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Archive for August, 2008

Festival of Links

Posted by erweinstein on August 23, 2008

As said before, I’ve missed a lot of cool stuff on the Internets due to not feeling well, but I’m back and swinging for the fences.

1. A profile of Reihan Salam, from the Daily Star‘s Forum monthly.

2. In defense of the new X-Files movie, by David Cox. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will eventually. My mom and her sister got me hooked on The X-Files TV series midway through its original broadcast (yes, the show went downhill in the last two seasons, but the previous X-Files movie was decent).

3. The Official Browseable Time Line of Internet Memes.

4. The fall of Hillary Clinton, meticulously explained in Joshua Green’s Atlantic Monthly feature.

5. According to a reliable first-hand account, American Airlines (and possibly other carriers as well) now charges a $100 fee if you take a pet in a carrier cage aboard the plane as a carry-on item.

6. The controversy over the University of Chicago’s proposed Milton Friedman Institute continues, as reported by my friend and former teacher Adam Kissel. Elsewhere, Brad DeLong, a top UC-Berkeley economist of center-left political affiliation (served in the Clinton administration, known for his constant attacks on the current president and Republicans in general), defends the MFI from its critics on the (academic) far-left.

7. On the behavior of lobbyists.

8. On the behavior of Internet trolls.

9. A detailed report on Barack Obama’s economic beliefs and policies, by David Leonhardt, forthcoming in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. Here is a good companion piece from MIT’s Technology Review, a profile of Austan Goolsbee, the University of Chicago professor who is Senator Obama’s top economic adviser.

10. My friend David Munk has resumed writing his mostly-about-music-blog, The Telharmonium. Here is his recent post about finding good running music.

11. Devin Pogue, my neighbor back when I was in high school and all-around nice guy, is engaged. I missed the news because I was ill, as mentioned in my previous post. Sorry I’m late saying this, but congratulations to Devin and his fiancée Sarah Ruggles!!!

12. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has an excellent post on why you should listen to economists, even if they can’t correctly predict specific economic indicators that far into the future (à la Taleb). Adams (I believe he is speaking non-ironically) also reveals himself to be a hybrid-centrist technocratic “market pragmatist” (to use the term I coined), who favors the left on social issues and the right on economic issues, and who opposes large-scale government interventions in either sphere for practical reasons rather than out of any particular small-government or anti-government ideology.

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Remark of the Week

Posted by erweinstein on August 10, 2008

The clear winner of the Remark of the Week for August 4 through August 10 is Roger Ebert.

The [“Sex and the City”] ladies should fill their flasks with cosmopolitans, go to see “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” and cry their hearts out with futile regret for their misspent lives.

That’s from Ebert’s movie review for “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2”. He gave that film 3 Stars, while rating the “Sex and the City” movie from earlier this year at 2 Stars.

Yes, I often read Ebert’s reviews of movies that I would never actually be interested in seeing. In my own estimation, I have two clear reasons for this behavior: 1) Ebert is the mainstream movie critic whose recommendations closest match my own tastes, and 2) He is an exceptional writer, the first ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism, who frequently deploys clever and memorable phrases to share the highlights and lowlights of his movie-viewing. While he certainly has “off days”–reviews where he is clearly uninterested and forcing himself to write, oversimplifying in the process–and has had more since his recent illness, Ebert’s reviews of excellent or “classic” movies as well as those of movies he greatly dislikes are works of art. He even wrote a review of “Wet Hot American Summer” in verse, which can be sung to the tune of “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”.

On a somewhat-related note, prolific musician Isaac Hayes–the original “Soul Man”–died earlier today.

On a unrelated note, I apologize for the gap in posting. I haven’t been feeling well the past three weeks due to an injury I sustained right around the time of the Modus Operandi show described in the July 17 post (which went awesomely, at least from this bass player’s viewpoint). Fortunately, I am almost completely better, and I am returning to a more normal schedule, which will include more time providing my readers (whoever you are) with links and commentary.

Only 12 weeks (and change) until Election Day!

Posted in Arts and literature, Music, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on Remark of the Week