Signs and signals

I can’t quite accept Fred Kaplan’s otherwise well-calibrated writhing over President Obama’s decision to commit more ground troops to Afghanistan because he makes the following claim: Another problem with withdrawing is that it would signal, correctly or not, a huge victory for anti-American forces generally. If we left Afghanistan to the Taliban (and, by extension,Continue reading “Signs and signals”

Singles 11-29-09

The last new batch of the year before we roll out best-ofs. Most of these personally disappointed me. Swift was due for a fall, fine, but I shouldn’t have been so surprised that Adam Lambert would reveal so quickly his origins as a wish fulfillment of Rob Sheffield’s if he’d been asked to produce “AmericanContinue reading “Singles 11-29-09”

Swagga like fox

  I never understood why so many women thought  George Clooney was this awesome fuckpuppy. He coiffed and arranged himself so that you missed his inclination towards pudginess and the blandness of his face. As Mr. Fox in the Wes Anderson film, though, Clooney gets the makeover of his life. Wearing a double-breasted corduroy jacket,Continue reading “Swagga like fox”

“The landscape for the consumer in America has fundamentally changed”

For a detailed, depressing examination of how credit card companies get away with what Martin Luther would have called usury, watch this Frontline episode, which aired last night. Listening to Timothy Geithner and Christopher Dodd – the latter of whom talks and looks so much like a stereotypical senator that Claude Rains would have playedContinue reading ““The landscape for the consumer in America has fundamentally changed””

Stop the presses: old geezer shouts at cloud

  The Tom Petty I like recorded his best music between 1988 and 1992 in the so-called Wilburys Period, during which he released signature song “Free Fallin’” ( incredibly, his second American top ten if you discount the Stevie Nicks collaboration “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”) and recorded an album with the Traveling Wilburys thatContinue reading “Stop the presses: old geezer shouts at cloud”

“It’s not a lifestyle choice, Bella”

Roger Ebert on The Twilight Saga: New Moon: In his absence she’s befriended by Jake (Taylor Lautner), that nice American Indian boy. “You’ve gotten all buff!” she tells him. Yeah, real buff, and soon he’s never wearing a shirt and standing outside in the winter rain as if he were–why, nothing more than a wildContinue reading ““It’s not a lifestyle choice, Bella””

Natalie Imbruglia: Still Torn

I still stand by what I wrote a couple of months ago about Natalie Imbruglia’s “Want,” except now I love it love it love it. It really does remind me a lot of a track like “The Beginning,” a dance club hit in late ’91 for Seal: disco-inflected house, creamy, with a chalky aftertaste. IContinue reading “Natalie Imbruglia: Still Torn”

Sarah Palin: Anything for cheap applause

In the most recent Newsweek, Christopher Hitchens returns to what he does: penning lucid, vicious denunciations. If you think Sarah Palin inspires too many easy titters, please remember that “her” memoir Going Rogue currently sits atop Amazon’s bestseller list and for whose sake she’s submitting to abject promotional interviews. I do feel sorry for OprahContinue reading “Sarah Palin: Anything for cheap applause”