Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mary & Rhoda Take Your Seats

We admire the purity of Silverman’s scornfulness, but we don’t want to hang out with her the way we did with Mary and Rhoda. Not that she’d let us get that close anyway. “The Sarah Silverman Program” is like a club so exclusive that only the owner can get in — not even God is on the list. (Tad Friend in The New Yorker).

The Years & the Thunderclouds Pile Up

But the question of indefinite detention itself — which might be construed as a core issue — hangs over our discussions like a far-off thundercloud, darkening a little with each passing year and each report of another suicide attempt at Guantánamo. ( Joe Lelyveld in The New York Review of Books).

New Frontier in Polarization: Kids

Once upon a time, asking about someone’s children was like talking about the weather. Then again, once upon a time talking about the weather was also like talking about the weather — not a portal into the political or the apocalyptic. ( Stacy Schiff in The NYT).

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rueful Laughter at a Sitting Bull Memorial

The 12-foot monument rises where Sitting Bull is supposedly buried and where he certainly once felt at home; where the steel-blue clouds of winter press down upon the hills of dormant grass; where nothing moves but a solitary bird in flight, and the whinnies of a distant horse sound almost like an old man’s rueful laughter. (This Land column by Dan Barry in The NYT).

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wolcott on Empty Bottles, Hitler & the Rose Bowl

[Re: Simpson's "If I Did It"]
It is a book out of which no one comes off well, its real-life clichéd characters clattering like empty bottles. (James Wolcott in Vanity Fair).

And ...

[Re: Mailer's "The Castle in the Forest," a fictionalized account of Hitler's youth} All I know is that a third of the way through I knew that finishing the novel would be like trying to dig a tunnel with my bare hands, and that reviewing it would require tunneling back and submitting a piece that would betray the heavy slog of obligation. (Wolcott in his Vanity Fair blog).

And ...

The narration of The Castle in the Forest is such a creaky, padded performance embedded with winking ironies that it's like listening to a Germanic Lionel Barrymore. I'm also apathetic-to-unsympathetic (depending on my fickle mood) regarding Mailer's cosmology; I accept evil in the world, but not as the designer product of the Devil presiding over it like the grand marshall of the Rose Bowl parade. (Wolcott blog).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sizing up the I-Man, Just About Right

[Description of Imus] "You're like Rose Kennedy in a cowboy hat." (Guest on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show).

When the Bells Ring in Glorious Kazakhstan

... The high visibility of Kazakhstan’s many casinos — typically decorated like pinball machines, with blinking neon lights, even when situated in quiet residential neighborhoods — has produced a backlash in this country of only 17 million people.

And ...

[From tableside in a Kapchagai restaurant] “People in general are feeling negative about the Chinese, but they don’t need to worry: the Chinese will come in large groups and stick together in one casino, like a herd.” (Sayassat Dyussembayev, a Kazakh businessman, told a New York Times reporter.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just What We Need: A Prussian Admirer

His [Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's] favorite quotation from history, he told reporters traveling with him this week for meetings with allies and commanders in Europe and the Middle East, is from Frederick the Great, the 18th century Prussian monarch and gifted musician: “Negotiations without arms are like music books without instruments.” Or, put another way, it takes military power to create the leverage necessary to make negotiations fruitful. (Military Memo, New York Times).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

About Those Dancing LowerMyBills.com Banners

"The ads are like a Monty Python sketch," said Dev Ravindran, a software developer from Jersey City who created a blog to track and humorously critique the ads. "Some of them are so out of the blue they make no sense." (Article in today's New York Times).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The View From the Roof: Praying for Deliverance

[On the Iraq Study Group report and the Bush perspective]

There were enough good ideas, anodyne suggestions and blurry recommendations (blurriness is not always bad in foreign affairs -- confusion can buy time!) that I thought the administration would see it as a life raft. Instead they pushed it away. Like the old woman in the flood who took to the roof and implored God to send a boat to save her. A hunk of wood floated by as she prayed with fervor. A busted wooden door floated by as the waters rose and she doubled her prayers. Finally she cried "God, I asked you to save me and you didn't send a boat!" And the voice of God answered: "I sent you a hunk of wood and a door!" We don't always recognize deliverance when it arrives. ( Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal).

Monday, January 15, 2007

And on This Slide ...

Watching George Bush’s televised speech last week, when he revealed what he called “the main elements” of his plan to rescue Iraq, was like watching a slightly nervous lieutenant colonel read PowerPoint slides. (The New Yorker).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Similes on the Big Screen, Take 6

From "Jaws" (1975)

And, you know, the thing about a shark ... he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. (Quint)

See what I do, Chief, is I trick 'em to the surface. And I jab at 'em. I'm not gonna haul 'em up like a lot of catfish. (Quint)

"Blade Runner" (1982)

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. (Batty)

"The Big Sleep" (1942)

[About orchids] Ugh. Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption. (General Sternwood)

I seem to exist largely on heat like a new born spider. (General Sternwood).

Do you always think you can handle people like, uh, trained seals? (Vivian)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surging to the Left, Surging to the Right

It [Bush’s firing commanders who disagreed with the Surge] is like firing your psychiatrist, hiring one who agrees with your plan of recovery and then telling your wife your counselor thinks you're on track. (The Willzhead blog).

It [Democrat’s criticisms] is like driving with someone who criticizes you if you take a wrong turn, but has no idea what to do and prefers to make the situation worse so that they can continue to criticize. (The WatchBlog).

A troop surge is like finding a stockbroker who has lost millions upon millions in the past few years because of bad investments and saying, “Here, take my life savings and invest it for me.” Only an idiot would think this is a good idea. (Great Minds Think Differently blog).

Experts who know the truth understand that sending less than 60.000 more troops . . . is like putting a Band-Aid over the incision your cardiologist makes when going in for open heart work. (honey & quinine blog).

Bush is like the gambler who goes into the casino & after losing his first hand, he doubles down, loses again & doubles down again, hoping against hope that at some point he will win a hand & be ahead. Unfortunately, Bush has now lost 439 hands in a row & all his doubling down has only resulted in $350 billion down the drain, 3,000+ dead American soldiers, 45,000+ wounded American soldiers and untold hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. (Undeniable Liberalism blog).

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Surge Is Already Paying Dividends. Thanks.

The Dowd simile watch:

The American military’s cocky heroes were supposed to sweep in and carry off a poor, grateful Iraq to security and bliss, like Richard Gere did Debra Winger in the finale of “An Officer and a Gentleman.” (Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times column, Love Among the Ruins).

And ...

One reporter who writes about the war told me he thinks of the American entrenchment in Iraq more like a marriage that’s run out of gas, but you decide to stay together because of the kids. (Dowd).

And ...

Some women say that the Surge will not work because it’s like starting over with an old boyfriend: you think you’ve learned the pitfalls and can resume with more success — you can set benchmarks! — but instead you’re swiftly ensnared by the same old failures. (Dowd).

And ...

They may still speak diplomatically, but in body language, Condoleezza Rice and her chosen new deputy, John Negroponte, radiate irritation with the Iraqis, as though they are the most irksome of cousins or in-laws who have long overstayed their welcome, or children who not only don’t thank you for presents but also leave the playroom a mess. (Dowd).

And ... the clincher

With the Surge, as with the invasion of Iraq, W. is like the presumptuous date “who reserves a hotel room and then asks you to the prom,” as my friend Dana Calvo put it. (Dowd).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Uncivil Tongues: The State of Celebrity

He's like the Eveready comb-over bunny. (Rosie O'Donnell on "The View.")

Well, Rosie is a loser. Rosie’s been a loser for a long time. Her magazine failed. She got sued. She folded up like a tent. It was too bad. (The Donald on Fox News).

Friday, January 05, 2007

'Pirates' in Miniature: Future of Movies?

… I rested the iPod on my stomach. And there it sat, riding up and down every time I took a breath. I was on the Black Pearl, all right, standing on her foredeck like a drunken sailor as she plowed through heavy seas. The horizon line kept pitching and heaving, and I had trouble seeing much of anything. ( David Denby in The New Yorker on “The Pirates of the Caribbean” on the video iPod and the future of movies).

And …

The interiors were as dark as caves….

… My ears, fed by headphones, were filled with such details as the chafing of hawsers and feet stomping on straw, but there below me Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom were duelling like two angry mosquitoes in a jar….

… The skeletons danced on shipboard; their bones looked like pieces of string dipped in Elmer’s glue.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Saddam's Blossoms & Sins

... our Baath Party blossoms like a branch turns green.

... We break it [the enemies' plan] as rust devours steel
Like a sinner consumed by his sins

(Part of a poem written in prison by Saddam Hussein).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Woozy From a Big Bucks Cocktail

The world, it seems, has become intoxicated by the steady flow of what my fellow financial writers call "liquidity." Money flows freely, like the vodka from Dennis Kozlowski's infamous ice-hewn David, filling every dark and desolate crevice of the financial world. (Alan Murray writing in the newly skinny Wall Street Journal).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Creationists, a Tornado & the Boeing 747

Creationists argue that the idea that such organized complexity could arise by natural means — without the intercession of a designer mind — is absurd. In particular, they argue that the probability that life could assemble itself spontaneously is extremely close to zero. To dramatize this, they suggest that thinking life could arise by natural means is like thinking a tornado could tear through a junkyard and assemble a Boeing 747. (H. Allen Orr writing in the New York Review of Books: review of "The God Illusion," "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief" and "Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist").