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animalsdiatribes

Dear Mr. Lancho: I hope it hurt like hell

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Dear Mr. Lancho:

You chickenshit motherfucker. The bull got one horn into you and you just lay there in the dirt. The bull didn’t do that, even after he’d been stabbed and stuck with swords and spears by your faithful little picadors, your sycophants on horseback. [Read more →]

art & entertainmenttechnology

The future is an empty room

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Our fellow WFTC writer Michael Antman has just published a fine essay on the digitalization of our culture at the popular culture website PopMatters.com. Entitled “The Future is an Empty Room,” the piece explores the impact that digital progress has had and is likely to have on everything from music and books, to the very nature of living spaces in the future. Needless to say, I completely agree with him, and there’s only a few points I’d like to add. [Read more →]

family & parentinghis & hers

Proposition Zero-sum

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Panicked by the possible legalization of gay marriage in New York State, the National Organization for Marriage went all out with a local TV spot. The load-bearing line in the spot is: “The rights of people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman will no longer matter.”

What rights are these? [Read more →]

art & entertainmentmovies

Cinema This Week: Shut The F*ck Up!

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Obviously I take my movie watching somewhat seriously. I mean, I write a blog about it, and that’s a bit above and beyond where most people go with their movie watching. I try and walk a fine line between movie snob and movie goer, but there is one place where I seem to be the movie snob asshole guy, and that’s AT THE MOVIES! [Read more →]

music

Nine Questions: Meet Willie Heath Neal

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Willie Heath Neal plays country music. That’s what I’d call it, that’s what he calls it. If you listen to popular country radio then you will disagree. You will call his songs “alt-country rockabilly” or “cowpunk” or “outlaw country” or “hillbilly” or “psychobilly.” Really, there seem to be endless ways to describe him by tacking “billy” onto the end of a word. But what really matters as we hash it all out is that he knows how to write a good song. That’s all I care about, and that is exactly what matters when you are in Ybor City on a rainy Tuesday night at Crowbar to see Willie and his gang play. I don’t ordinarily listen to country music (I adore The Old 97’s, but here again, they don’t seem to count), so I had no idea what I was getting into, but I loved every minute of it. [Read more →]

advice

Send in your boxtops for a gay secret decoder ring

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Dear Ruby,

I work for a large company and I’ve gotten friendly with a woman in another department who’s in the lunchroom when I am. I suspect she’s a lesbian and I’m a straight woman, so I want to let her know that a) her orientation is not a problem with me, and b) I’m not interested in romance but I am interested in having her be my friend. She has not said anything specifically so I am wondering how to bring it up. I think it’s a pretty friendly place to work for gay people so I’m not sure if she’s in the closet just to me or everyone. Any tips to break the ice?

Straight but not narrow

[Read more →]

Joshua Goldowsky blames a fictional charactermoney

Monty Brewster is to blame for out of control government spending

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In Brewster’s Millions, Richard Pryor’s character Monty Brewster was given the challenge of spending $30 million in 30 days. If he was successful, he would get a $300 million inheritance from a long lost rich uncle. If he failed, he got nothing. The catch was that after 30 days, he could not have any possessions bought with the $30 million, and could return to the lawyers’ office with only the shirt on his back. (That shirt, coincidently enough, was a Chicago Cubs jersey.) The point, his deceased rich uncle told him via a pre-death recorded video, was to teach him to not squander money by making him so sick of spending money that he would think twice before doing it.

Apparently, the previous administration, as well as the current administration, have seen this movie and have subscribed to this method, hoping that if they spend enough money, a rich uncle — Sam? Mao? — will come up with the cash prize. [Read more →]

books & writinghis & hers

Archie: Brightly colored dualities

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So Archie has chosen. And by choosing, he’s taking us down a dark path.

Not since Rene Descartes polished off a sixth bottle of wine and slurred the famous maxim, “I drink therefore I am,” has there been a more culturally critical dualism. I’m talking about the Betty and Veronica dichotomy that has shaped generations of youth — both male and female. [Read more →]

books & writingon thrillers and crime

On crime & thrillers: Return to “Elmoreland,” with Elmore Leonard’s Road Dogs

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“They put Foley and the Cuban together in the backseat of the van and took them from the Palm Beach County jail on Gun Club to Glades Correctional, the old redbrick prison at the south end of Lake Okeechobee,” my friend and former editor, Frank Wilson, read to the audience at the Central Library in Center City Philadelphia prior to introducing crime writer Elmore Leonard on May 14th.

[Read more →]

on the lawtelevision

Man of the Moment: Saul Goodman

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Barack Obama has been talking about shaking up the Supreme Court by making his first appointment a non-judge. If he really wants to rattle Scalia’s cage, he’ll give the nod to Saul. Criminal attorney Saul Goodman boasts a haircut described as “business mullet” and works out of a New Mexico strip mall with an inflatable Statue of Liberty on its roof (his office is filled with similarly cheesy/ patriotic décor). Loud, flirtatious, and utterly smitten with himself, he’s a clown with a knack for getting what he wants. Oh, and he’s actually only pretending to be Jewish for the benefit of his largely Hispanic clientele: “My real name’s McGill. The Jew thing I just do for the homeboys.” [Read more →]

Fred's dreams

Elevator

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May 11, 2009
I dream I am in a glass elevator in the tallest building in Beijing. It terrifies me to go up to the top. Nevertheless, I stay in the elevator and go to the top repeatedly. I am working as some kind of celebrity support staff and I am in the elevator with a columnist who has diamond encrusted eyeballs. [Read more →]

books & writing

Just Fantastic: Superman/Batman Volume 2: Supergirl

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Supergirl ain’t nothin’ but a hotly drawn bitch!

Summary (no spoiler): Supergirl comes to Earth for the first time. We deal with the whole stranger in a strange land issue and the illegal immigration issue. Superman is not alone. Batman wonders about some things that a high school senior could piece together. Blah, blah, blah. Darkseid is the main villain and the application of his entourage is kind of cool. And the ending is somewhat clever. Not a terrible read for a general Superman title, but a terrible six-issue waste of Batman Superman[Read more →]

Gail sees a moviemovies

Gail sees a movie: Angels and Demons

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“Dr. Langdon, what a relief. The symbolist is here,” Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgård) says dryly to Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks). I understand his lack of enthusiasm. Let us all pray we never hear that greeting again. This convoluted plot is as murky and confusing as the copious underground Roman passageways, where much of this film takes place. Only an exciting final thirty minutes comes close to bringing this film redemption. [Read more →]

announcements

Call for writers

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Can you write? Do you pay attention to the news and think, “Hey, I think stuff about this stuff”? Are you funny? Outraged? Both? Do you find interesting news items or videos online and entertain your friends with your snarky comments on Facebook? If you answered yes to any of these inspired questions, maybe, just maybe, you could be the newest contributor to When Falls the Coliseum. [Read more →]

books & writing

Now read this! F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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Okay, okay. You’ve read The Great Gatsby. We’ve all read The Great Gatsby. You were assigned it in 8th grade, then in high school, and again in Freshman English in college (though your subsequent readings were the Cliff’s Notes!). And you still have that crushed paperback with the cheesy neon lights on the cover. You forgot all about it until you saw the movie on TV, and when Mia Farrow went orgasmic over Robert Redford’s tailored pink shirts, you thought, “Well, that’s enough of that!” (And you didn’t even know, thank God, about a remake with Mira Sorvino and Toby Stephens!)

Well, forget all that. You’re a grown-up now and you need to read Gatsby with a grown-up’s perspective. [Read more →]

recipes & food

Easy weeknight dinners: summer veggie burritos

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Take advantage of the fresh veggies at the Farmers Market right now when making these simple vegetarian burritos!

Summer Veggie Burritos: Serves 2

Ingredients: One ear of fresh corn (kernels removed from the cob), 4 large flour tortillas, 2 handfuls of shiitake mushrooms (you can substitute another mushroom variety), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 minced jalapeno without the seeds, 1/4 of a red onion, 4 ripe tomatoes, a few sprigs of finely chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, 1 cup of cotija cheese, 2 ripe avocados, and 2 Tbsp of butter or olive oil.

[Read more →]

religion & philosophy

Don’t worry, be happy

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Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once uttered to the Heavens, “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” More commonly identified as the Serenity Prayer, this petition may now be uttered more frequently during the current socio-economic climate, one replete with much uncertainty. Niebuhr’s invocation plays quite well into time of immense worry. [Read more →]

books & writing

Lisa reads: The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato

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The Glassblower of Murano is an exceptional first novel written by Marina Fiorato, who is herself half Venetian and a graduate of the University of Venice. Her love of the city and its history comes through clearly. It’s a very romantic story, full of intrigue and heartbreak; to understand it, a little history is helpful.

Murano is well-known for its art glass, its millefiori and its chandeliers, but its artisans were virtual prisoners on the island.  [Read more →]

books & writingthat's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Better a well-turned epigram than an empty epic

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I first heard of Peter Altenberg while watching The Tonight Show, back in the days when it was hosted by Jack Paar. Alexander King, one of Paar’s regulars, used to talk about Altenberg all the time. [Read more →]

sciencetechnology

The beat goes on

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Here’s a puzzle for you: what is it you can hear but cannot hear, creates noise to make you sleep, and is a key feature of some 35 iPhone / iPod Touch applications that represent some of the most high-tech snake oil ever invented?

The answer is Binaural Beats, an aural illusion created when you listen to two different tones, one in each ear, that your brain interprets as something else entirely — a beat. [Read more →]

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