Tuesday various

  • Following up on the story last week, the Nieman Journalism Lab digs deeper into The New York Times‘ fact-checking faux pas:

    The hope for building fact-checks into everyday news reports is that it would push political reporters to be more thoughtful and reflexive about their own work — to leave out quotable-but-dubious claims, to resist political conflict as the default frame, and in general to avoid the pat formulations that are so ably managed by political actors. But inevitably, all of us will be disappointed, even pissed off, by some of these routine fact-checks — and perhaps all the more so when they’re woven into the story itself. [via]

  • Can you name the ABCs of ’70s film? I got most of these, although frankly, I think “N” is a bit of a cheat. There are lot more, from different decades and different genres, here. The “I” in the 1980s one is definitely a cheat. I’m sorry, but I refuse to call it Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Speaking of which, Raiders of the Lost Archives — a shot-by-shot comparison of Raiders of the Lost Ark and its many (sometimes direct) influences. It’s interesting, although Spielberg and Lucas have never hidden that the movie was an homage to the adventure serials they loved growing up. [via
  • Todd VanDerWerff on NBC’s The Firm:

    It’s like the show wants to be a straightforward copy of the movie, only told over a full season, but it also wants to be a sequel to the movie. Thus, it becomes a story about people who experience nearly exactly the same collection of events, don’t really seem all that concerned about it, and then also take on a case of the week because they’ve figured out they live in a TV show.

  • And finally, there’s a a gorgeous five-story mural in Montreal. See above. [via]

Wednesday various

Thanksgiving cornucopia

  • We live in a country where pizza is a vegetable. I’m just saying. [via]
  • Harry Potter director developing all-new Doctor Who movie. Not at all a sure thing, but still, when do we stop remaking things? Maybe when the last remake is still on-going?
  • Genevieve Valentine on Immortals, which she describes as “a batch of snickerdoodles with thumbtacks inside.”

    The labyrinth and Minotaur are well turned out, and their showdown takes place in a temple mausoleum, where an archway of stairs frames a goddess’s head that’s inset with candles to make it glow from within. It’s the sort of thing where you think, “Man, that’s good looking! I wish this stupid scene would stop so we could just look at it.”

  • I really don’t know what to think about actress suing IMDB for revealing her age. They both seem to have a perfectly valid point.
  • Massive plagiarism might help your book sales [via]
  • Billy Crystal will be hosting the Oscars this year, giving me another reason not to watch. Which is not a dig at Crystal, necessarily, who I generally like…you know, back when he made movies people watched. But it’s such a safe, boring choice. The Academy really missed a golden opportunity to let the Muppets host the Oscars
  • Tilt-shift Van Gogh
  • Polite Dissent on Forgotten Drugs of the Silver-Age:

    The more I think about it, for all intents and purposes, Jor-El was a mad scientist. He espoused scientific theories well outside the accepted norm and performed numerous unauthorized scientific experiments of questionable ethics.

  • Mysterious D.C. rampage leaves smashed cars in its wake. Seriously, it looks like the Hulk went through there. [via]
  • And finally, the Center for Fiction interviews Margaret Atwood:

    I think it’s a human need to name – to tell this from that. On the most basic level, we need to distinguish – as crows do – the dangerous creature from the harmless one, and – as all animals do – the delicious and healthful food object from the rotting, poisonous one. In literary criticism it’s very helpful to know that the Harlequin Romance you sneak into when you think no one is looking is not the same, and is not intended to be the same, as Moby Dick. But stories and fictions have always interbred and hybridized and sent tendrils out into strange spaces.

Wednesday various

  • You kind of have to love Umberto Eco’s answer to the question “What’s one thing you’re a fan of that people might not expect?” He said: “My last grandchild.”
  • John Seavey pitches Evil Toy Monkey — The Series. I’d watch that.
  • “It was nearly toast, but Coney Island Bialys and Bagels is on a roll again after Muslim businessmen Peerzada Shah and Zafaryab Ali recently took over the 91-year-old mainstay of the Jewish noshes.” Now if we could just figure out how the Middle East is like a bialy shop… [via]
  • Ken Jennings suggest weaning ourselves from our GPSes:

    But as much as I love GPS, I worry that wayfinding is yet another part of our brains that our culture has decided it’s okay to outsource to technology. A famous 2000 study on London cab drivers showed that the hippocampus, the brain’s seat of spatial knowledge, grows physically as our geographic knowledge increases. Many people believe their sense of direction is hopeless, but in reality, that just means they need more practice. In experiment after experiment, researchers have learned that repeating a few simple exercises can turn lousy spatial thinkers into good ones. Without that exercise, our skills get flabby.

  • And finally, Firefly the Animated Series. Oh, if only. [via


Tuesday various