Peyton Manning is obviously a quasi-nemesis to me as a Patriots fan, but that doesn’t mean I can’t salute the guy for embracing his dorkhood and channeling it into things that amuse me.
Fine work, gentlemen. As funny as this commercial is on its own (it’d probably be enjoyable even if the Mannings weren’t famous football players; they’re doofy-looking enough on their own to make the joke work), I don’t know what to say about poor, poor Eli. I know almost nothing about the guy — maybe he’s hilarious and clever — but he certainly doesn’t seem that way. In fact, whereas Peyton’s usually funny due to his self-awareness (he looks amused during the whole thing), Eli almost appears to be taking this seriously.
Maybe it’s because he’s an inexplicably dedicated actor, and he’s simply that emotionally committed to this patently absurd role. Or, more likely, he’s the real-life athletic equivalent of Derek Zoolander, and he’s basically modeling “Derelique” at this point… which would make sense, because I’m pretty sure I sounded like a defeated Mugatu after the younger Manning won the Super Bowl in 2007.
“ELI MANNING IS NOT A GOOD QUARTERBACK!!! HE HAD AN UNBELIEVABLE PASS RUSH FOR ONE SEASON AND HE GOT INCREDIBLY LUCKY ON THREE CRITICAL PLAYS!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS???”
Matt Taibbi is always going to produce far more aggressive, combative, and yes, oftentimes much funnier rhetoric than I probably ever will on politics. But even taking that into account, I think there’s a very compelling point within what Andrew Sullivan calls “his usual bravado” :
“Michele Bachmann has found the flaw in the American Death Star. She is a television camera’s dream, a threat to do or say something insane at any time, the ultimate reality-show protagonist. She has brilliantly piloted a media system that is incapable of averting its eyes from a story, riding that attention to an easy conquest of an overeducated cultural elite from both parties that is far too full of itself to understand the price of its contemptuous laughter. All of those people out there aren’t voting for Michele Bachmann. They’re voting against us. And to them, it turns out, we suck enough to make anyone a contender.”
I don’t mean to imply that this audience — and remember, I used to live in suburban Ohio, so I’ve at least got a sliver of credibility here — only makes political decisions out of spite; I don’t think that’s true at all. But are they capable of doing it? Is that “overeducated cultural elite from both parties” really that infuriating these days?
I dunno, you tell me.
It’s got a little bit of everything, but most importantly, it successfully portrays something totally ridiculous that only rich people do as a normal, increasingly popular trend in American life.
“FOR some parents, an engraved pen set just won’t cut it as a graduation present. It seems so insubstantial, so unoriginal. Anyway, the kid will just lose it. So how about a New York apartment?”
Umm… what? Does your kid even have a job yet?
“In many cases, brokers say, the parents do not live in the New York area and view the apartment as a potential pied-à-terre for themselves when the child decides to move on. Some buy it as a straight-out gift, a gesture of profound affection sweetened by the current generous tax exclusion. Others buy it as an investment and retain ownership, and still others acquire it through a family trust for joint ownership.”
Sure. Totally reasonable. In fact, if you don’t buy your kid their own NYC apartment, you’re practically throwing money away. Can we get some practical advice here, though, for the regular people who are doing this?
Richard Koenigsberg, a certified public accountant, thinks that these gifts can be a good idea. “We are in a remarkable period of time at the moment,” he said, because the tax exclusion on gifts and estates has been raised to $5 million from $1 million until the end of 2012. This means that a parent can give a child as much as $5 million tax free; if two parents are involved, make that $10 million.
You don’t say? That’s interesting, especially because I’m pretty sure the only reason my parents didn’t buy me my own apartment in the most expensive city in the world was because of the taxes on a five million dollar gift for their idiot son. Or possibly because it’s an insane, terrible idea and all these kids do is use Instagram and write pithy blog entries and DON’T YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT I HAVE A DECENT FULL TIME JOB AND A REASONABLY SIZED RENTED TOWNHOUSE IN THE SUBURBS AND WE OFTEN BUY STORE BRANDS.
I don’t mean to imply that journalists/editors should have to get their stories & headlines “approved” by sources or anything, but doesn’t it seem like with some words, you should really have to check?
Take this example.
Maybe McCain said “baffled” at some point in the interview. “I am baffled by this controversy.” I can picture that. Or maybe they said something like “Senator, would you describe your reaction to this controversy as ‘baffled’?” But I doubt it, since they don’t actually quote him saying that in the article, and it makes me wonder if the editor (or whoever does the headlines on the website) was trying to punch things up with a cool word, and just thought “baffled” was cool, kind of like “unfurled”.
The only problem with that is that it conveys a sense of confusion, instead of say, disagreement, because that’s exactly what my first reaction was (and why I just sort of reflexively clicked the link from Google News). I thought, “hmm, John McCain is legitimately confused by a question, that sounds interesting”, probably because my own internal biases associate McCain, who is 70-something, and has been made fun of a lot (fairly or unfairly) for being old, with confusion and general bafflement. After all, I bet there are a lot of things that legitimately “baffle” 75 year old rich guys, but of course, those are oftentimes very different from things they just flat-out disagree with or don’t like. For instance, it may be technically true that McCain was “baffled” by why he didn’t win the 2008 election, but it’s not like he doesn’t actually understand what happened. Really, he was just “surprised”.
I think this is what happens when we focus too much on controversies related to what people think, and not enough on whether what certain people think actually has any impact on the world around them. By necessity, you start focusing describing what people are thinking and feeling, which is an obviously inexact science, and then you end up describing people as “baffled”, even if that makes me think of something more akin to this :
It isn’t the worst example of headline grabbing by any stretch of the imagination, or even the funniest. But I still think it’s a subtle form of lazy click-bait, and it makes me realize how annoyed I’d probably be with 90% of the press about me if I were a public figure. “I didn’t say baffled!!! Who said baffled???” Plus, this particular article annoys me because, as I said, it basically took advantage of my own internal biases, and I really don’t like when that happens.
UPDATE : Okay, “puzzled” it is. Notice how they put it in quotes? I’m glad we got that cleared up; I got to Photoshop something, and now I can go back to not caring about this story.
The auto industry. This has been the Obama administration’s clearest example of success. General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler Group all are back on their feet and regaining some of the market share they lost.
All three made money in the first quarter, the first time all were in the black at the same time since 2004. And employment at auto plants and dealerships is up 100,000 since hitting a low point during the government-funded bankruptcies at GM and Chrysler in 2009.
So, basically the exact opposite of what I predicted. Oops. I didn’t think I was being especially ideological when I decided bailing out GM (and especially Chrysler) was a bad idea, and maybe I wasn’t — maybe, like a lot of people, I just don’t know what I’m talking about. I dunno, what’s the better excuse, that I was blinded by my almost religious belief in moral hazard, or that I’m just ig’nant?
Then again, it’s not like we ended up just cutting them a check and walking away; management got swept out, labor relationships were changed, etc., etc., and so forth — can I turn this into me somehow being right yet? No? How about now?
Well, the economy still blows. That means the door is wide open for some fresh ideas from potential Presidential candidates. Tim Pawlenty — WHADAYA GOT?
“Pawlenty’s plan for economic recovery stands largely on modifying the tax code. He proposes a three-tiered individual income tax. Those who currently pay no income tax would continue to pay nothing. After that, he suggests the first $50,000 of income – or $100,000 for married couples – would be taxed at 10 percent. Everything above that would be taxed at 25 percent. Pawlenty says he would also eliminate the capital gains tax, interest income tax, dividends tax and the estate tax.”
I’m not an economist, or even an accountant, but that sounds really, really expensive.
“Calling regulations a “hidden tax,” Pawlenty suggests requiring the sunsetting of all federal regulations, unless specifically sustained by a vote of Congress. He also calls for capping and block-granting Medicaid to the states, raising the Social Security retirement age for the next generation, and passing a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.”
Hmm, massive income tax cuts for everyone that disproportionately benefit the upper middle class, elimination of the capital gains tax which disproportionately benefits the UPPER upper class, but no reduction in payroll taxes, which disproportionately affects the vast, vast majority of people. So we’re going to go way, way deeper into debt, in order to massively cut taxes on people who have more money than they know what to do with — but we’re going to freeze Medicaid, which is used by poor people to pay for medical treatment. This sounds like a plan Jesus could really get behind.
Hmmm… but the cost. Oh well, I’m sure there’s a plan to pay for this. Here’s that communist rag, the Wall Street Journal:
In order to offset any lost tax revenue — and to tackle the deficit — Mr. Pawlenty calls for something called “The Google Test” to determine whether the government should be involved in a program.
“If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it,” Mr. Pawlenty says. “The post office, the government printing office, Amtrak, Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], were all built in a time in our country when the private sector did not adequately provide those products. That’s no longer the case.”
He calls on Congress to freeze spending at current levels and impound 5% of spending until the budget is balanced. “If they won’t do it … I will,” he plans to say.
Holy %#@&, that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life. Let’s privatize anything that exists on the internet! National security? Blackwater. Libraries? Barnes and Noble. Police? Mall cops. Elections? American Idol. Plus, contracting government needs through private vendors is, by definition, more efficient — can you imagine fraud or price inflation ever occurring in federal procurement? Egads, that’d be unpatriotic. Seriously, though — you’re going to get rid of stuff like freaking Amtrak and the Post Office and somehow that’s going to offset getting rid of the capital gains tax, the estate tax, plus a huge rate cut for the people who currently pay the 70% of income taxes? Are you high?
There’s no way Pawlenty is this dumb, which means I honestly wonder what his actual plan is. He’s gotta have one, right? I mean, it doesn’t have to necessarily work, but it’s gotta exist. I know Obama’s plan (at least I think I know it); he’s basically going to try to ring some savings out of centralizing the health insurance industry (good luck with that), and then, eventually, raise tax rates back up to where they were in the 1990s. I have no idea if that will be beneficial to the economy, or if it’s even politically feasible, but I get the logic, and more importantly, I get the math.
But Pawlenty can’t seriously be thinking that with the biggest fiscal crunch we’ve faced in maybe half a century, that simply blowing out the floor on the tax system and privatizing a few costly, well known, but basically irrelevant government services is going to somehow balance the budget. “UH OH, WE ARE OUT OF MONEY AND WE HATE OUR JOBS. LET’S QUIT OUR JOBS!”
MAJOR LABEL POP MUSIC LIVES!!! BELIEEEEEEVE IT!!!
Lady Gaga‘s legion of U.S. fans have helped her make music history. EW reports that, in its first week of release, her album Born this Way sold 1.11 million copies nationwide — the highest debut since March 2005, when 50 Cent‘s The Massacre sold 1.14 million copies in its first week.
You know who helped a lot more than her “legion of U.S. fans”? Amazon, who sold 440,000 of those copies for 99 freaking cents, and lost about $3.2 million dollars doing so.
Why aren’t there more saxophone solos in popular music? I’ve never — repeat, never — asked myself this, but Slate decided to.
So what happened to the sax? In part, the answer might be that the ’90s happened. The rock music that dominated in the decade of ironic detachment had little room for a shiny, curvaceous, elaborately valved instrument that it’s impossible to play while looking like you don’t care. Your cheeks puff up. Your fingers flutter. There is an earnestness and a delicacy to playing the saxophone, an irreducible musicality that was out of step at a time when shrugged-off riffs alternated with bashed-out power chords on the rock airwaves. It’s laughable to imagine someone smashing a saxophone into a stack of amps, like Kurt Cobain did with his guitar—the instrument seems too refined for the gesture, like trying to talk dirty in Latin. And while ’80s metal holdouts like Metallica unleashed elaborate barrages of guitar notes well into the ’90s, they framed their virtuosity as viciousness, a trick that’s much harder, if not impossible, to pull off with the sax. Compare the fanboy hyperbole. A guitarist shreds. What does a saxophonist do? Blow? Cook?
As someone who can play the saxophone as well as the owner of the coolest looking grunge rock instrument ever, a red and black Fender Precision bass guitar that I’m fairly certain I play with sufficiently ironic detachment, I think I have enough credibility to say that this is staggeringly overthought, even for something on Slate. They do have an interesting argument over what the greatest pop saxophone solo ever is, though (I care about this if for no other reason than that, as a kid, saxophone solos were why I learned to play the saxophone, and thus why I got into playing music) and that was pretty cool. I would only add that the solo in “New York State of Mind” is way, way, way better on this fairly obscure cover (the version I grew up with, courtesy of my Dad) than it is on Billy Joel’s original.
Hear that grinding, growling long note? Man, I wish I owned a tenor.
Man, this is a bummer and a half.
A U.S. Marine who died in a flurry of bullets during a drug raid near Tucson never fired on the SWAT team that stormed his house, a report by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department shows.
Officers fired more than 70 shots, the investigation showed. Deputies said they opened fire after Guerena, 26, gestured at them with an AR-15 — a semiautomatic rifle.
Some of the officers said they believed that Guerena fired on them, but the investigation showed that no shots were fired from the weapon and it was never taken off the safety position.
A search of the home after the shooting revealed nothing illegal, although officers found weapons and body armor.
So sad. Apparently, two of the marine’s relatives were murdered in a home invasion recently, so frankly, it’s hard to blame him for busting out his rifle; I’m surprised he had the safety on, to be honest.
I think the biggest problem here is society’s failure to reconcile two things we insist are absolute; our right to bear arms and defend ourselves, and our deference to law and order, in this case via the police. We want (and demand) our law enforcement to do whatever’s necessary to enforce things like drug trafficking laws and such, but we also tell people that they have a right to have a gun in their home. However, if the police raid your home (possibly by accident, it definitely happens), and you take that gun out, there’s a distinct possibility that you’re going to get shot 22 times, whether you have any idea it’s the police or not, and that it’s going to be lawful. To me, that kind of sounds like a lose-lose for everyone.
I guess that’s my real position on guns; not really against them, not really a staunch defender of them… I just think the combination of aggressive law enforcement and the modern day ability of regular people to resist said enforcement with military-grade force is bad, bad combination that too often ends, inevitably, with either this poor guy or a cop getting killed. Something in the social contract (either what we demand for ourselves or our expectations for effective law enforcement) has to give if that’s ever going to change.
Some movie called “Tree of Life” premieres at the Cannes Film Festival, and The AV Club has the reaction:
Set in the 1950s, the film tells the distincitively non-narrative story of a family led by a stern father, Brad Pitt, and a beatific mother, Jessica Chastain raising three boys. But they lose a son. The film spends much time as the family grows into a loving unit, the boys bonded closely, the mother devoted in every way, the father insisting on being called “Sir.”
The film is intercut with scenes of lovingly shot nature – trees, desert, ocean, waterfall. Malick ignores usual cinematic boundaries: there is a scene with dinosaurs. And many others of astoundingly beautiful cosmic images, that will have to be explained in greater detail later.
Oh, so when I want to add random dinosaur scene to a movie (like, say, “Titanic”), I’m being an impulsive man-child, but when Terrence Malick does it, he’s “ignoring usual cinematic boundaries”. Typical Hollywood elitism.