor more or less continuously, it turns into a whitish gel that gums up the works. But we were young and couldn’t resist.
Where was I? Just past the entrance, off a nondescript and cluttered highway called Route 47, was the parking lot. Orange gravel, no painted lines, just cars of people there for the races. But such cars. License plates from all over the eastern seaboard. How could they even know to come here, to a backwoods track in Vineland, NJ? But here they were. Austin Healeys, MGAs, Morgans, Lotus 7s, even Bentleys and Rolls Royces. And this, which was for me an imprinting experience, the first time I laid eyes on the brand new, heretofore only rumored, masterpiece called the XKE.
You thought I was going to talk racing? I will. The track was narrow and short, although there was a stretch out of sight of the stands. Suspense. Who would be in the lead when they emerged from the hidden part. When I was young I didn’t know the track was short. In my teenage years, though, my friend of the Castrol R fixation and I found the shut down circuit (now part of a community college campus) and ran it in his XKE. Unbelievably narrow, unbelievably tight, with an unbelievably nasty chicane. About there, we hit a dirt bike rider who had the same idea we did. He was unhurt. We shook hands and went our separate ways.
The only real straightaway was immediately in front of the stands. That’s where I saw the first SCCA showdown between a 289 Cobra and a Corvette. Both cars were way too much for such a tinsel track. The Corvette actually had better handling (who’d a thunk it?) and led on the first lap into the straightaway. Then the Cobra thing happened. The driver pressed the accelerator and devoured the Corvette within the first two hundred yards. Never looked back. Never had to.
I saw other things on the Speedway track. Before there was Danica there was Janet Guthrie. Before there was Janet Guthrie, there was Donna Mae Mims.
We saw her at the Vineland Speedway. And, yes, back in those dark and oppressive male chauvinist days, we cheered for her like the dickens. Not ironically at all. We wanted her to win. Which she did. The first female SCCA champion in history. The past is not always what you’ve been taught it is.
Saw other things you wouldn’t expect in the backwoods either. There was the driver in an Elva Courier with the number ‘000.’ He was simply beyond compare.
The races were typically 25 laps. Triple-Zero typically lapped every other car in the race, meaning he began in the lead and then overtook every car behind him before the race was over. The driver was named Mark Donohue. How this post got started. I asked my wife how many drivers I had seen in person died on the track eventually. He’s the one.
Funny. In those long lost years I also had the good fortune to travel the course of the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, because my dad was almost as crazy about racing as I was, but that’s a faint and, well, unconvincing memory to me now, because there was no cherry pipe tobacco, no Castrol R, and no local sense of identity about it. It was just a stunt we pulled. The Vineland Speedway was life being lived the way I’ve always wanted to live it.
N.B. Explaining the asterisk above. SCCA stands for Sports Car Club of America. One of the future champions who raced at Vineland was this guy.
P.S. Another question my wife flunked. Who’s the driver who invented the tradition of spraying everybody with Champagne after a big win?
Like all people who value education, she’s glad to learn about Dan. And she thinks he was better looking than both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. He coulda shoulda been a movie star.
I love this guy.
Charles “Chuck” Lane (born 1961) is an American journalist and editor who is an editorial writer for The Washington Post and a regular guest on Fox News Channel. Lane was the lead editor of The New Republic from 1997 to 1999. After the New Republic, Lane worked for the Post, where, from 2000 to 2009, he covered the Supreme Court of the United States and judicial system issues. He has since joined the newspaper’s editorial page.
They put him on the panel at Fox News Special Report, and I swear he is the perfect personification of the ‘objective’ mainstream media. He is so articulate, so plausible, and indistinguishable from a block of wood. There is nothing of reality that can ever penetrate his knowing face and dead eyes. Every time he appears I am amazed at his ability to perceive nothing of reality, hear nothing of the superior intellects around him, and still seem so satisfied with himself. Krauthammer makes a monkey of him and he just swivels his big face to a different camera angle, smiling all the while.
He’s my MSM hero. Harvard College, Yale Law School, and his perspicacity is exactly equal to that of Cat Deeley on Dancing with the Stars. He has absolutely no idea that he’s nothing but a smooth dunce, turning his majestic head toward the camera and intoning nonsense.
I’m in awe. The closest I can get to Arbus on TV. Don’t ask me who Arbus is. His defensive but knowing daughter will get mad at me.
Aaah. Young love. The movie was the Road Warrior. She had no lines. I fell for her as she battled atop the tanker for the life of human civilization. She was blonde, beautiful, and ferocious. And then they killed her.
When I should have known that we really were in peril. Actually, I guess I did. I’ve never gotten over her. And neither should you. Because she’s in our future.
Do you have a favorite extra?
I’m famous, with my wife at least, for being intractably unwilling to watch movies a second time. Once you know how the plot turns out, why bother? Never felt that way about books when I was young. Dozens that I read multiple times. But I’m not young anymore. And movies tend to be Point A to Point Q or S kind of stuff. If they ever got to Z maybe you could stand watching again. Maybe a lot of you are the same way.
But even I have movies that fall into a special category. If you happen across them while channel flipping, you fall into them and watch them to the end. They don’t have to be the best movies. They’re just the most seductive ones. “I’ll wait till this next great scene.” Then, “The next great scene will be in just a few more minutes.” And finally, “Oh hell. In for a Penny, in for a pound. I’ll stay to the end.”
Saw one last night I hadn’t realized had made this rare list. The Outlaw Josie Wales.
Others? On the Waterfront. Scarface. Die Hard. Fort Apache. Shane. The Big Sleep. Casablanca. There may be others, but it’s a short list.
How about you? Be strict with yourselves. Not movies you like and have on DVD. Only movies you keep getting sucked into because you suddenly discover them playing on TV, even if it’s past your bedtime.
I know nobody’s reading this, but I guess this is another kind of confession. The power of certain films to reach out of the box and grab you by the throat.
So give me your confessions. There’s a special place in movie eternity for phenomena like this. Help me document it. Or don’t.