Archive for Tom Speaks

I Love the Smell of Desperation in the Morning

We’ve had a couple of encouraging signs in the last few days.

On Friday it was Jim Geraghty’s dismay at Obama’s supposed contempt for New Rochelle commuters. (If the lifestyle of Rob and Laura Petrie isn’t sacred, what is?)

Yesterday it was faux outrage at Obama quoting The Untouchables, showing that the Republican War on Metaphors continues unabated. See, for example, Flopping Aces: » Read more..

Sunday Sierrablogging

Banner Peak
Banner Peak from near Davis Lakes, Ansel Adams Wilderness.

We Had to Destroy Marriage in Order to Save It

Q: How do you save the hallowed institution of marriage from being destroyed by gays getting married?
A: You stop doing marriages altogether.

That’s the answer of two California counties, anyway: » Read more..

Wednesday Wildflowerblogging

Mariposa Lily 03
Mariposa Lily (Calochortus venustus) along the Valley View Trail in Morgan Territory Regional Park.

Monday Non-Movie Review: Slings and Arrows

Acting (belatedly) on Tim Goodman’s recommendation (spoilers there), we finally Netflixed the first three episodes of Slings and Arrows, a Canadian comic drama about a Shakespearean troupe (the “New Burbage Shakespeare Festival”) in turmoil. In the course of staging a production of Hamlet, they contend with the death of an indispensible character; an artistic director who was once driven mad by the play; a chirpily sinister corporate sponsor; long-festering hatreds among the principals; a clueless Gringolandian movie star; and much more.

As befits theatrical folk, everything is exaggerated and outrageous, and nobody is ever without an audience (if only in their own minds). It’s a world of outsized egos, petty jealousy, backbiting, and pretentious poses. In the middle of a rapier duel at a party (yes, there is a duel with rapiers–buttons off), the stage manager snaps at the assembled actors that they’re all a lot of insufferable children–and of course she’s right; but they’re immensely entertaining children, and their childlike love of theatre is the thing that redeems them.

It is exaggerated and at the same time nuanced. Lurking amid the manic farce are serious questions (about the relationship between art and commerce; about the purpose of live theatre in a world glutted on entertainment) and a pervasive sadness (at aging; at lost love, and long-ago betrayals; at becoming less than they had hoped; at the sense of their own obsolescence). The drama is never forced or heavy-handed, but simply human, inseparable from the comedy as it is in real life.

The cast is excellent, mostly not-quite-recognizable actors who I suspect are much better known in Canada (Paul Gross, from Tales of the City, Mark McKinney, from Kids in the Hall, and Rachel McAdams, from Mean Girls are the three I knew). The screenplay is consistently witty, and by ‘witty’ I mean ‘laugh-out-loud hilarious’. As in, you often have to rewind to get the funny line you missed when you were laughing at the funny line before it.

Highly recommended. Put it in your queue now.

Sunday Sierrablogging

Tehipite Dome from Tehipite Valley, Kings Canyon National Park.

Day Late, Dollar Short


Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.

Specter, who championed their confirmation, said Tuesday he will personally re-examine the testimony to see if their actions in court match what they told the Senate.

“There are things he has said, and I want to see how well he has complied with it,” Specter said, singling out Roberts.

So you helped push through a couple of extremist ideologues who turned out, shockingly, to be extremist ideologues…and you’re upset because they told you they weren’t?

Let me put this as nicely as possibly, Arlen: you were the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the planet to believe them. Of course they were going to say whatever they needed to say to get confirmed.

And now the damage is done. Thank you, Arlen. Thank you very fucking much.

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_3588

Uploaded by oberlep27

Breaking: braindead ravenous flesh-eating zombies have seized the nation’s capital.

But then I guess you knew that already.

[Random Flickr-blogging explained]

Sunday Sierrablogging

Half Dome and the Clark Range from above Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park.

Sunday Sierrablogging

Volcanic Ridge, a spur off the Ritter Range, Ansel Adams Wilderness.