Friday, January 30, 2009
The story of the women who date the former Masters of The Universe has become something of a sensation, according to Reuters.
And, in a related story:
One of the misconceptions that muddle the West’s debate over Islam and free speech is the idea that people should be totally free to insult. Free speech is never that absolute. Even — or perhaps especially — in America, where citizens are protected by the First Amendment, there are certain words and opinions that no civilized person would utter, and others that open the speaker to civil charges.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
From the NYT.
Housing prices are falling around the country, but this one sounds hard to believe: A seaside mansion on Jupiter Island in Florida, bought for more than $13 million five years ago, was just sold for $10. That’s right, 10 bucks.
But in this case, the transaction is likely to raise eyebrows for reasons other than the price.
The seller, according to county records, was Richard S. Fuld Jr., the former chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers. The buyer was his wife, Kathleen.
The motivation is unclear, but Mr. Fuld has been under intense scrutiny since Lehman declared bankruptcy in September.
The longtime leader of the brokerage firm is at the center of a federal investigation into whether Lehman executives misled investors about the state of the company. And he was grilled by lawmakers at a Congressional hearing in October.
Mr. Fuld said in sworn testimony before a Congressional panel last year that while he took full responsibility for the debacle, he believed that all his decisions “were both prudent and appropriate” given the information he had at the time.
The couple jointly bought the home in Hobe Sound, Fla., for $13.75 million in March 2004, and the sale to Mrs. Fuld on Nov. 10 was first reported by Cityfile.com.
It is possible that he is now transferring properties because of his fears of investor lawsuits or a possible bankruptcy, lawyers in Florida said.
“This is the oldest trick in the books” said Eric S. Ruff, a lawyer with Ruff & Cohen in Gainesville, Fla. “It’s common when you hear the feet of your creditors approaching to divest yourself.”
The economic crisis came home to 27-year-old Megan Petrus early last year when her boyfriend of eight months, a derivatives trader for a major bank, proved to be more concerned about helping a laid-off colleague than comforting Ms. Petrus after her father had a heart attack.
For Christine Cameron, the recession became real when the financial analyst she had been dating for about a year would get drunk and disappear while they were out together, then accuse her the next day of being the one who had absconded.
Dawn Spinner Davis, 26, a beauty writer, said the downward-trending graphs began to make sense when the man she married on Nov. 1, a 28-year-old private wealth manager, stopped playing golf, once his passion. “One of his best friends told me that my job is now to keep him calm and keep him from dying at the age of 35,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s not what I signed up for.”
They shared their sad stories the other night at an informal gathering of Dating a Banker Anonymous, a support group founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the Dow’s shedding 777 points in a single day, as it did on Sept. 29.
In addition to meeting once or twice weekly for brunch or drinks at a bar or restaurant, the group has a blog, billed as “free from the scrutiny of feminists,” that invites women to join “if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life.”
There's more! (If you can stand it.) From the NYT.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Yeah, you probably spotted it. Something not quite right about that top picture. It's actually a 1903 Colt that was converted to a 1911-pattern by Cylinder And Slide as a master project in gunsmithing a couple of years ago. Here's a link. Pretty amazing, huh? They call it the "Model of 2006."
And, yeah, the lower picture is "Before" and the upper one is "After." Wow.
[Correction: it is a .45-ACP 1911 that was modified to resemble a 1903 Colt. No less amazing.]
h/t Volokh Conspiracy.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Madame DeFarge is depicted here about to murder a five-year-old child. She is ruthless, obsessed, bloodthirsty, treacherous, sinister and violent.
The storming of the Bastille is pretty effective. Resembles Griffith's "Intolerance", in scale, anyway. This is probably a "glass shot": only the base of the set was actually constructed. The rest was painted by an artist onto a large panel of plate glass mounted in front of the camera. The painting could take several days, walking back and forth to the camera to check on the image in the viewfinder. And once complete, the camera could not truck, pan or tilt, since the painting and the background would "separate". Today this is done with animation and computers and the camera can make wild gyrations while maintaining the illusion.
Blanche Yurka never got another plum film role like this one. She died in New York City on June 6, 1974.
But what an unforgettable performance she left behind!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
But when I was only a mile from Green Top I saw something new: a mammoth Bass Pro Shops store. It's sort of a Walmart Supercenter for hunting and fishing gear. Everything from boats to bullets, and even an on-site restaurant. I went in to have a look around and the firearms section was packed. The handgun counter was jammed; customers standing two and three deep. The ammo shelves were thoroughly picked over and only a few scattered boxes remained.
With such a huge crowd at this new superstore, I was worried that Green Top may have been driven out of business, but no! When I got there it was also jammed with eager customers. The Gun Culture is alive and well in Richmond, Virginia! I spotted a Kimber Ultra CDP II in the display case but it was half an hour before I could get waited on. It was the last one they had. I also got 300 rounds of Remington-UMC 230-gr. There was only one magazine with the gun so I ordered a Wilson Combat and a Chip McCormick mag from Brownell's and they arrived only four days later.
The Ultra CDP II is a 1911-pattern pistol in 45-ACP with a 3" bushingless barrel. The frame is machined from a solid billet of 7075-T7 aluminum, then anodized black. The slide is stainless steel. Weight with an empty magazine is 23 ounces. The recoil springs are captive on a 2-piece concentric guide rod, so it requires a little paperclip-like tool to disassemble. The "CDP" means "custom defense package" and it's like a basic Kimber with all of the custom work that a typical new owner might send out a new carry gun to have done: trigger job, ambi safety, de-horned and tritium night sights.
But it wasn't until today that I was able to get some time to go to the range at the NRA in Fairfax. I fired 210 rounds (three magazines times seven rounds times ten with each mag) and I had ten failures. All of the failures were failures to fire; half of them were mis-feeds: the round was found to be caught with the bullet pointing straight up. The other half were failures to go into battery: the trigger wouldn't pull, although there was a round in the chamber and the hammer was cocked. The Wilson Combat mag had five failures, all on the last round in the magazine. The Kimber mag had four failures, three of which were on the last round in the magazine. The Chip McCormick mag had one failure, also on the last round in the magazine. There were no other failures, and the gun shot very accurately.
I measured the trigger pull with an old-fashioned Chatillion recording scale: the trigger has a pull of only four pounds; that's a bit startling the first time!
So it looks like I will have to get more of the Chip McCormick mags. They work very well with this gun, even better than the Kimber factory mag included with the gun.
Very nice, symmetrical firing pin strikes on the primers, too.
I think I'll keep it.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
And the opening credits for this episode feature the character actor Finlay Currie.
I was watching the opening to the old TV show, "The Prisoner". The star, Patrick McGoohan, died the other day. I especially remember his cool car, a Lotus Super Seven (Still WANT!)
I remember Finlay Currie for one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen in the movies, the opening from David Lean's "Great Expectations".
The 12-year-old boy is walking through the spooky old graveyard when this guy just LEAPS into the frame and grabs the kid and says, "Keep still you little devil or I'll cut your throat!"
Finlay Currie plays the escaped convict who, in typical Dickens fashion, reappears decades later in a completely unexpected way. But the graveyard scene? I literally jumped out of my chair the first time I saw that. And I still get a tingle out of it.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
"In the beginning ..."
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
"Call me Ishmael."
The title character, Rebecca, never appears in the movie and in fact she's dead when the movie begins. Her mysterious death drives the plot from beginning to end. It's not a typical Hitchcock movie, either. It's also unusual in that Joan Fontaine's character doesn't have a name; she's called "The Second Mrs. DeWynter" and addressed as "my dear" or "madame". We never hear her first name.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Tomorrow, January 6, is Twelfth Night, and for many people the unofficial end of the Christmas season. But for a certain group of readers January 6 has another significance: It marks the presumed birthday of the greatest fictional character of modern times, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the world’s foremost consulting detective. Seventy five years ago Christopher Morley—the most popular literary journalist of his time—established a small sodality of Sherlockian enthusiasts that soon came to be called the Baker Street Irregulars. Before long this group started to meet for regular sluicings and carousings and Sherlockian disputation on the Friday nearest to January 6. That tradition has never ceased, and on Wednesday I travel to New York for the diamond jubilee of the BSI.
From the WaPo. But what is "sodality"? And what is a "sluicing"? Is that, like, transitive or something?
But I didn't know that Powell also directed the even-more-obscure "Age Of Consent" (1969) starring James Mason and the 23-year-old Helen Mirren, who was cast principally because she was willing to play a nude model, er, mostly in the nude.