Lots of exciting finishes in March Madness this year, no doubt. Color me George Mason green and yellow. Just remember, Cinderella may wear a glass slipper, but you still should have her remove them at the door.
More on the Final Four: of the over 3 million entries in ESPN.com's Tournament Challenge, 4 people picked all four teams in the Final Four correctly. About 2/3 of entrants didn't pick a single one of the Final Four teams. I wonder how many of the 284 people who picked George Mason to win it all actually go to or went to the school.
Maybe 42 really is the answer to the secret of the universe?
The proper way to pour ketchup.
Everyone thanks those in our volunteer army who are fighting in Iraq, but if a draft were instituted, everyone would raise bloody hell. During times of peace, signing up for the military seems like a decent deal, but these days, the Army is missing its recruiting numbers despite lowering its standards and raising its cash bonuses. It's one of the ugly truths about the Iraq war: those who fight the war are the ones who don't have more attractive options. The issue is close to my heart because one of my editing class projects was Edet Beltzberg's upcoming documentary on army recruiting. Much of that footage was wrenching to watch.
Eric Haney, one of the founding members of Delta Force, gives a karate chop to the throat of the current Administration for the war on Iraq. I'm almost done reading Inside Delta Force, his account of the founding of Delta Force and his years in service. The book is in the news now because David Mamet used it as inspiration for his new TV show "The Unit" on CBS. The book isn't quite as thrilling as I thought it would be, mainly because Haney can't reveal a lot of classified methods and anecdotes. As for the TV show, I'm not so sure all the actors are cut out to deliver Mamet-ese. I enjoy his dialogue much like I enjoy a bloody chunk of prime grade beef, but in the hands of the wrong cook, even the finest cut of beef can be turned into lunch room salisbury steak. Haney's dismissal of the effectiveness of torture is a damning indictment of the abuses at Abu Ghraib from a different perspective--torture doesn't gain effective intelligence, Jack Bauer notwithstanding.
This might be the coolest bath toy you could buy for your toddler. I wonder if human fear of snakes is innate or arises from reading the Bible or watching movies like Anaconda, a movie which mostly developed my fear of Jon Voight in a ponytail.
Movies from Sundance always seem to be trickling into theaters. Brick was one of the consensus group favorites of our Sundance crew two years ago, though I thought the conceit of setting a film noir in high school lost its novelty appeal by film's end, giving way to a somewhat unsatisfying potboiler ending. Still, it's a gas to hear high school kids spewing hard-boiled dialogue, and what better place to transfer the stock characters of film noir than high school, a time in our lives when most of us were trying on personas in a massive game of social fencing. As compared to most multiplex fare, Brick is joltingly fresh. The movie won the Originality of Vision award at Sundance, and that was the appropriate honor to bestow on that movie.
Thank You For Smoking is the latest of this year's Sundance babies to hit the big screen. Like Brick, the movie sprints out of the blocks with gorgeous opening credits and loses breath by the finish. No one wears sleaze better than Aaron Eckhart, though, and the movie shares his charming cynicism. Until Nick Naylor (Eckhart) loses his nerve, the movie is a pleasant smartass. Rob Lowe and Adam Brody as a CAA agent and his assistant had industry insiders at Sundance crying with laughter. For those who want Eckhart neat, instead of on the rocks, try In the Company of Men, in which he played one of the more memorable characters many people have never heard of.
David Bordwell wants more from contemporary film criticism. More than just opinions or insights, he wants to learn approximately true things about film. Something tells me the two movie blurbs above probably don't meet his standard.
James sent me a link to this amazing single hand of poker between Phil Ivey and Paul Jackson. Whereas many players hide behind sunglasses, Ivey eschews them in favor of his cold, piercing gaze, against which sunglasses might be the only defense against going blind.