Movable Type 3.2
December 09, 2010
Morning Cheer (12/9/10)
Good morning! Cookies, anyone?
That's what I've been doing this morning. Today is my Friday, and I'm off to Connecticut tonight and then New York tomorrow! I'll try to set up a few posts for the weekend in advance, but we'll see how it goes.
Britain's whole "number one single at Christmas" thing is adorable and quaint, but this John Cage contender is awesome.
Yes, Gibbs was making West Wing jokes yesterday.
Blue Valentine: No longer NC-17.
TWoP Gallery: TV's Naughty and Nice of 2010
The RSS reader summary of this straightforward Times item about Oprah picking Dickens for her book club read, in its entirety, "The author is not expected to appear on her show."
Christine O'Donnell is just . . . I don't know. There are no words.
If you only read one piece on Elizabeth Edwards, make it this one by Ezra Klein.
December 08, 2010
Morning Cheer (12/8/10)
Good morning! Wednesday. Right? I think. I'm having trouble keeping track of that this week. Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday - very sad. I'll try to round up some of the links to stories about her for you tomorrow. Today is the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon's death, so I should post his Christmas song, even though it has never been one of my favorites.
Related: Is Paul McCartney the "Most Uninteresting Person Ever to Inspire a Mountain of Literature"?
Matt Bai and Matt Taibbi: two different people. Honestly, I did that with Michael Dirda and Michael Dibdin for years. Except I never actually met either of them, so it was less embarrassing.
These may be the worst interview questions ever.
Google has a new e-bookstore.
It seems like there are Russian spies all over the place recently.
Uh-oh. Mistletoe under threat!
People are still trying to make George Pataki happen.
Oh, but speaking of "inexplicably still trying to make people happen," Eliza Dushku is off her pilot.
I would like the German Christmas market craze to catch on here, please.
December 07, 2010
Morning Cheer (12/7/10)
Good morning! It's Pearl Harbor Day, and Julian Assange was just arrested. And I'm rushing off to try to get an oil change before work, so I have little for you this morning, except eek! Someone stole a Stradivarius! I realized I haven't posted any Hanukkah music yet this year, so here's one of my favorites:
December 05, 2010
Sunday Brunch Cheer (12/5/10)
Good morning! What's everyone up to today? I think I'm going to stay home and try to get stuff done around the house. I went and saw Tangled yesterday, and it was adorable. Highly recommended.
Hee. The lieutenant governors had a convention.
This project doing statistical research on Victorian novels is fascinating.
Does Apple have its eye on console games?
Marilyn Stasio's Notable Crime Books of 2010, which includes the amazing line "To be really bold, give gifts that make people cry."
December 04, 2010
MORNING CHEER (12/4/10)
Good morning! Happy Saturday! My weekend plans consist of cleaning, Christmas shopping, reading, and maybe seeing a few movies. You?
Important Notice: It has come to my attention that some people might not realize that Ari Shapiro is hot. Now you know.
Okay, I have a LOT of links for you today, because I've been getting behind. Ready?
Before we get into the rest of this nonsense, you should really take a moment and read Yglesias on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It's short but important. And then Jamelle Bouie on the Catholic League and National Portrait Gallery. Same deal there.
People. PEOPLE. The President will not get a serious primary challenge. Charles will not and should not abdicate for William. Can we just STOP with these two rumors already?
Yes, food is part of the culture wars.
The Roosevelt Island Tramway has reopened.
The Times talks to a Christmas tree man.
People love single-focus restaurants.
I would be in favor of a port revival.
Hey look, a TV Advent Calendar.
This is the best explanation of the Comcast/Netflix thing that I've read.
I have been waiting for metamorphosis puns for months. Thank you, Byron Tau!
A slightly different take on the economics of gift-giving.
Automats have always sounded kind of fascinating.
Amazon Prime is a genius business move. And yes, I figured, considering the amount of money I now spend with them because of it.
Manjoo is right: disposable computing is the future.
I really kind of want some of these Lego architecture sets.
I now want to have holiday parties just to make these drinks.
Baking isn't scary if you just follow the recipe.
The Bartender Who Played with Fire isn't quite as weird as a Stieg Larsson book, but it's close.
December 03, 2010
MORNING CHEER (12/3/10)
Happy Friday! My God, it has not come a moment too soon. One of my goals for the weekend is to finish planning out my baking and card-sending and all that. Wish me luck.
This Steve Martin story is completely ridiculous. Really, people? Really?
The Times has named their Ten Best Books of the year.
The real-life Swedish murder that came before Larsson and Mankell.
The state of the Hannukah song.
There are no Kennedys in Congress right now. Who's next?
Even when you look at it from a purely economic standpoint, Republican opposition to extending unemployment benefits makes no sense.
I liked this article about the NYT selling their share of the Red Sox just for this line:
Even in 2002, the general consensus was that a print newspaper with $75 million to invest would have been better served throwing the money--literally throwing it--at the first programmer, TED panelist, or bronchial hobo who said he had an idea for making money off the Web.But I'd also forgotten they owned the Sox!
The Atlantic's Ideas of the Year
What's with Betsy Rothstein?
I like Doctor Who as much as the next girl, but I'd only pay $4500 for a TARDIS bed if the Doctor actually CAME WITH IT.
December 02, 2010
MORNING CHEER (12/2/10)
My God, is this week over yet? No? Really? Oh, but happy Hannukah to those celebrating!
The last Mitford sister has published her memoirs.
This history of ballet sounds fascinating.
This article about how Kate Middleton will fit into court protocol is detailed and fascinating, but sheesh, people. There are rules. Just follow them. Why all the drama?
This piece about the student demonstrations in London is fascinating, and has a picture of the best protest sign EVER.
December 01, 2010
MORNING CHEER (12/1/10)
Oh, hey, look, it's December! Wow. Monday and Tuesday went pretty smoothly, at least around here, but today is a little rockier so far, so here's a cute video to ease you into Wednesday: A cat adopts a baby squirrel and teaches it to purr.
What are diplomatic cables, anyway?
I've always wanted to try making sourdough. This Slice Starter-Along might be enough to make me finally do it.
You should really read this essay by a Harvard student who was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child.
I've been looking for a list like this: 13 Movies to See Before the Oscars
I could get behind the drip coffee backlash backlash. I mean, seriously. A few minutes ago I tried to put a coffee filter in my teacup. The more labor-intensive coffee preparation methods sound nice and all, but don't ask me to do that before I've had caffeine.
The new Nutcracker movie sounds AWFUL, and that makes me sad.
Bob Geldof knows he wrote the worst Christmas song ever. He's sorry.
November 29, 2010
MORNING CHEER (11/29/10)
Good morning and happy Monday! We're at that point at which we're just past Thanksgiving and it seems like it's time for Christmas, but then comes the realization that we have another four weeks of work to get through first. Sigh. So let's have some nice mellow music to get us through this Monday morning back at work:
I don't know much about this blog in general, so I'm not endorsing their overall program or anything, but a friend sent me the link to this list of things to do now to get ready for Christmas and it has some good ideas.
This Morning Edition story about a gay Marine discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell was very interesting.
Leslie Nielsen has died, and here's where I admit that I've never seen any of his movies. I know, I know. I shall Netflix Airplane posthaste.
NPR is doing a Christmas Carol-themed series on the deficit. I love NPR.
November 28, 2010
It's not technically morning anymore; I'm sorry. But hey, it's Sunday, so we'll call it brunch! It's been a busy morning at my parents' house and now I'm getting ready to head home this afternoon. I'm thinking "Home for the Holidays," with its mention of traffic issues, is good for days on which I'll be driving a lot. Are there other songs about traffic, or should I just use different versions of this one? Hmm.
Three good links from Apartment Therapy:
November 27, 2010
MORNING CHEER (11/27/10)
Good morning! Welcome to your first edition of MORNING CHEER! The dog (my parents' dog) and I are the only ones up, and he's gazing at me adoringly, which is nice, but he's kind of stinky. Anyway! You need a morning song! I promise I won't use Glee music every day, but we've been decorating my parents' house, and I love their version of "Deck the Halls" . . .
A few Thanksgiving-specific links I didn't manage to post before Thanksgiving:
Looking for a movie to see with family or friends over the holidays? TWoP has you covered.
I liked the Avalon High movie better than the folks at Forever Young Adult did, but their take on it is hilarious regardless.
Not quite feeling the holiday spirit? This is for you.
December 18, 2009
Christmas Song Roundup: "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
My father recently proclaimed that this was his favorite Christmas song. Who knew? Certainly not any of us! So this one is for him. The classic version, of course, is Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis:
But this, of course, is the version I grew up with, from the incomparable Christmas Eve on Sesame Street:
And, of course, Kermit and Miss Piggy sing it in the much-overlooked but classic Muppet Family Christmas. I couldn't find it on its own, but it starts about 1:50 into this clip:
This won't embed, but it's Frank Sinatra singing, set to scenes from Love, Actually.
And let's end with a little Ella:
December 17, 2009
Five Christmas Songs I HATE
As I've mentioned, I am generally a big fan of holiday music. But there are a few songs I completely loathe and despise. Let me tell you about them.
5. "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
4. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
3. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
2. "The Christmas Shoes"
1. "Dominick the Donkey"
December 09, 2009
Orrin Hatch wrote a Hanukkah song?
Orrin Hatch? Really? Apparently. I . . . don't even know what to say about this.
(Via Ezra Klein.)
December 07, 2009
Christmas Song Roundup: "Little Saint Nick"
This one is for my cousin Liz, who claims to have never heard a Beach Boys Christmas song. How awful for her! :)
It's a great song, but really, the main thing I associate with it is standing in a long holiday shopping line with my dad - K-Mart, maybe? Toys 'R' Us? Not sure. I was maybe nine. This song came on, and he explained the concept of a truism to me using the line "Christmas comes this time each year." I now think of that conversation every single time I hear this song. Which is frequently, because it's on the radio all the time. So I contend that Liz must have heard it and just not realized. Just saying.
And, of course, it was used in what was possibly the best commercial ever:
Now, I am usually the first to protest that penguins and polar bears live on opposite poles and therefore are not wont to frolic together. But, as my best friend pointed out the first time we saw this commercial, it packs an awful lot of things I love into a minute: Christmas! The Beach Boys! Coca-Cola! Penguins! Adorable baby animals! It's nothing short of brilliant, really.
December 04, 2009
Christmas Song Roundup: "Elf's Lament"
One of my absolute favorite modern Christmas songs is "Elf's Lament" from the Barenaked Ladies album Barenaked for the Holidays. It's hilarious and clever, and hey, pro-union! I'm all for combining progressive politics with traditional Christmas stuff. The album version includes Michael Buble, but unfortunately I couldn't find a version on YouTube that included him. This live version is pretty good, though:
November 24, 2009
Christmas Song Roundup: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Upon a rather alarming amount of reflection, I have concluded that I may have been overhasty in my dismissal of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" in the gift guide review the other day. It is a great track, although I stand by my convictions that it is not the greatest Christmas song of all time and that there are even better songs on that particular album. I also concede that I am biased by my general distaste for romantically-themed Christmas songs (with a few notable exceptions, but we'll get to that later too). Thematically, this is basically a standard Darlene Love song with an overlay of Christmas, rather than an actually Christmas-centric song, and that might be why I'm not quite as wild about it as some seem to be. But her voice, and that wall of sound . . . I cannot possibly deny that, musically, this is pretty darn good. So here it is. You should listen to it.
A few years ago, my best friend said he was going to learn to play "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" so he'd have something seasonal for some December gigs. And I was all "You're going to play . . . a Darlene Love song? Really?" "No!" he insisted. He was going to play a U2 song! And I was baffled. But!
(My gosh, all that hair!) Okay. That's a good version too. But Bono, much as I love him, is no Darlene Love. Still. Perfectly adequate. And it looks like there really is a Leighton Meester version:
I kind of like it, but then, I'm rather a Leighton Meester fan (because of her acting more than her music), so I can see that those of you who don't have those happy associations with her might not be so impressed. I do not, however, approve of the way that someone on YouTube set it to a scene of Blair (the character Meester plays on Gossip Girl) and Nate kissing in the snow because, ahem, BLAIR BELONGS WITH CHUCK. But! Moving on: Joey Ramone!
And . . . Death Cab for Cutie?
Okay, that one's not so interesting. YouTube also has Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen doing this, but I think I've embedded enough videos for one post.
(This was the first of what will likely be a series of posts in which I try to make you listen to Christmas songs I like, because I love Christmas music to a somewhat ridiculous extent and there's a very limited timeframe in which it is socially acceptable to discuss it. So. Just a warning! Do you have a favorite carol or song you want me to blog about? Let me know!)