Yet another eclectic compilation of links. Surely something more substantive will soon follow. Until then:
- Henry Gould demonstrates his powers of observation:
Yes, blogs are oddly distant, alienated, anti-social. But then again, most people you meet in person these days are on the phone.
Bonus item: " Poe's last photo(?)"
- "Oh to be in England" Dept., Vox Populi Edition:
Writing at Crooked Timber, Daniel Davies identifies the "[u]seful site of the year, and it’s only January". Simply provide WriteToThem.com with your locale and it gives you the means to contact all of your elected officials, including MPs, members of the European Parliament, local Councilors, etc. Here, for instance, is what you get if you enter a UK postcode for Basingstoke. Is any enterprising American providing a similar service on this side of the pond?
- Of course, one's relations with one's representatives may be comparable to that between Glendower and the spirits in Henry IV, Part I:
Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep!
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
- Speaking of elected officials, witness the weblog of the man whose signature is on my law degree: Mayor, former Governor and wanna-be Attorney General of California, Jerry Brown. (Via BuzzMachine/Jeff Jarvis.)
- Wine Whine Dept.:
*Sigh* From yesterday's Wall Street Journal (not available online to non-subscribers, and transcribed here from a sheet of newsprint), more on the impact of Sideways on the Santa Barbara County wine country:
The movie, which is nominated for five Academy Awards at next week's Oscar[®] ceremony in Hollywood, has inspired a cult-like following in recent months, with out-of-town visitors flocking to the region's bars and restaurants. The movie's combination of wine-country touring, comic camaraderie and late-night soul-searching has resonated with a discerning adult audience. The most ardent fans are not just here visiting: they are also re-creating scenes from the script.
The craze is like a grown-up version of what grew out of the 1975 camp musical 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' which ever since has had moviegoers dressing and talking like the characters.
* * *
By far the most frequently mimicked moment is one in which Mr. Giamatti's character, an incorrigible wine snob named Miles, declares: 'If anyone orders merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any f--- merlot.' All day long, tourists traipse through local wineries and restaurants featured in the movie repeating Mr. Giamatti's colorful outburst and casting aspersions on one of the country's most popular varietals.
Rocky Horror fans at least have the courtesy to keep their fandom inside the movie theater, for the most part, and out of the tasting room. (More merlot abuse is available here, in a remarkably scattershot item from Newsweek.)
In other Sideways news, there's this:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - And the Oscar for Hollywood's word of the year goes to 'pinot,' as in pinot noir, the wine variety of choice in 'Sideways,' one of the five films nominated this year for a best picture Academy Award.
The Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit group that monitors word use, said 'pinot' tops its annual list of show business words that influenced the English language last year. The winner for 2003 was 'wardrobe malfunction.'
- This colorful field report on Sideways-referencing diners from an irate waiter with revenge fantasies inspired by quite a different film, and
- The thoughts of Elisa Medhus, M.D., on the film's unfairness to middle school English teachers.
- "Oh to be in England" Dept., Noblesse Oblige Edition:
Alice Bachini, who incidentally harbors a healthy dislike of telephones (cf. Henry Gould, supra), has returned from Texas to her native land ("So, tuberculosis, homelessness, drug-dealers . . . I'm really starting to feel like a modern English person again!"), and is providing behavioral tips for royals:
It frankly amazes me that in all the discussions we have these days about the monarchy, nobody ever seems to suggest that perhaps if they just behaved with a bit more decorum they might actually be a perfectly decent asset to the country rather than a bunch of pick 'n' mix loons. Prince Charles' marital life is his own affair, but if he could just manage not to be photographed being groped by half-naked girly popstars for a few months, I personally would have slightly more respect for him. And if they all need to get drunk and yell at people, why can't they do it at private gatherings rather than in Irish pubs? Sorry, but I just find it strange.
- On Photography:
- Attorney Bert Krages of Portland, Oregon, provides advice on the Rights of Photographers. (Link via Lifehacker.)
- Progressive Review reports an instance of the ostensibly progressive city of San Francisco displaying a marked disregard for the Rights of Photographers. (Link via Hit and Run.)
- Brian Micklethwaite demonstrates how certain clever Frenchmen have determined that when it comes to photos of the Eiffel Tower intellectual property is, like sex, a trick of the light.
- "Hang ten on the raft, Huck honey!"
- Ken Layne reports on Mark Twain: Surfin' Bird.