Arimathea | Fun
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Wednesday, November 26, A.D. 2008

Yesterday, we went to see Disney’s charming new movie, Bolt, down on the Levee. One of Andrew’s pop culture guru friends recommended it, and I decided to give it a chance. It was surprisingly good—entertaining, funny, and warm-hearted without being saccharine. Maybe, some folks at Disney learnt a few things over the years from their relationship with Pixar.

If you are a dog lover, you will love the movie. It speaks the language, so to speak.

I was also pleased that a significant little portion of the movie takes place in my home State of Ohio. Indeed, I would say that several sequences in Bolt are patriotic—as our new Homeward Bound gang travels across the continent, we Americans watch something of a pride parade of our land and traditions.

There is a smattering of kiddy pop candy throughout the film but mainly in the opening sequence, especially with references to Inspector Gadget (Penny! Couldn’t they at least have made her Peggy?). Geeks and lovers of all things heroic will find the hamster rather amusing, but in that slightly embarrassing and shaming Seinfeld sort of way—when, against our wishes, we realize that there is a little George in us all.

One small element in the film that I appreciated a lot was the pigeons. The realness of the pigeons’ movement and mannerisms shocked and delighted me—one of the ancient formulae for comedy, and Bolt‘s pigeons pull it off well. Of course, such lifelike depictions will become commonplace, and future generations will no longer “get” it in the same way; no one gasped after 1939 when red shoes appeared on the silver screen. Nonetheless, I loved the pigeons. I also liked how the three sets of pigeons stereotypify New Yorkers, Angelenos, and Southerners—wonderful.

So, if you have not yet seen it and if you are not currently boycotting Disney for one reason or another, take the family to see Bolt. You’ll enjoy it.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 26, Anno Domini 2008
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Saturday, November 22, A.D. 2008

Saturday Night Live has always been an inconsistent show. Every year, people complain that it used to be so funny back when XYZ were on the cast. Yet, back when XYZ were on the cast, folks were saying the same thing about UVW, and so on. I remember reading someone’s explanation for this phenomenon—perhaps it was Jonah Goldberg—but whoever it was wrote that skit shows like S.N.L. are usually not very funny, though some of each episode’s skits may make you grin. However, every now and then, one of the skits will be golden, and it is those hilarious few that are memorable. Hence, whenever we consider a particular era in S.N.L. history, we consider the great skits that come readily to our minds, judge them to be representative of the whole era, and thus conclude that the era was better than our current era. Really, the analysis is simply Descartes and Hume applied to our estimation of comedy television.

Of the current cast, I think that Kristen Wiig is brilliant. She deserves to be in N.B.C.‘s comedienne hall of fame. One of my favorite skits of hers is the following “Carpool” skit with Alec Baldwin, a political loon but nonetheless a chap with great comic talent.

Of the various types of humor, I like the insightful and mocking the most (just ahead of the absurd). Our hypersensitive, unforgiving, and socially awkward age in which people seek gratification from being offended deserves such mockery. Speaking of which, Stuff White People Like has a delightful entry on “Being Offended”—funny and oh so horribly true.

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, November 22, Anno Domini 2008
Wednesday, November 19, A.D. 2008
A Cappella Geekness

Andrew forwarded me the following video. It is simultaneously impressive, ridiculous, embarrassing, and entertaining. Moosebutter, Corey Vidal, and the hordes of nerds who share my fascination and shame . . .  Just how many “Get a life” eye rolls do the Gentiles have for us?!?!

I wonder what John Williams thinks of it?

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, November 19, Anno Domini 2008
Monday, November 17, A.D. 2008
All Apologies

Last week in the Old Graying Whore, Henry Alford’s “All Apologies” spoke for everyone who is concerned about the dismal etiquette of contemporary American society. It is an entertaining read, and I empathize with the fellow. Given the bell curve in human populations, I do not expect everyone whom I meet to be intelligent, interesting, and virtuous. However, the vast majority of people are capable of standard politeness and the necessary button-pushing competence to accomplish the jobs for which they were hired. Why is it that so many fail the minimal requirements? More importantly, why is it that we tolerate such behavior?

For more laughs in the critical vein, I should mention Florence King, who may be one of the most witty wenches in American history. Unfortunately, I cannot find any centralized archive for her writings, but the National Review Online has a small selection available.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 17, Anno Domini 2008
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Friday, November 14, A.D. 2008
Digital Conversion Public Service Announcement

In an age where we no longer respect our elders as we should, this video does not help the culture much. Yet, it is pretty funny:

And the updated one:

Poor old analog . . .

Posted by Joseph on Friday, November 14, Anno Domini 2008
Thursday, November 6, A.D. 2008
After the Election

The Onion News Network has quite a funny story up, “Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters to Realize How Empty Their Lives Are”:

I have had the misfortune to know many young starry-eyed utopians—we’ll call them campaign volunteers—who have made politics their religion. It is sad, really, that human beings can pervert their yearning for meaning and transcendence into such a hollow pursuit.

Not as funny, but not bad, is their “Voting Machines Elect One of Their Own As President” :

It made me grin.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, November 6, Anno Domini 2008
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