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On How to Plagiarize a Fart Joke

Apropos of nothing, Gene Weingarten is a national treasure -- one of the few national treasures who, I imagine, would agree with his description as "a weird, disreputable person."

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm 0

On The Future Is the Sound of Your Own Voice

@Benja : YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES. He has this overly-mannered delivery that just fills my brain with white-hot, unreasoning rage.

Other NPR voices that make me reflexively hammer my radio volume button :
1. Garrison Keillor (yes, I'm a monster, I understand this)
2. Chana Joffe-Walt
3. That guy who hosts "Snap Judgment"

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm 0

On 2015 Summer Movie Forecast: Desert Explosions With a Chance of Good

@Niko Bellic : Yes, Dredd gets extra points in my book for trying to do unfiltered comic-book-experience. It wasn't a great movie (heck, it wasn't even as insane as the Judge Dredd comics actually were), but dammit, it had the courage of its convictions, style- and content-wise.

See also Punisher: War Zone, which was absolutely faithful to the Garth Ennis-scripted books, to its simultaneous benefit and detriment.

Alternate take : I would pay good money to see a Judge Dredd movie directed by the guys who did Crank 2.

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 10:36 am 0

On 2015 Summer Movie Forecast: Desert Explosions With a Chance of Good

@barnhouse : It does have a very specific "painterly" look to the colors and textures, and I'm not sure I'm 100% good with that.

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm 0

On 2015 Summer Movie Forecast: Desert Explosions With a Chance of Good

@BadUncle : The existence of a film as wonderfully mad as "Dead End Drive-In" more than makes up for the fact that its oeuvre acquired such an unfortunate moniker.

Alternate take : Also, possibly, "Razorback."

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm 0

On Symmetry Cruel

Wake me when they find health benefits from being unfulfilled and irritable.

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm 2

On All the New Yorker Story Roundups You Should Read While the Stories Are Still Unlocked, As Well As All the New Yorker Stories They Link To

@Mr. B : AMEN. Seriously, it's an incredible bargain.

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm 0

On Question Hrmm

... the name is a portmanteau derived from date and catch ..."

Apparently all the totally-non-gay VC capital in the world can't produce a name that doesn't suck.

Alternate take : I would have gone with "Flannl," but that's just me.

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 9:59 am 0

On Man Vs. Word

Also, since I have a lot to say about the process of reading :

I prefer to think of reading ... as a conversation, and what a conversation requires is the absolute opposite of speed.

I've found this particularly applies to two types of reading material not generally lumped together : really good literature and hard-science textbooks. In both cases, the words are not particularly information-dense, but do require a level of engagement that straight-narrative reading doesn't.

The experience of working through a math textbook, for example, is very similar to what you describe above. One doesn't just read what's on the page ("oh, an equation and a bit of explanation, if I'm lucky") but one must also tease out all the implications of why that particular equation is there now, as well as what came before and what this association implies. The author of a good math text, like the literary author, attempts to build a structure of understanding in the reader's mind, and it's done not by exhibiting it fully-built, but rather by supplying the bricks and the plan and engaging the reader to carry out the construction.

It's easy enough to speed-read the prefab stuff, so to speak, but I agree that this sort of "conversational" reading is impossible (and pretty unpleasant) at speed.

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm 1

On Man Vs. Word

@Gef the Talking Mongoose : Oh, also, Maria! I read your piece in the May edition of Harper's! It was quite good, and also DAMN, HARPER'S, GOOD SCORE THERE.

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm 0