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Super Bowl [Insert Pompous Roman Numeral Here] Thread

[ 0 ] February 3, 2008 |

I’m hoping for a good game, but let’s be frank. In terms of matchup this one most closely resembles the Bears/Patriots blowout — historically great team against unusually weak Super Bowl team. There’s probably a greater chance of an upset because you can move the ball against this Partiots team, but still it seems pretty likely that this game won’t be close. Admittedly, Manning has not only played better but played differently in the playoffs, with no turnovers — but I still don’t think three good games fully transcends 2 and a half seasons of mediocrity. And it’s hard to see an upset of this magnitude coming against Belichick with two weeks to prepare. I’ll call it Patriots 45, Giants 17.

For those rooting for the upset, I enjoyed this compilation of great teams that didn’t win. #2 still stings, while #11 is the flipside of my favorite. team. ever. (And while Berube probably doesn’t want to be reminded, #1′s series against the Keenan/Gretzky/MacInnis/Hull Blues was great.)

…as anyone well-trained in the Straussian art of reading would understand, of course, what I meant was “this will be an extremely low-scoring game in which the underrated Giants take a fourth-quarter lead.”

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Think of the Readable Books That Could Have Filled That Space

[ 0 ] February 3, 2008 |

Granting that it’s somewhat better than the first one, can someone explain to me how Lee Siegel’s sure to be widely unread pensees about how it’s worse than the gulag when people make fun of you on the internets just because you create sockpuppets to call yourself a genius, call people fascists for disagreeing with your intermittently lucid Abe Simpson rants, and accuse people of pedophilia with no evidence can justify two reviews in the New York Times? At least when Joe Lelyveld’s memoirs — sorry, I’ve nodded off just thinking about it — inexplicably got the two review backscratch he had been with the paper for decades. Now being an occasional contributor to the book review is enough to get you two reviews of a book nobody cares about?

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Bourgeois Scum Update

[ 22 ] February 3, 2008 |


As of Friday, I am Living the American Dream of home and/or boat ownership, as I closed on a co-op in the building that (appropriately enough) used to house the Department of Education in downtown Brooklyn. I’m looking forward to it enough to get over the fact that I really hate moving.

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Not Totally False, but Not True Either

[ 19 ] February 3, 2008 |

Another day, another bad headline, this one from the UK Guardian (and repeated in many other papers). On the unspeakably horrible bombing in Baghdad today:

“Female Suicide Bombers kill 72 people at Baghdad Markets”

So, yes. The people in the market with bombs strapped to them were female. And they too were killed in the explosion. But as Sebastian points out, there’s a lot more to this story:

Remote-controlled explosives were strapped to two women with Down’s syndrome and detonated in coordinated attacks on two Friday morning markets in central Baghdad yesterday, killing at least 72 people and wounding nearly 150.

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brigadier General Qassim al-Moussawi, claimed the female bombers had Down’s syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control, indicating they may not have been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped-up security measures.

While it has not yet been confirmed that the women had Downs Syndrome, it seems at least odd to me that the world’s major newspapers are leading with the fact that the bombers were female and oh, by the way, on a suicide mission, rather than explaining that the bombs were detonated remotely and that there’s a good chance that the women were severely mentally disabled.

Just another case of choosing headlines by circulation and not by fact.

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Ayn Rand Predicts the Super Bowl

[ 14 ] February 2, 2008 |

The High Priestess of Tedium, among other literary greats, as channeled by McSweeney’s:

Belichick squared his broad shoulders as he stared Coughlin in the eye. The smaller man cowed and threw his hands to his face in a pathetic flail. “Tom,” said Belichick, “I bet nobody has been honest with you in your entire life, so let me be the first. I was taught in the ways of strength. Yes, my men will win today. But it’s because we’ve had the courage to act on our judgment, and the fortitude to trust our decisions. Long ago, we were faced with a choice—the same choice you faced. We chose conviction. You chose impotence. And now, today, you ask me not only to cut my wrists and bleed on your behalf … oh no. You would also have me fund, design, and build the knife. You accuse me of social treason, and yet you beg me to betray myself.” The beautiful man laughed a throaty, attractive laugh. “You are a coward, Tom, and a coward in this world deserves nothing.”

With a great cheer, the reporters stood in unison and applauded.

Prediction: Patriots 326, Giants –27

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Hearty LGM Congratulations

[ 21 ] February 2, 2008 |

We at LGM issue heartfelt congratulations to President Sarkozy and Ms. Bruni!

The French are so very different from us.

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It’s Over

[ 28 ] February 2, 2008 |

Not that this is news, but the McCain is a mortal lock. Evidently, I got this completely wrong. What I missed was that the logic I used to defend Romney (he would have little chance running against a serious plain vanilla Southern conservative but wasn’t facing one) was also true for McCain. And, of course, McCain got lucky, in that Huckabee has some actual political skills (which, most crucially, deprived Romney of Iowa) while Giuliani was a historical fiasco beyond the point which even people who correctly understood that he never had much of a chance could have anticipated. Even Fred Thompson got out of his La-Z-Boy long enough to hand McCain South Carolina. In a field in which nobody should logically have been able to win the victor needed things to break right, and the breaks went to McCain.

This isn’t a good outcome for Democrats, but he’s certainly beatable. I still think that he would be a lot more vulnerable against a candidate who actually opposed the Iraq fiasco that McCain has supported so vociferously, but it seems likely that a majority of Democratic primary voters won’t agree with me. (Of course, given my track record this year the fact that I think Clinton remains a prohibitive favorite has to scare her campaign considerably…)

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"You, Sir, Have The Boorish Manners Of A Yalie."

[ 10 ] February 2, 2008 |

Speaking of bean’s alma mater, some Yale students engage in a silent protest against advocate of torture and arbitrary executive power and Bush administration idea of a good federal judge (but I repeat myself) Jay Bybee. Good.

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They Ask Questions…

[ 9 ] February 2, 2008 |

Captain Ed:

Has Ann Coulter Finally Jumped the Shark?

Um. Heh. Uh… I guess I just don’t understand the question.

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Speed Reading

[ 27 ] February 2, 2008 |

This is from a while back, but for folks who might be interested in learning how to read a book in about an hour, this fellow claims to have mastered the technique. It basically involves working a lot with the index, reading the intro and conclusion, and calling it a day. The main caveat seems to be that this works well only for scholarly books, particularly the social sciences. It also won’t work — or so we’re told — with books that aren’t very good.

Also, the author offers this tantalizing bit of information in the comments:

good lord if ya’ll are digusted by this, wait ‘til I tell you how I teach the students to grade their own papers. I can’t even remember the last time I read a student’s paper.

I. Am. All. Ears.

(Via Jonathan Sterne)

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Guaranteed to Bring Some Warmth to Even the Hardest of Hearts and the Direst of Patriots Fans

[ 18 ] February 1, 2008 |

I think that 2 sports-related posts in a single day is a record for me.

Anyway, via commenter Humboldt Blue, an article about the injured Iraq War vet who has inspired the Giants this season and who has become virtually a part of their coaching staff. I double dog dare you to read it and not at least have a tiny tinge of Giants support surge through you.

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H & L Revisited

[ 0 ] February 1, 2008 |

In the interests of balance, this is pretty appalling. I wasn’t at all bothered by Obama’s invocations of Reagan; I’m sure that virtually every politician elected since 1986 has said something nice about the Gip at some point. But using what amounts to a facsimile of the 1994 anti-health care ad is pretty twitchy. Are we going to see this next?

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