Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some Pork With Your Peanut Butter?

After ticking off all the things New York City has done to guard against another terror attack, Bloomberg called for a risk-based dispersal of homeland security funds, accusing Congress and the White House of spreading homeland security dollars "around the country like peanut butter." (Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York at Senate hearing).

Saturday, February 24, 2007

McCain, a Political Cat That's Off Balance

Mr. McCain is stuck on the bridge of a sinking policy with W. and Dick Cheney, who showed again this week that there is no bottom to his lunacy. The senator supported a war that didn’t need to be fought and is a cheerleader for a surge that won’t work. It has left Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, once the most spontaneous of campaigners, off balance. He’s like a cat without its whiskers. (Maureen Dowd in The NYT).

Expecting Freddy in the Garden State

Because of spending controls, the half penny and fewer uses of one-shots, the structural deficit has been reduced – for the moment. But like Freddy Krueger, it’ll be back. (Gov. John Corzine of New Jersey in Budget Address).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Orleans, Rushmore & Chicken on a Spit

Their arms were folded. It was like talking to Mt. Rushmore. (Dan Baum in his online New Yorker journal, about the New Orleans aftermath of Katrina).

E-mail and phone trees spread the word Monday morning that the City Council was going to be publicly questioning Warren Riley, the police chief, and Eddie Jordan, the district attorney, later that day. “They’re going to turn like chicken on a spit!” a friend who called to alert me to the show exulted. (Baum).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mr. President, Welcome to Third Grade

Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran’s role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break. (Frank Rich in The NYT. Times Select access required).

A Times Psychology Lesson on Suburban Teens

Sophomoric by definition, this youth is plugged into his id but not his conscience, and the stabilizing fluid of common sense is still slipping and sliding through his system like unset Jell-O. (NYT editorial-page blurb on suburban (or subintelligent) teens who run into fences for kicks).

From the Land of Oz

Those striped socks, curling back like a pair of deflating noisemakers. ... (Article in The NYT on Meinhardt Raabe, 91, the Munchkin coroner who confirmed the death of the Wicked Witch in "The Wizard of Oz." Times Select signup required.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Literary Amazement of Amis

[Martin] Amis's observing eye is constantly abulge with amazement at the wickedness and folly of his fellow human beings. He looks upon the world with incredulous surprise, like a man stumbling befuddled out of a dim restaurant into the acid sunlight and traffic roar of a summer afternoon in a strange city. (John Banville writing in The New York Review of Books about Amis and his new "House of Meetings.")

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tortured Similes: Getting Under New Yorker's Skin

The show’s villains usually inflict the more gruesome tortures: their victims are hung on hooks, like carcasses in a butcher shop; poked with smoking-hot scalpels; or abraded with sanding machines. (Jane Mayer in The New Yorker
on “24,” torture and the man behind it all).

His students were particularly impressed by a scene in which Bauer barges into a room where a stubborn suspect is being held, shoots him in one leg, and threatens to shoot the other if he doesn’t talk. In less than ten seconds, the suspect reveals that his associates plan to assassinate the Secretary of Defense. [Retired Law Professor Gary] Solis told me, “I tried to impress on them that this technique would open the wrong doors, but it was like trying to stomp out an anthill.”

“It’s been very heady,” [“24” writer Howard] Gordon said of Washington’s enthusiasm for the show. Roger Director, [“24” executive producer Joel] Surnow’s friend, joked that the conservative writers at “24” have become “like a Hollywood television annex to the White House. It’s like an auxiliary wing.”

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Turning Heads & Phrases on the Runway

Anybody who attempts to deny that today’s cadaverous lovelies have become absurdly attenuated — they move gingerly down the runway like starving egrets — must simply not have been around when models looked more human. (The New York Observer on Fashion Week.

And …

The day’s second jolt of creativity arrived like a sledgehammer from hell. It was the celeb sighting to end all celeb sightings. Indeed, the range and breadth of front-row notables turned the Marc Jacobs show into a veritable waxworks: Rod Stewart, Lil’ Kim, Lenny Kravitz, Lee Radziwill. Other than Dr. Phil and Weird Al Yankovic, it’s hard to think of a contemporary icon who was not present. (Observer)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Getting Gussied Up for Some Important Dates

In the master bathroom, a white sheepskin rug had been slung over the edge of the sunken tub, looking rather like an albino sloth making its way to a watering hole. (Rebecca Mead writing in The New Yorker about dressing up homes for sale).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Taking a Page (& Plenty More) From 'Profiles'

Together with Mark Salter, McCain has built a franchise of best-selling books out of his reputation for personal and public integrity. They bear titles such as Faith of My Fathers, Why Courage Matters, and Character Is Destiny, and make John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage look like a mere Hallmark card. (Todd Purdum in Vanity Fair.)

And ...

At the slightest sign of direct sunlight he breaks out the baseball cap that is always kept at the ready, and slathers his face with so much sunblock that he looks like Marcel Marceau until his skin absorbs it. (Purdum). [McCain had a malignant melanoma removed from the left side of his face in 2000.]