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October 27, 2007 - October 20, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


YouTube Wednesday


SHORTER THAN THAT. True, we've never done a YouTube Wednesday before, and we may never do one again. But for today's edition we're focusing on extremes. Above, you can hear the world's most extreme bird song. Immediately below, you can take a ride in the world's most extreme automobile. The final clip offers the most extreme version of American Revolutionary history you've ever seen. All of them are safe for work.

The Bugatti Veyron


1776 -- "300" Style


Wasn't that fun?





Casting Call:

Shattered Glass, Part Deux
(SCOOP? The TNR Masthead at TNR.com is 404 via Google)

Scott Beauchamp played by Giovanni Ribisi

HOT HOT HOT. Via InstaPundit, NRO's Kathryn Jean Lopez is asking who will star in the sequel to Shattered Glass. We always try to oblige. The answers are a cinch. All you need is one over-the-top actor who specializes in creepy, one or two elite West Wing alums, and someone else to play the one who looks exactly like Matt Damon.


Peter Scoblic played by Oliver Platt


Peter Beinart played by Matt Damon


Franklin Foer played by Bradley Whitford

All they need now is someone to make up a script. That shouldn't be too hard. Everyone involved seems pretty darn good at making things up.

UPDATE. A bumptious commenter who styles himself as "Timmy" asks us, "Umm, isn't that Ricky Gervais in the Peter Scoblic photo?"

Faced with a crude and baseless accusation of this sort, our editor-in-chief ("His Magnificence") felt compelled to reply:

Umm Timmy,

I can assure you that our division of very well dressed fact-checkers obtained 100 percent confirmation before the photo was published that the Ricky Gervais-looking one was really truly for sure Peter Scoblic.

Nevertheless, since you have raised this absurd question, Instapunk.com has initiated -- consistent with our commitment to the very highest of contemporary journalistic standards -- a thorough investigation to reconfirm what we have already ascertained to be fact; namely, that the person in the disputed photo is Peter Scoblic. Or someone who looks so much like him that he could only be played by Ricky Gervais if the much suaver Oliver Platt weren't available.

I can further assure you that the results of our investigation will be published as soon as Google ceases its inexcusable stonewalling about the deceptive procedures it uses in ID'ing the photos which may come up in a 0.05-second image search. Please note that our dedication to thoroughness may require weeks of investigation or months. Decades aren't entirely out of the question. That's how professional we are.

In the meantime, I suggest that you conduct your own investigation of why this Scoblic person would go to such lengths to make himself look like Ricky Gervais. And why is it exactly that you know who this Ricky Gervais is? (Some lowdown dirty  leak?) We certainly don't. It's our considered opinion that you have a hidden agenda in all this. Be warned. Eventually -- perhaps very eventually -- Instapunk.com will uncover whatever sinister purpose drove you to impugn our good name.

Sincerely,
ED.

Ummm, on a more serious note, the TNR masthead seems to have disappeared from the TNR website. Via Google: Error 404, File Not Found. No text, no images. Anyone know anything about this?

UPDATE 2. A text-only masthead is still accessible by direct link at the TNR site though Google can no longer find it. A call to TNR resulted in a denial that Scoblic had been fired. His voicemail is still playing its recorded message.




Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The Superior Conservative


OLD GUARD. One of the biggest fallacies in politics is that only the liberals-slash-progressives exhibit the above-it-all superiority of those who are to the manor born. Indeed, the haughtiness of power-elite liberals pales in comparison to the educated class who have never been taken in by such fads as Marxism, atheism, post-modernism, or even Reaganism. Such people are so aloof they tend to be invisible to pollsters and political campaigns of every stripe. If Hillary is to be prevented from capturing the White House, this community of the not-interested-enough-to-be-involved conservatives must be persuaded to vote in the next presidential election. I essayed a conversation with one of them not long ago. The results are not particularly promising. Here's a transcript.

Is there any particular Republican candidate who appeals to you? Refresh my memory. Who's running?

Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and John McCain. Oh, right.

What do you think of them? I didn't much care for George Romney. Too much slicked back salt-and-pepper hair. But at least he wasn't named after a baseball glove. I suppose that's called having a common touch. Just how common are politicans expected to be these days?

Giuliani? Thompson? McCain?  It's said that persistence is a virtue, but I've always found persistence more tedious than inspiring. Oh well. Giuliani. He's a mayor, isn't he? Why would anyone think a mayor is qualified to be president? Don't they spend most of their time making deals with labor unions? Rather low, don't you think? I've heard of the McCain fellow. Didn't he break under torture in Vietnam? Regrettable. One might think he'd be content to go home and stay there without seeking to excite any more attention. Under the circumstances, that would seem to be the tactful thing to do.

They say Thompson is somewhat reminiscent of Reagan. I never much cared for Reagan. His hair was rather peculiarly orange. He also signed gigantic budgets. And his funeral was -- how shall I put it? -- overdone.

Don't you care at all? What about the issues? What about the possibility that Hillary Clinton might be elected President? She probably will be. It might be amusing.  The Clintons are so hilariously, vulgarly corrupt they remind me of old-time big city mayors like LaGuardia, Curley, and Daley. Didn't you say a mayor was running against her? Should be fun. But her ankles are unfortunately thick. Not much breastage, either. Sad. The presidency will probably serve as some species of consolation for her.

Have you even heard of the Iraq War? Certainly. What a bungle. That Bush lad had the right idea, though it's never been a wise move to trust Andover boys with serious decisions. They're not up to it. Too bad he never learned to speak in public. But thumping Iraq was a creditable notion.  Best thing to do with those Arabs is shoot them all. They won't stop annoying everyone until we do that. But I never had any use for that Rumsfeld fellow. It's fine to economize on some things. Like Congress. If we made them all drive Fords, do you think they'd spend so much money on pure nonsense? But you can't economize on wars. When you send troops out to do a job, you send as many as you can find and you keep at it until the enemy is dead or begging for mercy. Low-budget wars are bad business. Pardon my candor.

Do you have an opinion about abortion? Yes. It's not done. But some women do it anyway. The law isn't going to change that. But people seem to like wrangling about it. I prefer raising coneflowers. And foxgloves. Poison is better when it's pretty.

Is God an issue with you? No. When he's had enough, he'll do what he has to do. I'll probably be dead by then. He's pretty patient in my experience. Too damned patient, in fact. Ask all my dead Celtic ancestors about that. They might have a bone to pick with God. Or two.

Aren't you afraid of socialism, Islamic fascism, rampant political corruption, Global Warming, and the increasing saber-rattling of Russia and China? Afraid? No. Life is a mess and if you're afraid of it, go ahead and kill yourself.  If you don't want to commit suicide, you adjust to it. Even to Democrats. They've been socialists since FDR. Thankfully, he died eventually. The usual fate of stupid do-gooders. Fascism is too crude to succeed. It has its moments in the early going, as a rule, like improved efficiency for mass transportation, but when people learn what else is involved they tend to object, strenuously. In the end, fascism flunks at everything but gaudy uniforms. Political corruption is something that's bound to happen when people who used to be mayors and senators and other ladies of the night get elected to high office and discover there's money to be had by selling their favors to the right people. I can't speak to the Global Warming thing. I never trusted scientists any more than I trusted politicians. As far as I'm concerned, summers have been more or less hot all my life. When winters get hot enough to require a gin and tonic before five o'clock, I'll let you know.

Russia? China? Now you're becoming a bore. Name a time when Russia and China weren't being childishly obnoxious about practically everything. Their whole idea of foreign policy is being infantile. If they step over the line the way they've been threatening continuously for the last five hundred years or so, we'll have to smack the presumption out of them. That's what they really want, anyway. It'll do them good. It's what children want. Counterintuitive? Yes. Counterproductive? No.

Do you make any attempt to keep up with what's going on in politics, like the stuff that's made a big deal of in The New York Times and on the network news? No. The lower classes -- especially journalists -- do have to amuse themselves as best they can. There's no point in obstructing their enthusiasms. Being well bred means not losing your temper just because the loudest among us insist on being silly.

So you don't even pay attention to the war? Not really. I know the journalists want us to lose it, so I don't read or watch their reports. If the politicians let us win it, we will. Now that the Princeton boy is out of the picture, I feel mostly more optimistic. I do feel bad for the families of soldiers and marines who died. Every generation of my family has had losses like that, so I -- what's the word? -- empathize. Beyond that, I just wait for them to kick the Arabs back to the seventh century. Nobody beats us when we're there to win. That part of it is bone simple. Or am I missing something? Don't mention the Democrats. I'm being ironic. It's my privilege as an old fart.

Are you going to vote? Yes. Of course.

For whom? Some Republican, I expect. Only most of them are crazy.

One last question: Did you do anything to prevent FDR from subverting the American Dream during the Great Depression? Of course not. I played tennis with him at Groton. Or my father did. Franklin thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'd have hated to burst his bubble. He was paralyzed. Syphilis is a bitch.

Do you feel better? I know I don't.




Monday, October 22, 2007


Death of a Season


SAME OLD, SAME OLD. For those of you who missed it, Andy Reid's Philadelphia Eagles were leading 16-12 and had the pitiful Chicago Bear offense pinned to the 3 yard line with no timeouts and less than 1:45 on the clock. So the Bears marched 97 yards for a game-winning touchdown with 9 seconds to spare. Game over. At 2 and 4 in a division where every other team has a winning record, season over.

Last year's incompetent coaching was miraculously rescued by substitute QB Jeff Garcia, who led the Eagles from ignominy to six straight wins and the playoffs. Naturally, that required Reid and company to dispose of Garcia, who is presently leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from ignominy to a dramatic turnaround season.

There will be no miracle comeback in 2007.  The Eagles offense can move the ball spectacularly between the 20 yard lines, but they can't score touhdowns. The Eagles defense can mostly stop opposing teams inside the 20 yard line but let them run free between the 20 yard lines (a quid pro quo in the name of brotherly love), which leads to a steady hemorrhage of field goals until the game is really, truly on the line, when Eagle defenders collapse like the French Army. And the Eagles special teams are only special in the way special education is: an ordinary result is so far beyond expectations it's treated as a triumph. Punt and kick returns earn a sigh of relief when they aren't muffed or fumbled. Punts and kickoffs are deemed successful if the opposing offense takes the field inside their own territory.

Fortunately, Eagle fans are endlessly resilient. Years ago, they came together to launch the tradition of the Philadelphia Wingbowl, a gross little festival the city could enjoy while other NFL burgs were celebrating the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

Today is therefore the official opening of the Wingbowl pre-season (h/t WIP Sports Talk). We can't wait for the big day to arrive.

P.S. It seemed like half the New York Giants squad (5-2) was in attendance when Rutgers (5-2) knocked off the No. 2 ranked South Florida Bulls Thursday night (see "Other Notes" at the link.). Actually, Philadelphia is closer to Piscataway than New York, but obviously every single Eagle had more important things to do than watch a gutty comeback perfomance in a game of football. I'm sure it means nothing.




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