Roger Ebert loved movies. Except for those he hated. For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Roger Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative, or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers. “No good film is too long,” he once wrote, a sentiment he felt strongly enough about to have engraved on pens. “No bad movie is short enough.”
Comments: That was quick. He was politically a naif, but I did enjoy his reviews and essays. Headline split by staff.
The SunTimes’ fawning obit is followed by several hundred equally fawning (and predictable: “The balcony is closed forever now”) posts. One of them, however, asked why the SunTimes was apparently deleting any less-than-glowing encomia. How about it, SunTimes? Favorite son, de mortuis nil nisi bonum and all that, but how about loosening the choke-chain, just a little? Compared to where he may be now, Roger can certainly take the heat...
Granted, he could sometimes write a decent stick. And, as posters elsewhere have noted, his earlier, less politically tainted reviews were his better ones, unmarred by the gross mistakes and oversights of his later criticism.
His blog, on the other paw, was largely unreadable. Entries that stick annoyingly in my mind are the one a few months ago in which he touted universal disarmament, after ‘fessing up that he had never “shot a gun,” and a very recent one in which he bemoaned the dire doom about to be visited on us by Global Warming. Not to mention his self-serving explanation of how (yes, “how,” not “why”) he was a Roman Catholic. He was apparently comfortable in the faith, from his earliest schooldays ... except for that annoying business of believing in God.
He also made millions from his early investment in Google – but a few months ago was crying poor, panhandling CrowdSource and Kickstart donations to put his little half-hour show back on PBS.
And, embarrassingly for someone who once wanted to be a professor of English, he never, ever got the hang of “who” and “whom”.
The CMA show tonight was great fun. It started with “Obamacare By Morning,” as Scott noted a little while ago. (And, by the way, if you don’t know George Strait’s Amarillo By Morning you are missing out, here it is.) Throughout the show, various wags tweeted under the hashtag #obamacountrysongs. Lots of them were pretty funny. Here are some samples that barely scratch the surface: * I Walk the Lie * Coward of the Country * I Used To Be a Coal Miner’s Daughter, But Daddy’s Unemployed * Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Democrats * Thank Allah I’m a Commie Boy * Benghazi’s
The decision in 1967 to feature a harpsichord behind Linda Ronstadt on "Different Drum" wasn´t a stretch. Throughout the decade, the high-strung keyboard was enjoying a renaissance, appearing on dozens of pop hits and soundtracks—including the Beatles´ "Fixing a Hole," the Beach Boys´ "God Only Knows," "The Addams Family" TV theme and "The Odd Couple" film score. Reasons for using the fussy instrument by rock, pop and R&B producers varied. Some sought a novelty touch while others wanted to be in step with London´s colorful Edwardian fashion trend and the psychedelic scene that came with it. But the harpsichord´s ´60s
Knit one, purl … eight-plus hours of live stitching? That’s what’s happening tonight on Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 as folks around the country gather in viewing parties. The show is part of a phenomenon known as Slow TV which has increasingly captivated Norway. The overall gist of the concept, to which LMNO Productions recently acquired U.S. rights, is a hybrid of unhurried documentary coupled with hours and hours of continuous coverage provided by fixed cameras trained on a subject or an event. Prior to tonight, those have included a 7.5-hour train journey, a 134-hour coastal cruise, a stack of firewood
President Barack Obama will not attend next month´s event marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania. Officials at Gettysburg National Military Park said Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will represent the administration the Nov. 19 sesquicentennial. Jewell and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson will share the role of keynote speaker. Other events include a reading of the Gettysburg address by a Lincoln portrayer. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also plans to attend the ceremony. Lincoln delivered the immortal words of the address at a dedication of the Soldiers´ National Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, more than
This baby’s got the blues. A 10-month-old baby girl was brought to tears by the sound of her mother singing a lullaby. Little Marie-Lynne Leroux’s eyes start glistening just a few seconds into her mom’s rendition of Rod Stewart’s “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.” The wide-eyed baby from Ontario, Canada, bravely tries to regain her composure. It isn’t long before tears are rolling down her tiny face. Mom Amanda Leroux, says that this isn´t the first time her child has picked up on the emotions of a song. But for some reason, this particular ballad always evokes a strong reaction. "It´s almost as if
On Tuesday´s Charlie Rose Show, former Vice President Dick Cheney came on to promote his new book about surviving heart disease and was treated to a nasty swipe from the host about his Iraq war decision making. When Cheney told the PBS host and co-anchor of CBS’s This Morning that he had wished he had gotten his heart transplant done sooner, Rose took his shot: “Might you have seen Iraq differently if we had more oxygen to your brain?” (video after the jump) The following exchange was aired on the October 29 edition of PBS’s Charlie Rose Show: CHARLIE ROSE: And you feel
Today, New York Times editor-turned-cranky-columnist Bill Keller´s column consists of a long back-and-forth with crusading anti-imperialist Glenn Greenwald. The "must read" portion is not about the NSA, but about Times conservo-nerdlinger David Brooks.Look, we encourage you to read the whole long-ass column, which is actually a very mature and engaging exchange of views about the institutional role of the media in society, and the future of the practice of journalism. Good stuff. It´s all pretty civil, despite Bill Keller´s well-documented hatred of Greenwald pal Julian Assange. But of course, these two could not go on for thousands of words without
Shepard Smith, the endlessly endearing (and easily angered) Fox News anchor, has likened the right-wing channel to a “family,” with president Roger Ailes as its domineering father. Which makes it only slightly awkward that in early 2012, the 49-year-old anchor started courting an attractive young production assistant who worked under him on Fox Report With Shepard Smith. Now they are a couple. Gawker has learned that Smith is dating a 26-year-old Penn State grad and Fox Business producer named Giovanni “Gio” Graziano. According to multiple sources with knowledge of their relationship, the couple met sometime after Graziano started working at Fox
Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing about the closures of national parks and monuments during the government shutdown, proved one thing: Under President Obama, The traditional “Washington Monument Strategy” of closing popular services first has become the “Washington Bully Strategy.” Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a former prosecutor, almost drove National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis into incoherence with his relentless questioning. Gowdy wanted to know why Jarvis had allowed “pot-smoking” Occupy Wall Street protesters to camp overnight illegally in Washington’s McPherson Square park for 100 days, yet put up barricades to keep veterans out of war memorials on the first
It seems both sides in the Obamacare fight have their positions exactly backward. The Republican National Committee is tweeting #FireSebelius and their website homepage features a petition demanding that President Obama sack the head of the department in charge of carrying out his signature health reform initiative. The petition calls the glitch-ridden rollout of Healthcare.gov a “systemic failure” and says Sebelius should be held accountable for ignoring “red flags and repeated warnings that Obamacare wasn’t ready for primetime.” The White House said Tuesday it has no plans to get rid of Sebelius. If you think Sebelius is a blitheringly incompetent leader and manager,
Tom Foley, the Spokane judge´s son who became speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is dead. His wife, Heather, confirmed his death Friday morning in an email to seattlepi.com. Foley, who had been in declining health, was 84 He will be remember as speaker of the House in days when Congress still got things done, but never saw the speaker´s chair as his life´s greatest honor. Instead, it was that voters in Eastern Washington chose him for 30 years to represent them in Congress. Foley stood tall (6´3"), gave straight answers and saw his job as working out society´s
Kathleen Sebelius came to Pittsburgh yesterday to team up with Steelers chairman Dan Rooney to promote the newly launched ObamaCare exchanges. Maybe she should have tried the Denver Broncos. The promotion flopped as badly as the Steelers in their first four weeks of the season, thanks to the $634 million website that can’t make a play: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had a front-row view of the problems plaguing the website that the government established to allow people to shop for health insurance under Obamacare. Sebelius and Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney were at an enrollment and education event on Thursday
President Obama apologized Thursday to Americans who are losing their health insurance despite his repeated promises that they wouldn’t, an unusual act of contrition for a president who has come under heavy criticism for misleading the public. “I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as
It was, I think, the most brazenly mendacious claim an American president has told since Bill Clinton’s finger-wagging insistence that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” I have in mind Barack Obama’s statement, made earlier this week, in which he said this: “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” (Emphasis added.) That is not, in fact, what the president said. Not by a country
President Obama said Thursday that he is "sorry" that some Americans are losing their current health insurance plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act, despite his promise that no one would have to give up a health plan they liked. "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he told NBC News in an exclusive interview at the White House. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them, and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this," he added.
A spelling mistake in the words ´not recommended´ on the Obamacare website led to the site going down, it was revealed today in internal notes from ´war room´ meetings of experts scrabbling to breathe life into the shambolic operation. The error limited the choices Obamacare shoppers were offered in October and often presented them with overpriced options. Ultimately, at least some of the website´s many outages were brought about by this simple typo, as technicians struggled to give the public an experience that mirrored President Obama´s promises. ´In states where the federal government helps run these marketplaces, the average American will have more
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will meet with President Obama at the White House Thursday afternoon to plot strategy for passing comprehensive immigration reform. McCain said Obama requested the meeting, which comes at a time political momentum for immigration reform is flagging. “I’m going over to the White House this afternoon to meet with him [on] immigration reform and others,” he said. “I actually have a respectful and cordial relationship with him.” McCain and Obama need to shore up the support of wavering allies such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has backed off the push to overhaul the nation´s immigration laws in a
President Barack Obama heard an earful at the White House Wednesday from Senate Democrats running for re-election next year who are fuming about the Affordable Care Act’s rocky rollout.During a two-hour meeting that was not on the president’s public schedule, the president met with 15 Senate Democrats facing the voters next year, as well as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet, D-Colo. Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska issued a release after the meeting torching the administration. “It is simply unacceptable for Alaskans to bear the brunt of the Administration’s mismanagement of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and
On ESPN’s Around the Horn, frequent guest Kevin Blackistone of the Dallas Morning News said that football games should not include the singing of the national anthem beforehand, as that added to the “military symbolism.” He actually called the Star-Spangled Banner a “war anthem.” Blackistone was addressing controversy over Northwestern University’s American flag-themed football uniforms, designed to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project. In a show segment titled “Buy or Sell,” Blackistone said that he would “sell” the uniforms: I´m going to sell it for the same reasons. If you sell this along with me, you should also be selling the
Blind men see, the lame walk, dogs speak Latin. And in other news in miracles, President Barack Obama just apologised for something. In an interview with NBC news on Thursday he said "sorry" that some Americans are losing their health insurance as a result of Obamacare coming into effect--and for promising that this wouldn´t happen. [Snip] His words will be small comfort to the millions who risk losing their existing plans, but it´s still a moment of historical significance to hear Barack Obama apologise for screwing up. And he screwed up big time. We now know that members of the
Bill de Blasio’s liberal policies aren’t the only thing on display as he moves onto the national stage as New York’s mayor-elect. His family’s hair is also front and center. For those just tuning in: Wife Chirlane McCray’s long dreadlocks are often pulled into a smart, flowing ponytail. Son Dante’s famously large Afro stands triumphant. His daughter, Chiara, wears her loose, kinky locks framed with a band of roses. For a rare instant in the nation’s electoral history, the African American hair politic is on full display. The hair aesthetic of de Blasio’s family speaks to the political moment and
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I regret very much that what we intended to do, which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want ´em, as opposed to because they´re forced into it. That, you know, we weren´t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place. And I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position -- a better position than they were before this law happened. Keep in mind that most of the folks who are
New U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power didn´t waste her diplomatic skills on Vietnam veterans at a New York speech, praising actress Jane Fonda for "being outspoken on behalf" of her convictions. Power, 43, was speaking at the United Nations Association of the USA 2013 Global Leadership Awards in New York Wednesday, where honorees included Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived being shot in the head by Taliban thugs and is now an education advocate for girls. “Hi everybody,” Power said, according to a transcript. “You know life has changed when you’re hanging out with Jane Fonda backstage. There is
You must understand, no matter what President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid say, that ObamaCare was designed for failure, not just for itself but all the insurance companies involved. When a poison pill is ingested into the system, the body starts to die, killing off the healthy organs and itself in the process... leaving a void for something far worse to take its place. It has been the progressive´s dream since 1912 to introduce national healthcare and control one-sixth of the nation´s economy. Now that they are so close to the finish line, they needed one final push to send