On the assumption that at least some of my Noble Readers might feel as I do -- namely, that I can't wait for this election to be over -- I present here a list of links, some recent, some not-so-recent, all but three of which have nothing whatsoever to do with once and future American politics. (That was one; it's a point Digby has made frequently, but Billmon, in the above-linked piece, makes it funnier. (And, oh yeah, that was two.))
Most of these links are so old that I've forgotten where I saw them. My apologies for the violation of blogosphere manners in the lack of specific link-backs.
The links this time are divided into three broad categories: comics, movies, and things that from a long way off look like flies.
• This hilarious parody is the third and final political link in this post. I think you can enjoy it whatever your politics; a fairly good grasp on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, on the other hand, is a prerequisite.
• The unabridged novelistic writings of Snoopy.
• Top ten mental illnesses Batman indisputably has.
• XKCD is probably my favorite webcomic. It has dozens and dozens which are great; this is not the best by any means -- it's simply one that made me laugh. As opposed to this, which is jaw-dropping. (Personally, I recommend the random button, with a warning that the strip didn't get good until circa #50.)
• Mike Sterling' Things Not To Say to a Comic Book Shop Employee. Hilarious.
• I am not looking forward to the forthcoming movie of Watchmen. Nevertheless, it's cool how closely the posters for the movie track the old promotional ads for the comic.
• The always-interesting Andrew Rilstone on the creation of the comic book character The Silver Surfer. Requires an interest in the topic, but wonderful if you have any at all.
• People are always rediscovering Bechdel's Movie Test (a.k.a. Mo's Movie Measure, a.k.a. the Bechdel/Williams Test, etc.); for instance, Charlie Stross discovered it recently, which led to some interesting comments (considering, for example, whether it's fair to apply the test to prose fiction, particularly first-person prose fiction). Well, it turns out there's a web site which analyses movies and opines to whether or not they past the test. One blogger proposes a somewhat parallel test which she names the Frank Miller test.
• Monty Python's "Camelot" number from the Holy Grail done in Lego. (Also: the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.)
• The always-interesting Andrew Rilstone (op. cit.) on the "Revenge of the Sith". Same remarks apply.
• The Strange Obsessiveness of Stanly Kubrick.
• Roger Ebert on why he gives out too many stars (if he does).
3. Things That From a Long Way Off Look Like Flies
• Hamlet in the style of facebook feeds.
• I am very bad at learning foreign languages. If I nevertheless managed to pass the French test (atypically demanding as far as grad school language requirements go) for my Ph.D., a decent amount of credit should go to the Pimsleur Language Tapes, which, while expensive, are just extraordinary -- the best language tapes I've ever heard or heard of, bar none. But don't take my word for it: it turns out that the first lesson in each set is available for free as an online mp3. Each takes half an hour; you need to give it full concentration, and really respond to each prompt outloud, or you won't get what's great about it. The full sets are 30 lessons each, in many languages coming in Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced (for a total of 90 lessons). As I said, they're pricey; but try your local library -- ours, at least, has a lot.
• I expect that many of my readers heard about the tragic suicide of writer David Foster Wallace. In case you didn't see them, many of his essays (which a lot of people say are his best work) are online: all of his work published in Harpers, his essay "Host" from the Atlantic, and his essay about the morality of eating lobsters from Gourmet magazine.
• Why did teachers start lecturing, and why do they (we) still do it?
• Other interesting recent posts from Charlie Stross's blog (op. cit.): an interesting discussion on whether one can write near-future SF today (with a follow-up here); and the story of a man who saved your (yes, your) life -- or, well, links to the story. Quite dramatic though. Worth clicking through.
• Can flying survive high oil prices? (It turns out it's far more vulnerable than driving -- there already exist electric cars, after all.) If not, what then?
• Elephants march right through the lobby of a hotel built on their customary migration trail. Good for them.
• Finally, via Ezra, an Adam Gopnik profile of John Stuart Mill, from the New Yorker.