Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Big Ups to Neil

The Greatest Thing You or I or Anyone Has Ever Seen

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An amazing piece of street art has brought the famous Chinese terracotta army to life once again – in the form of Lego figures. Wrong-way view here. Via Neil.

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November 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

Other Game of the Night

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An oldie but a goodie: Hatetris. My best is 5 lines; Neil claims he got 7.

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September 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm

We Come Into Medical School and We’re Probably Quite Normal Human Beings

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January 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

A 1 Is Not a 0

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Even after their brief reprieve in 2010, the makers of 200x novelty New Year’s glasses still can’t let the magic die. Thanks to Neil for his decade-long commitment to this subject.

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November 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

Arlen Specter, Holy Smokes!

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The implosion of the Republican Party continues apace: CNN is reporting that Arlen Specter is switching to the Democratic Party. Crazy! Never thought the little guy would do it.

UPDATE: Lots of “Holy Shits!” being dropped in Left Blogistan today over this—glad I went with “smokes” instead. Also, it occurs to me that now Neil and Srinivas have to vote for Arlen Specter. Tough luck, fellas.

UPDATE: But let’s not lose our heads.

The Warren Commission thought they had an open-and-shut case. Three bullets, one assassin. But two unpredictable things happened that day that made it virtually impossible. One, the eight-millimeter home movie taken by Abraham Zapruder while standing by the grassy knoll. Two, the third wounded man, James Tague, who was knicked by a fragment, standing near the triple underpass. The time frame, five point six seconds, determined by the Zapruder film, left no possibility of a fourth shot. So the shot or fragment that left a superficial wound on Tague’s cheek had to come from the three shots fired from the sixth floor depository. That leaves just two bullets. And we know one of them was the fatal head shot that killed Kennedy. So now a single bullet remains. A single bullet now has to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connelly. But rather than admit to a conspiracy or investigate further, the Warren Commission chose to endorse the theory put forth by an ambitious junior counselor, Arlen Specter, one of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people. We’ve come to know it as the “Magic Bullet Theory.” This single-bullet explanation is the foundation of the Warren Commission’s claim of a lone assassin. Once you conclude the magic bullet could not create all seven of those wounds, you’d have to conclude that there was a fourth shot and a second rifle. And if there was a second rifleman, then by definition, there had to be a conspiracy.

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April 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Glasses No More

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Neil has been talking about this day since Jan. 1, 2000, and at last it has arrived: today is the last day for the famous 200x novelty glasses.

01/01/09 Never Forget.

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December 31, 2008 at 4:58 pm

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Monday Links

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Monday, Monday.

* The Criterion Collection Bottle Rocket is out tomorrow. Here’s the Amazon link.

* Nate Silver projects Al Franken will win by 27 votes.

* The World’s Best Colleges and Universities. Duke clocks in at #13, but more important, longtime domestic loser Case Western (#90) beats Tufts (#156) in the far more important world rankings, finally giving Neil the humiliation he deserves.

* Amanda Marcotte had the bright idea of reading Mad Men alongside some of the literary texts it makes allusions to, most notably the Frank O’Hara poem that bookends the season, “Meditations in an Emergency.”

* Longtime reader Eli Glasner has a great new film blog.

* 10 Stories Behind Dr. Seuss stories. Thanks, Lindsay!

* “Who Stole My Volcano? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dematerialisation of Supervillain Architecture.” Via Neilalien.

* A school in New York has already been renamed for Barack Obama. Students initiated the renaming.

* The things you learn from Poli-Sci-Fi Radio: Val Kilmer is mulling a run for governor of New Mexico. Kilmer’s only the second-worst Batman, but the one I think I’d want least in elected office.

* Top 25 Comic Book Battles. #1: Batman vs. Superman from The Dark Knight Returns.

* Heroes creator Tim Kring has apologized for calling his fans dipshits. Remember, a gaffe is when you accidentally tell the truth…

Philly Tea Leaves

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Springboarding off a recent poll showing an incredible 100% of Pennsylvania voters supporting Obama, claims that Philly turnout is “big. Real big.”

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November 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Losing Colorado

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CNN’s John King says the McCain camp has given up on Colorado alongside Iowa and New Mexico.

They are now finishing with a very risky strategy. Win Florida… Win Nevada, that is a state that is now critical to the McCain math even though it is only five electoral votes. And here is the biggest risk of all: they say yes, they have to win North Carolina, yes, they have to win Ohio, yes, they have to win Virginia— trailing or dead even in all those states right now—but they are betting, Wolf, on coming back and taking the state of Pennsylvania. It has become the critical state now in the McCain electoral scenario, and they are down 10, 12, even 14 points in some polls there…

I hate to give free advice to McCain, but this is lunatic. The RCP average for Pennsylvania is +11.7 Obama. has it at 15.2%. Nate Silver puts McCain’s numbers in PA at 2%.

How bad are McCain’s internals in Colorado, if he thinks he has a better chance in PA? He has no chance in PA.

FYI: if he does win PA, I will personally burn both Neil and Srinivas in effigy. Sujata too.

UPDATE: Nick at Cogitamus points at one thing that distinguishes Pennsylvania from other potential McCain last-chances: no early voting.

Presumably this has something to do with information based on Colorado’s early vote totals; the McCain campaign must believe that they can’t achieve a large enough Election Day victory to offset Obama’s advantage in early voting.

Of course, Pennsylvania—Pittsbugh and Philadelphia with Alabama in the middle, in Carville’s famous phrase—is also more ripe than Colorado for racially coded campaigning, as Shankar points out in the comments.

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October 20, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Late-Blooming Geniuses

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Late-blooming geniuses. Watch for the shout-out to Neil’s old law firm in the first paragraph.

In his first year, Fountain sold two stories. He gained confidence. He wrote a novel. He decided it wasn’t very good, and he ended up putting it in a drawer. Then came what he describes as his dark period, when he adjusted his expectations and started again. He got a short story published in Harper’s. A New York literary agent saw it and signed him up. He put together a collection of short stories titled “Brief Encounters with Che Guevara,” and Ecco, a HarperCollins imprint, published it. The reviews were sensational. The Times Book Review called it “heartbreaking.” It won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award. It was named a No. 1 Book Sense Pick. It made major regional best-seller lists, was named one of the best books of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews, and drew comparisons to Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Robert Stone, and John le Carré.

Ben Fountain’s rise sounds like a familiar story: the young man from the provinces suddenly takes the literary world by storm. But Ben Fountain’s success was far from sudden. He quit his job at Akin, Gump in 1988. For every story he published in those early years, he had at least thirty rejections. The novel that he put away in a drawer took him four years. The dark period lasted for the entire second half of the nineteen-nineties. His breakthrough with “Brief Encounters” came in 2006, eighteen years after he first sat down to write at his kitchen table. The “young” writer from the provinces took the literary world by storm at the age of forty-eight.

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October 15, 2008 at 3:51 am

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Dem Primary Update

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The competing moral claims for the Democratic nomination realigned a bit this weekend as we got our first evidence of Obama’s coattails: the surprise victory of Bill Foster in a special election for Dennis Hastert’s congressional seat. Obama cut an ad for Foster and gave him access to his Illinois organization, and so Foster’s victory is a victory for Obama too, providing good evidence for the superdelegates that Obama can do exactly what he says he can do in terms of making the Democrats a 50-state party again.

It’s also a nice little irony that the girl in the much-ballyhooed “3 a.m.” ad turns out to be 17 now and an Obama precinct captain.

The Wyoming caucus was this weekend, too, and as expected Obama won it by over twenty points—but the major contest continues to be Pennsylvania. If Obama can win there, Clinton drops out. If Obama loses there, even if it’s really really close, Clinton probably stays in until the convention, and things start to get really interesting awful.

As I’ve said, I have every confidence that Obama will be the nominee either way: Clinton can’t catch up in pledged delegates, and the superdelegates won’t overturn the will of the voters no matter what sort of spin war the Clintons wage in the press.

But it would be so much easier if he just wins Pennsylvania. I’m calling on my vast Pennsylvania fanbase* to make that happen.

* I call it a “fanbase” now so you can’t tell it’s just one person. But seriously, Neil, knock on some doors.

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March 9, 2008 at 5:45 pm