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July 21, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Excellent casting!

* Thanks to Michael Gates for pointing out this beautiful satellite image of Niagara Falls. I don't think I've mentioned recently what a pleasure Michael's blog is, by the way. Michael has a deep interest in words and poetry, and takes wonderful verbal shapshots of moments that catch his eye -- they're haiku-ish prose poems. He's curious about the world, and he's OK with not knowing everything. Michael's brain inhabits a space I love visiting.

* The most to-the-point commentary about the proposed "Freedom Tower" at the WTC comes from James Kunstler.

* Michael Bierut writes a heartfelt and wonderful appreciation of Moss Hart's heartfelt and wonderful theater memoir, "Act One."

* It seems that uncool -- or maybe noncool -- is the new cool.

* Arnold Kling takes a mature look at what might be done to relieve African poverty.

* For websurfers of a certain ilk, running across an open directory is kind of like striking gold, right?

* John Horn's LA Times visit with uber-meatball film director Michael Bay is one to be savored. I cracked wise about a Bay movie here, and I linked to another profile of Bay here. I ain't gonna miss Bay's new movie, "The Island," are you? I'm sure it's almost as much fun as a demolition derby. Ka-boom!

* Scott Esposito recalls the days when he thought authors were glamorous and rich.

* Let's welcome Bluewyvern to the blogosphere. She has a very likable and confident voice, and she has been having energetic fun with her links. Unlike us oldies, who are forever struggling with the blogging medium, Bluewyvern seems like a natural. She has a freeform multimedia mind, but she can still focus.

* All that talk about edible meat being grown in a Petri dish? Alex Tabarrok wonders what we'll call people who eat in-vitro meat but not animal-grown meat. Stephen Bodio thinks that everyone's been forgetting the most important question: How will it taste?

* Tyler Cowen suspects that Hollywood's current business doldrums aren't merely cylical.

* Kinky Friedman -- musician, detective novelist, and self-proclaimed "Texas Jewboy" -- wants to run for Texas governor. His campaign planks include abolishing political correctness, and (even better) "de-wussification." Enough: I'm on board.

* I can't find fault with Shouting Thomas's political point of view either: "The American middle class way of life is great! There is nothing better. Enjoy it!" My own political philosophy, it recently occurred to me, boils down to, "First do no harm."

* Marriage can be a challenge even when the two of you finally agree to get more sexually adventurous. (No images, but still NSFW.)

* Ariel Levy's memoir about the ineffable Andrea Dworkin is a gem. A highlight of the piece is the revelation that -- although she made a loud point of proclaiming her lesbianism -- no one ever knew Dworkin to have an actual affair with a woman. Am I wrong in thinking that Levy does a subtle job of suggesting that much of Dworkin's story about herself might well have been made up?

* Thanks to the ever-terrific (and ever-sensible) Lynne Kiesling for pointing out this interesting new Environmental Economics blog.

* Vdare reports some good news: Although the politicians may still be looking the other way, some in the mainstream media are beginning to wake up to the fact that we've got an immigration crisis on our hands.

* Fun to compare today's version of celebs to how they looked a decade or two ago. Why were people in the '80s so crazy about ratted hair and torn clothing?



posted by Michael at July 21, 2005


If you think that's good casting (which it is), then this is knock-your-socks-off casting. I haven't been jumping up and down excited to see a movie in years but this one gets my vote. And I'm only familiar with literally a handful of Johnny Cash songs and don't like much country to begin with. When I have some time and some extra money on hand, I'll give it another try.

Hmmm... "uber meatball"... I wonder if Bay really is like that. Certainly, dating a Playboy Bunny puts you well on your way to being a meatball.

Oh, and Pierce Brosnan looks like a child molester in his 80s photo! Mariah Carey scarily enough looks better in her earlier picture.

Posted by: lindenen on July 22, 2005 4:27 AM

I'm with Stephen Bodio!

Plus, Sharon Stone looked good then and now, and Pierce Brosnan looked better! Bard Pitt did not.

Posted by: annette on July 22, 2005 10:22 AM

Lindenen -- I wonder how Bay will be regarded a hundred years from now. Maybe they'll look back and decide that he was the greatest director of the era. Who knows? I thought Mariah looked pretty good in the old photos too. Too much plastic surgery since? I haven't followed the Mariah epic, so have no idea ...

Annette -- Sharon has done a great job of keeping her looks, don't you think? Luck? Hard work? I remember reading that she hates exercise, but maybe she's been doing it anyway. Sly Stallone (I call him "Sly") once said that Sharon's idea of exercise was to chew two sticks of gum rather than one ... Anyway, she looks great. But didn't I read somewhere that they'll be using body doubles for her nude scenes in "Basic Instinct II"?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 22, 2005 11:35 AM

Was there anybody who could really play Bettie Page in the movies? (Including the real Bettie, or Betty, herself, who flunked out as a starlet in Hollywood?)

The real Bettie was as much an original as Elvis or Frank Sinatra or Cary Grant, although her medium was largely the still photo. But she could sure deliver a punch in that medium.

Quite a few comic book artists have used the large amount of Bettie photo reference available to design their heroines in her image, but it always ends up as a po-mo trick, a wink to the initiates, not the real "bad girl" herself.

I dunno, I can't believe any movie could really get the essence of Bettie across.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 22, 2005 11:44 AM

You're right: Bettie was an original, incomparable, etc. But, given that they're gonna make a movie about her, I can't come up with an actress I'd rather see in the role, can you? Even if Gretchen flubs it, at least she'll be nude a lot, and I'm always interested in seeing Gretchen nude. What a cutie!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 22, 2005 12:56 PM

Thank you very much for the mention. I am honored!

Posted by: bluewyvern on July 22, 2005 4:44 PM

Thanks for you kind words.

Posted by: M. Gates on July 22, 2005 9:24 PM

Possibly the oddest change in those "Then and Now" pictures is Mariah Carey's. She looked white in 1993 and looks black today. Sort of a reverse Michael Jackson :)

Posted by: Peter on July 22, 2005 11:54 PM

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