Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Favorite Movies of 2017

Honorable Mentions:
Logan Lucky
The Beguiled
Baby Driver
Wonder Woman
Atomic Blonde
Wind River
Logan Lucky
Good Time

Previous Years:

Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Captain America

The Atlantic – "Why I'm Writing Captain America"

"Rogers’s transformation into Captain America is underwritten by the military. But, perhaps haunted by his own roots in powerlessness, he is a dissident just as likely to be feuding with his superiors in civilian and military governance as he is to be fighting with the supervillain Red Skull. Conspirators against him rank all the way up to the White House, causing Rogers to, at one point, reject the very title of Captain America. At the end of World War II, Captain America is frozen in ice and awakens in our time—and this, too, distances him from his country and its ideals. He is “a man out of time,” a walking emblem of greatest-generation propaganda brought to life in this splintered postmodern time. Thus, Captain America is not so much tied to America as it is, but to an America of the imagined past. In one famous scene, flattered by a treacherous general for his “loyalty,” Rogers—grasping the American flag—retorts, “I’m loyal to nothing, general … except the dream.”

I confess to having a conflicted history with this kind of proclamation—which is precisely why I am so excited to take on Captain America. I have my share of strong opinions about the world. But one reason that I chose the practice of opinion journalism—which is to say a mix of reporting and opinion—is because understanding how those opinions fit in with the perspectives of others has always been more interesting to me than repeatedly restating my own. Writing, for me, is about questions—not answers. And Captain America, the embodiment of a kind of Lincolnesque optimism, poses a direct question for me: Why would anyone believe in The Dream? What is exciting here is not some didactic act of putting my words in Captain America’s head, but attempting to put Captain America’s words in my head. What is exciting is the possibility of exploration, of avoiding the repetition of a voice I’ve tired of."

Lacoste “Save Our Species” for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Adweek – "Lacoste’s Iconic Crocodile Makes Room for 10 Endangered Species on Brand’s Polo Shirts"

"“Save Our Species” kicks off a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the IUCN. The campaign spotlights 10 endangered species that will individually appear in a series of limited-edition polo shirts."

"The number of shirts available for sale corresponds to the number of animals of each species that remain in the wild. A total of 1,775 shirts have been made; of them, you’ll find 30 Vaquitas (a type of porpoise) and 450 editions with the Anegada Rock Iguana."

"Each sale will go toward the preservation of its species."

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Obama Official Portraits

Business Insider – "Here are Barack and Michelle Obama's official portraits"
Washington Post – "‘Pretty sharp,’ says Obama of his presidential portrait"
New York Times – "Obama Portraits Blend Paint and Politics, and Fact and Fiction"

Karl-Anthony Towns’ Custom Sneakers

SB Nation – "Karl-Anthony Towns’ custom sneaker game is best in the entire NBA"

If They Build It Who Will Come?

Wall Street Journal – "The Halfpipe Was Set to Rule Winter Sports. Now It Is Dying"

"Only 13% of U.S. ski resorts last season had a halfpipe, the giant, open-face cylinder through which riders swoop and fly. That was down from 34% a decade ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Only 8% of ski areas last season had a superpipe, a halfpipe that’s Olympic sized or close to it.

An appetite for bigger and bolder tricks fueled a near doubling in size of Olympic halfpipes to 22 feet high from 11.5 feet at the event’s 1998 debut. Ski resorts upgraded to bigger halfpipes, which are pricier to build and maintain. But far fewer riders dare plunge down the larger pipes’ walls, so many resorts have stopped building a halfpipe altogether."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Roses are Red

Washington Post – "In rose beds, money blooms:How the rose trade lifted Colombia – and nearly erased an American industry"

"The majority of roses Americans give one another on Valentine’s Day, roughly 200 million in all, grow here, the savanna outside Bogota, summoned from the soil by 12 hours of natural sunlight, the 8,400-foot altitude and an abundance of cheap labor.

Thousands of acres of white-tarped greenhouses, some the size of several football fields, are crammed with seven-foot stems topped with rich red crowns. Many are pulled into warehouses by horses, chilled to sleep in refrigeration rooms, and then packed with other flowers onto planes — 1.1 million at a time — to be sold in the United States.

It’s peak season for a massive Colombian industry that shipped more than 4 billion flowers to the United States last year — or about a dozen for every U.S. resident."


"Walmart alone is purchasing 24 million Colombian roses to sell for Valentine’s Day. One of its senior associates, Deborah Zoellick, is so well known in Colombia and South Florida that her travels are closely tracked. That’s because any buying decision by the United States’ largest retailer can single-handedly change the flow of roses on two continents.

This year promised to be especially busy. Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, a boon for Colombian growers, as they believe Americans are more likely to splurge on midweek sales and still count on extra purchases on the weekend before and after."

Big Air Snowboarding

New York Times Magazine – "‘Big-Air Snowboarding’ to Make Its Big Olympic Debut"
By John Jeremiah Sullivan

"The history of snowboarding, or as it was known then, “snurfing” (i.e., snow-surfing), does not begin in Michigan in the 1960s with boards made by a guy named Sherman Poppen. It does not even begin, as revisionists will tell you, in Colorado in 1939, with a thing called the Bunker Sno-Surf. It happened a full year before, in 1938, in Yosemite National Park. A slight young man named Robert Trumbull, a Honolulu newspaper editor who wrote a weather column under the byline Sol Pluvius (Rainy Sun), was on vacation. Chicago-born, Trumbull had seen plenty of snow, and he had been surfing. That was the all-important crossing of the wires. “Yesterday Sol showed the natives a new trick,” reported The Honolulu Advertiser, “snow-surfing, or as Sol called it, ‘snurfing.’ ” He coined the word.

That may all be sports trivia, but it’s about to become important trivia, because soon, in this very winter of 2018 — 80 years after Trumbull’s breakthrough — will occur the Olympic debut of a sport known as “big-air snowboarding,” which is the snurfing equivalent of big-wave surfing. It is best described as the most beautiful, insane, stupid, dangerous, death-wishing, insane and beautiful sport ever perpetrated on innocent spectators."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Star Wars Movies Keep Coming

May 25, 2018
Written by Lawrence Kasdan, Jon Kasdan
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Ron Howard
Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton

Saturday, February 3, 2018

"The Start of the Long Eclipse"

New Yorker – "Football’s Long Eclipse"
By David Remnick

"The Super Bowl is the most popular annual event in American life."

"In the mid-fifties, the dominant sports in the United States were baseball, boxing, and horse racing. American life had not urbanized and accelerated to the point where the three hours of languid, pastoral play in a Tuesday-afternoon baseball game were deemed “slow.” Speaking one night at Delmonico’s, in 1889, Mark Twain referred to the sport as “the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century!” That lasted well into the twentieth, somehow. In the mid-fifties, everyone knew the name of the heavyweight champion, an exalted office, and columnists competed to find the apt gladiatorial metaphor to describe each bout. The Kentucky Derby was an event far bigger than the N.B.A. Finals. If you were Jimmy Cannon or Red Smith or any of the big columnists, you saw basketball as a banal game of “up and down,” played by curious overgrown gland cases; you preferred an afternoon at Churchill Downs, the grandstand redolent of bourbon, crushed mint, and horseshit."

"I don’t watch much football anymore—the N.B.A. playoffs are, for me at least, an infinitely greater pleasure—but, hypocritical as it is, it’s hard to deny the excitement or the beauty of the game when I do tune in. But the beauty is the beauty of a car crash in an action movie—only here there are no stuntmen, no C.G.I. As N.F.L. players often say, nearly every play feels like a car crash, a real one. Even after an “injury-free” game, players soak themselves in ice baths; they are, head to toe, an enormous contusion."