More Random Musings
The question was raised if we were observing the writers' strike. While that would be a good excuse for the paucity of posts, sadly it is just a combination of work and laziness of late. (My brother, should I call him Ishmael?, is, however on strike and none too happy about it.) So, once again, here are some random thoughts from your bartender.
1. Saw the excellent No Country for Old Men. So much has been written about it that I don't have a lot to add. Quite simply, the Coen brothers' cinematography was stunning, the acting impeccable, the film was literary in its ambitions (no shock), and it succeeded. We can discuss the last 20 or so minutes, but that we won't resolve anything is actually a plus.
2. Last week's 30 Rock was comic gold. The episode the week before was slightly off, but the number of lines that absolutely killed this week could not be counted. I'm telling you for the 10th time, if you're not watching 30 Rock and The Office, something is seriously wrong with you. (Of course, with the The Office on hiatus pending the end of the strike and 30 Rock about to be . . . .)
3. Speaking of unwatched comedy genius, more positive rumblings are out there about an Arrested Development movie (once the damned strike is over). Mitchell Hurwitz (the creator) and Jason Bateman released a joint statement last week saying as much. Please pray to the Bluths that this be so.
4. Send your thoughts to Alex Trebek who suffered a mild heart attack. As a former Jeopardy! contestant, I have to send my best to the host (even if he was a big weeny during the post-show conversation immortalized during the end credits).
5. As the political season is upon us with actual voting in a few weeks, some thoughts.
The GOP is a complete mess. I have said for months that McCain remains viable (and probably the only sane candidate on the Republican side), and I stick to that. If Huckabee wins Iowa (which is likely), McCain has a shot at beating a wounded Romney in NH. If he does, he will be the nominee; if he doesn't, he is toast.
Huckabee is Bush 2.0. He is a more affable version of our president (as, I believe, Andrew Sullivan said, proof that all far right conservatives are not a-holes), and his vision of compassionate conservatism--really conservative social policies with massive government spending--is what Bush has done for almost 7 years (plus a war!), but Huckabee is just more upfront about it.
Thompson never really got started and is toast; Guiliani was always too liberal to be nominated, and his national poll numbers are finally crashing; Romney is hated by his competitors although he remains the most likely to be the nominee. The question is could Huckabee be a la Carter in '76. The scenario in which this could happen is if he wins Iowa (likely, as I said) and McCain decides he can't win and just wants to crush Romney, whom he hates. If that happens, Huckabee can win in the south, and he certainly appeals to the GOP primary electorate (if not to the GOP elites). And he would get crushed in November.
The Democratic side is also getting interesting. The latest poll has, surprisingly, Edwards doing best against the leading GOP contenders, which I explain is simply due to people seeing less of him of late than Hillary or Obama. Perhaps it is something I just don't like about Edwards, but I don't see him the nominee, and in fact, unless things rapidly change, and he wins Iowa (where he has essentially lived since '04), he is done. As for Hillary, she has lost some of her discipline of late (ever since the Philly debate). I thought her answer on drivers licenses for illegals, the question that began her slippage, was quite weak, but if you watched most of that debate, she was by far the best performer (as she has been in virtually every debate). I don't get why she has started to make some unforced error. (That her husband has as well is not as shocking as he has always had the problem of talking too much.)
There is a part of me that really likes Obama, but he is surprisingly dull in debates, and I am not convinced he is ready to go toe-to-toe in November or whether he yet has the experience--this is not paid for by the Clinton campaign--to be president.
As for what will happen, if Hillary wins Iowa (unlikely, and it was always somewhat unlikely), there will be absolutely no suspense. If she loses in Iowa, but wins NH, she will likewise cruise to the nomination. Should Obama (or somehow Edwards) win both, they will be almost impossible to beat. So lots of fun is ahead.
6. The best line I heard about Sunday's Pats/Jets game is that they have installed an NBA scoreboard in Foxboro. I don't think this will be pretty although I doubt any of the Jets will be making guarantees of victory.
7. I just finished Neal Gabler's excellent biography of Walt Disney. It is amazing, when one actually thinks about it, of how much of our culture is due to Disney that we take for granted. When I was little, my grandmother took me to Radio City to see Snow White and Pinnochio, the first two Disney features, and the Disney version of these stories have become so ingrained in our conscience that they have superseded any other version of them. Realizing that Disney pioneered the talking cartoon (Steamboat Willie), the color cartoon, and the feature length cartoon (Snow White), it is no wonder that the studio thrived (although not until Disneyland opened in 1955 did it really thrive and went through numerous lean years in the 1930s (pre-Snow White and 1940s). He also revolutionized the theme park.
Not surprisingly, he was a strange and flawed man, and while some of what he has done to our culture has rightly been criticized, he was a revolutionary, and the book presents a balanced account of the man and what he wrought. In the end the book is pretty favorable to Walt, and I was surprised to learn that his daughter was furious about it (although I think much of the Disney Corporation liked it).
Sorry for the ADD nature of today's post, but it's better than nothing (I hope).