Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thumbs Way Up

Roger Ebert is having a rennaissance.

I'm not sure if it's because he can no longer talk, but America's most popular film critic has been on fire recently.

Whether he's got more time on his hands now that he's not appearing on TV or he's just happy to be alive after multiple surgeries and lengthy bouts of bedrest and physical therapy, the man has struck a torrid pace.

There seem to be more reviews of new films in addition to regular contributions to his reviews of Great Movies from the past, the always perceptive and playful Answer Man Q&A column, reader contributions to his witty Little Movie Glossary, analysis of cultural moments such as John McCain's appearance on Letterman, and twists to his writing such as this brilliant dissection of a new film based on the first eight minutes with a link to a thoughtful blog post and an engaged discussion.

In fact, the greatest engine for his newfound enthusiasm seems to be a discovery of blogging. Roger Ebert's Journal has become an outlet for deeper and longer investigations into the many themes and theories he's espoused over the years in reviews.

He's tackled the definition and mission of a critic, taught how to analyze a movie a shot at a time, and talked about how to answer the question "What's your favorite movie?"

To top it off, you get an amazingly refreshing string of intelligent, engaged and almost unfailingly polite comments which Ebert reads and responds to.

I would never wish such severe medical maladies on anyone, much less someone I've enjoyed for so long. But if there is an upside to such struggle and discomfort, I'm glad this one man has found a way to share it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Country First

I'm doing my best to avoid blatant political discussion here. But as a service to anyone who plans to vote next month, it should be your duty as an informed citizen to read these two indespensible and engrossingly convergent profiles of Sen. John McCain.

First, the late David Foster Wallace's brilliant look at the "maverick" in 2000. And this recent, even sharper look by Tim Dickenson into the necessity for those quote marks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Choosing Sides

My adoptive state of Connecticut has become the third state in the country to legalize gay marriage. This is an encouraging trend that I fully endorse.

But while I applaud the state Supreme Court for granting same-sex couples the freedom to enjoy the same rights as everyone else let me take a moment to say something that might disappoint a small, but well-dressed percentage of the population: I'm still going to marry a woman.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Birthday Update!

CONNECTICUT - After 34 years of celebrations, a stunning new record has emerged, suggesting that D. Bones has hated birthdays since as far back as 1977.
"I don't like birthdays!" Bones, 34, exclaimed Friday morning, shortly after opening his presents and answering a celebratory phone call.
It appears this is nothing new. New evidence unearthed from a photograph hanging on the wall in the Bones residence indicates a less-than-happy response to an early birthday cake.
It was unclear whether the young Bones was responding to his birthday, the party letdown, or the 1970s-era overuse of denim, sources said.
"Something always went wrong," Bones explained. "Something stupid that got me upset."
"I cried at my first five [birthdays] at least," he continued. "I mean, I was an infant for at least two of them."
Bones, who insisted that he and his future wife have a wedding rather than elope, maintained that he dislikes being the center of attention. "Like it's any great accomplishment to grow older," he said. "And I never like the gifts I get."
Bones then complained about his shoes. "That's what you should have gotten me," he mumbled as he tried to fish a pebble out of a small hole in the heel. "Shoes."

Happy Birthday!

Two big birthdays today, so I thought we should consider some similarities:

                                                 Brett Favre                               D. Bones
Age:                                             39                                                  34
Hopeless seasons with Jets:         .5                                                   34
Football-related streak:          279 QB starts                      632 sad Sundays
Loved by:                                     Peter King                                        Me
Enemy of:                                       PETA                                              OJ
Facial Fuzz:                                  Stubbley                                     Groomed
Hair color:                                   70% gray                                     10% gray
Football skills:                        Can't complain                      Untapped glory

Saturday, October 04, 2008

OJ To Be Inducted Into Hall of Prison Guards and Showertime Rapists

Ask, and ye shall receive.

It seems for years retailers have steadily jumped the calendar, pulling out the tinsel as early as August to stretch the holiday season. But Christmas really did come early this year.

Santa came in the form of nine women and three men from Sin City who found OJ Simpson guilty on 12 counts stemming from an armed robbery last year.

Does it matter that the crime looked an awful lot like a bunch of scumbags conspiring to send OJ to jail and make money off their eventual book deals? Not to me. My disdain for The Juice has been well documented on this blog. And there is often a greater justice than the American court system.

The question, now that karma has intervened to partially reverse the criminal negligence of the Los Angeles Prosecutor's Office and the 12 Angry Morons selected to serve on the jury of OJ's peers in peerless incompetence, is this: What's next?

A lot has gone wrong since 1995. But this could be the start of something. I will wait patiently while the Supreme Court reverses Bush V. Gore.

And it's about time The Jets get to replay the second half of the 1998 AFC Championship Game against Denver. Vinny Testaverde, Curtis Martin, Keith Byers: Time for some redemption.

Rolling Bones Mark II: Jazz Odyssey

Something is happening here.

Clearly it hasn't been happening on this blog. It's in my head. And I'm completely flummoxed about how to get it out.

I started this blog while in journalism school. I was finally reconnecting with the part of my brain that takes thoughts and puts them into orderly, occasionally witty words (perhaps too many of them costing above $5)

But at some point I came to a point where I felt useless. I track the traffic here, and it's not an exaggeration to say that the regular readership of this blog could fit in a compact car with a baby seat and a Doberman in back. The others came (though likely not in the way they had hoped) looking for naked pictures of Eva Longoria. And thanks to this fresh reference, I can guarantee a new surge in visitors typing with one hand and their pants at their ankles.

This was disheartening. I mean, I have an ego. I like to think I'm humble, but nobody really writes to be anonymous. As a reporter, I like being recognized and praised for good work even as I maintain a cool, above-it-all, watchdog demeanor.

And I'm perhaps excessively proud of much of the work I've done on this blog. If you happen to be new here or haven't visited in a long time, please peruse a random sampling of archived material represented by the dated months on the right side rail. It's been a place to post some of my most passionate beliefs, some cool though completely obsessive shit, the Great Collaboration on Mock Porn Movie Titles, and my hatred of all things OJ.

I'm also incredibly resistant to Facebook, not necessarily for rational reasons. I like the idea of connecting with friends and family across the country. I like the idea of spying on long-lost friends and acquaintances I really don't care enough to actually connect with. And it's not like I need an excuse to fritter away my time.

But I don't want to put my life out there for scrutiny. If I were to jump into the Facebook pool, I'd maintain strict controls on who and what gets posted. Maybe I can drive some traffic to this blog. But it will never be the kind of confessional therapy session that really attracts readers. And as a reporter, I really shouldn't be talking about all the stuff I actually believe because it could compromise my ability to maintain objectivity in the stories I might cover, scare away potential employers or invite two guys named Phil to confine me in a flourescent light-drenched room and feed me thorugh a straw while speakers blast Clay Aiken day and night.

So what's the solution? This blog can continue to provide a place for me to post cool stuff I encounter on the 'net, complete with a few wry comments. But that really doesn't fire me up. I can try to scrub this site of any reference to my identity. But that probably isn't practical or even possible, depending on how these things get archived across the web.

And yet I can't imagine keeping quiet anymore. There is something going on all right. Something about an election, the looming collapse of the nation's financial system, the assisted suicide of the newspaper industry, and -- on a personal level -- my upcoming wedding, blogging at a site near you.

That last bit is more than a late August ceremony to be attended by at least half of that compact car of Rolling Bones readers. I see the 11 months to come as an opportunity to solidify relationships with family and friends, to reestablish connections with far-flung folks and form a bond with members of a new family. This blog -- and my inevitable capitulation to Facebook -- can help facilitate this.

All of which is to say, something is happening here, and here I'll have something to say about it. Writing is thinking. It's not thinking written down. I need the exercise to make sense of this world. Your comments and contributions will always be welcomed and almost certainly mocked.

With any luck, this new era will soon see a brighter future for the country with a steady, worthy leader in the White House. And OJ in jail.