Saturday, December 29, 2007

Beijing in Training: Getting Nowhere Fast

Beijing is like an athlete trying to get into shape by walking on a treadmill yet eating double cheeseburgers at the same time. (Jim Yardley in The NYT).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bugs, Baby Birds & 'Blood'

Inside a deep, dark hole, a man pickaxes the hard-packed soil like a bug gnawing through dirt. (Manohla Dargis in The NYT writing about the film "There Will Be Blood").

And ...

Poor, isolated, thirsting for water (they don’t have enough even to grow wheat), the dazed inhabitants gaze at the oilman like hungry baby birds.

And ...

[Daniel] Day-Lewis’s outsize performance, with its footnote references to Huston and strange, contorted Kabuki-like grimaces, occasionally breaks the skin of the film’s surface like a dangerous undertow.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Fishbowl That Is the Campaign

Covering Mrs. Clinton in particular can feel like watching a candidate through thick aquarium glass — she sees you but can’t hear your questions no matter how hard you tap. (Jason Horowitz in The New York Observer).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 'Sorry' State of Politics

Indeed like salami, regret could be sliced thick or thin. (Daniel Henninger in The WSJ on the apology outbreak on the campaign trail).

And ...

With the arrival of the Web, the merest off-script remark can race like wildfire from media shrub-top to media shrub-top, threatening to burn down one's campaign by morning.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting ...

Kung fu master Shi Dechao can swing his 22-pound "monk's spade," an ancient Chinese shovel, like a majorette twirling a baton. (The WSJ).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Extra Dessert, Inflight Films & Old Lady Flatulence

Spend eight thousand dollars on a ticket and, if you want an extra thirteen cents’ worth of ice cream, all you have to do is ask. It’s like buying a golf cart and having a few tees thrown in, but it still works. (David Sedaris in The New Yorker).

And ...

I pulled my private screen from its hiding place in my armrest, and had just slipped on my headphones when the flight attendant came by. “Are you sure I can’t get you something to eat, Mr. . . . ?” She looked down at her clipboard and made a sound like she was gargling with stones.

And ...

For children, though, nothing beats a flatulent old lady. What made it all the crazier was that she wasn’t embarrassed by it — no more than our collie, Dutchess, was. Here it sounded like she was testing out a chainsaw, yet her face remained inexpressive and unchanging.

Cue the Breeze

Michael Cera enters a scene like a soft breeze. (David Denby in The New Yorker on the new film "Juno."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bon Mots From an Inexperienced JFK

In 1960, the experience card was played by all comers against the young upstart senator from Massachusetts. In Iowa, L.B.J. went so far as to tell voters that they should vote for “a man with a little gray in his hair.” But experience, Kennedy would memorably counter, “is like taillights on a boat which illuminate where we have been when we should be focusing on where we should be going.” (Frank Rich in The NYT).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

All's Not Quiet on This Northern Front

“Politics is like trench warfare. Defense wins. We don’t have the political equivalent of a tank that lets you roll over the opposition. The question for Spitzer is, can he develop the tank?” (Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker quoting Bruce Gyory about Eliot Spitzer's rocky first year at New York's governor).

And ...

“Like Rip Van Winkle,” [Spitzer] pronounced, “New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by.”

And ...

Spitzer is fond of saying that politics is like a sporting contest: you go out, play hard, and shake hands when it’s over.

And ...

"I told the Governor, ‘The Legislature is like your in-laws. You’re stuck with them.’"

And ...

Every summer, [Joseph] Bruno, along with Senate colleagues and staffers, decamps to Saratoga, where he presides like a kind of feudal lord.

And ...

After meeting with a gathering of Democratic assemblymen, whom he'd asked for another chance, [Spitzer] told me, “It’s like I am merely an object being moved, subject to poking, pushing, like an unknown in a science lab. Everyone’s trying to push at you, figure out ‘What is it?’ ”