Civic Literacy Test!

Have fun. Ignore the conservative bent to some of these options, especially towards the end of the quiz (“National defense is considered a public good because…,” rofflez). I got a 80% (48 out of 60 right).


Thanks to TIME Magazine, its subscribers now know that we and the rest of America incorporated “ghetto blaster” into the vernacular years ago. And, oh yeah, something called, goodness me, “rockism.” (Thanks, Matos)

No promises

The second film in a row in which he had no hand in its writing, David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises is also the second consecutive film in which he reminds us that, before his art rep subsumed him, he was a skilled manipulator of batshit B-movie conventions. Since the charm of his work before The Dead… More No promises

Notes on Cruising

(The film, that is. Ask me about cruising on your own time.) (1) Eric Henderson is right-on in admiring how the film’s raunch sticks a lubed finger up the arse of the resigned gentility of, say, Brokeback Mountain. Of course director William Friedkin believes that, as he smugly reminds us in one of the DVD… More Notes on Cruising

Occasionally I remind myself that I was an English guy and fiction writer before a pop critic. With eMusic launching an audiobook section I’m hoping to write stuff like this more often.

Fifteen of my favorite songs of this not-yet-concluded year, in no order except which I’d rather hear right now. Amerie – “Crush”Ne-Yo – “Because of You”The National – “Mistaken For Strangers”Maroon 5 – “Makes Me Wonder”Prince – “Chelsea Rodgers”Justin Timberlake – “LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows”Modest Mouse – “Dashboard”The Killers – “Read My Mind (Pet… More

Angry and frightened by the Larry Craig nonsense, one of our former student editors came out to the university community – hell, the world – a few days ago. I’m pleased to see that his letter to Andrew Sullivan was published on Sullivan’s site this afternoon. I’m proud of Joel.

"An aged man is but a paltry thing"

Watching Away From Her, the audience isn’t supposed to believe in Julie Christie as actress; writer-director Sarah Polley uses her as iconography, and with those magnificent cheekbones and that wan elusiveness flickering behind her eyes, who could blame her? When I watched the cold drift of Alzheimer’s into her brain mimic the piling of Canadian… More "An aged man is but a paltry thing"


Now here’s one collection I can look forward to. My birthday’s in just two months. Please start a charity drive. As big an influence on me as Pauline Kael.