Courage is the Same Word in Two Languages – English and French.

Credit: Twitter/@thibaudcryl

Credit: Twitter/@thibaudcryl

When you hear people talk about courage recently, it’s likely they meant someone who was standing on principle, or about a vote their favorite politician made against the majority of his party. But it’s a whole other thing to say you would stand in the face of evil and do what’s right.

As I was writing this post, one of my favorite bloggers, Virginia attorney Aaron Walker, shared his take on the murders and some other, related things.

In it, he quoted an amended version of the Mission Statement for his now-defunct website centered on the social media event, ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.’ Walker mentions that Comedy Central hasn’t had the best track record on this issue:

Finally, South Park made a two part episode in which they took on the controversy and Comedy Central censored the image of Mohammed, explicitly citing the fear of violence.  And for their 200th and 201st episodes, the guys at South Park did it again, and under threat from a bunch of idiots called Revolution Islam, Comedy Central censored them again.They even censored a speech about the need for courage.

It’s simple enough to see that some media outlets, in the wake of brutal, disgusting murders at the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices, have printed the work the vile murderers claim they were killed for printing. Others have not.

You can find analysis in articles and tweets on the distinction between the two – those places in the media world which understand that there’s only one lesson to be learned from what happened around noon in Paris yesterday, and those who do not.

What’s the lesson? That we are the civilized, and those who seek to silence opinions they don’t like with terror and death are not.

The truth is that they don’t deserve our respect or any hint of an apology. They don’t gain any victory with this abomination against all religions – yes, even Islam.

It didn’t go unnoticed.

I caught in Adams’s article that AP also had used images of the “offensive” cartoons from other sources – and cropped or blurred the images to remove any parts showing Mohammed. Where was this AP today?

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online noticed another institution (in the entertainment realm, though) that once stood strong against the barbarism that radical Islam unleashed on innocents today.

A place that belongs on Adams’ first list – the list of places that seem to understand what I mean by civilized and uncivilized – is Ricochet. One of their writers was accidentally on the scene just minutes after the killings, and it’s worth reading in full (as is this piece by their Jon Gabriel).

No censoring pictures or coddling evil here:

But for me, the best example of courage today was someone rather unlikely: Corrine Ray, a cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo who survived the attacks by hiding herself and her young daughter under a desk. She happened to be the first staff member to encounter the terrorists. You’ve likely heard the story by now: Corrine punched in the security code which opened the doors and allowed the madmen to do their evil work.

In that moment, the mother, the parent, chose what many of us would have chosen, if placed in her shoes. Corrine chose the protection of a loved one, and – in this case – the next generation, over what would likely have been a foolhardy attempt at bravado to save her colleagues. Because her daughter would have grown up without a mother to nurture her, to hold her, to see her start a family of her own one day, perhaps.

What a choice to have to make in a split second. But what courage – in whichever language you speak.


The Radio Show You’re Not Listening to (But Should Be)

I admit that I’m writing this review of “The Jim & Mickey Show” for selfish reasons.

My friends are probably getting tired of hearing me talk about the show. So I figured: give people a short review and a shortcut to take a listen themselves (find a player with the most recent podcast below).

But why should they, or you, listen at all? Aren’t there already too many online radio programs now, which drone on about the same topics week in and week out? Sort of.


Image credit: Mickey White/Facebook


Image credit: Jim Geraghty/Facebook

“The Jim & Mickey Show,” a new, one hour show that sounds like it’s live but is really a podcast which comes out Fridays, is different. It’s not heavy on hard-boiled political strategy, griping about the Establishment or throwing red meat to the masses. It’s not even acidly sarcastic, which is easy enough to do.

If it’s anything, “Jim & Mickey” is good-natured and funny and sometimes goofy — many of the things that people on the right forget to be when they’re in front of a mic or looking into a camera lens. It’s also real.

Among the subjects they discuss on the most recent episodes: Nobel Peace Prize winners and TIME Person of the Year winners, Jim bringing up the NFL’s woes overshadowing the start of the new season’s action on the field, Mickey singing a line from They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” during Jim’s recounting of his experiences in Turkey, why stupid people are famous (Mickey thinks it’s our fault, but Jim doesn’t completely agree), with some nuggets of political stories of the day mixed in. While they’re discussing a high profile kidnapping case in the D.C. area, Mickey shares her thoughts on the U.S. drinking age and the wisdom of the buddy system.

If you’re unfamiliar with Jim Geraghty, he writes about politics at National Review Online, and has a new novel, The Weed Agency. And Mickey White has been a political and radio broadcasting stalwart for years.

There is another reason I’m writing this. Because there are so many shows vying for your attention, any newcomer needs a review. And that’s fitting, too, since “The Jim & Mickey Show” is itself a review show, with the hosts deconstructing the world much as Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert used to deconstruct movies on their long-running TV series “At the Movies.” There’s a depth and importance that thoughtful conversations like these have – conversations in which people aren’t agreeing 100% – which will be welcome as we pass the November mid-terms and into another presidential election cycle. More importantly, it’s the kind of conversation that’s just fun to listen to.

The things that Jim and Mickey talk about are, as the show tagline reads, “what you’re talking about.” But they don’t do it in a glib or superficial way. There’s more to any given topic than, “you should be interested because my opinion is so funny/racy/outrageous that you need to repeat it to your friends.” Something else is going on here. Take a listen. And try not to annoy your friends, telling them how great it is.


Weekend Arts Roundup & Potpourri- Sept. 13


So, there’s something new happening. I’m finding that I have stories I want to share, but they aren’t all about entertainment or the arts. This time, you’ll find some “potpourri” mixed in with the arts stories. And as always, let me know what you like and what you don’t. Thanks!

The stories:

Dazed: The film that made Bill Murray quit acting

“Bill is actually a very religious guy — educated at Loyola by the Jesuits, who are really kind of brutal about drumming it into your head,” Byrum told The Old Corner, a fansite dedicated to The Razor’s Edge, in 2003. “I think one of his main draws to this book was the religious theme.”

There’s a dead link in the source quote. Find the full interview with the film’s director and co-writer, John Byrum, here.

Paste: David Lynch-Directed Duran Duran Documentary to Screen in 300 Theaters

[Singer Simon] Le Bon continued, “The most surreal moment for me is when he intercuts footage of somebody barbecuing sausages into the song ‘Come Undone.’ Not what we had it mind, but it’s absolutely hilarious.”


Telegraph UK: How Isil doctored the image of Obama, making him appear haggard in videos

Daily BeastThis Charming Man: Meet ‘Ronnissey,’ Brooklyn’s Fake Morrissey

Pacific Standard: The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy

And not just (red) wine, either. A compelling and possibly important read, especially for anyone who abstains from alcohol.

NY Daily News: Mel Brooks leaves 11-finger handprints in cement ceremony outside Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre

Who else thinks this was long overdue?

Yahoo! News via Good Morning America: Minnesota Lottery Winner Going Back to Waiting Tables

Remarkable. The family won 11.4 million… and in case you’re wondering, that lottery pays the state & local taxes on it.

FTR Radio Podcast: “The Dark Side”: Kira Davis returns from hiatus, and talks about her son beginning homeschooling for the first time this school year and other topics: September 9, 2014

Top image credit: Sony Movie Channel


Weekly Arts Roundup – Sept. 4


Paul Mazursky, right, directs Robin Williams (Vladimir Ivanoff) and Cleavant Derricks (Lionel Witherspoon) on the set of “Moscow on the Hudson” in 1984.

The stories:

Paste: Prince Releases Two Songs Ahead of New Albums

For Warner Brothers, no less…

Prince returned to Warner Bros. in April, after a bitter split with the company 18 years ago. Appeased by a deal that gave him the rights to his catalog as well as the promise of a 20th anniversary re-release of Purple Rain, Prince has wasted no time supplying new material to his old label.

Stereogum: Brandon Flowers [The Killers] Is Recording A Solo Album With Ariel Rechtshaid

 NME reports that Ariel Rechtshaid, who had a hand in [Danielle] Haim’s Days Are Gone as well as other amazing 2013 releases by Vampire Weekend, Sky Ferreira, and Charli XCX, is working with Flowers on a solo record for release next year….

Flowers had this to say about working with Rechtshaid: “He’s taking me out of my comfort zone. Normally I make demos and they’re pretty similar to how the song ends up. but he’ll take a song and be like, ’I hear this.’

Unfortunately, you can’t find those nekkid Jennifer Lawrence pics at Blackmailers Don’t Shoot… but Gene has other goodies on display. Check it out!

You can watch the original ‘Ghostbusters’ on the big screen!

via Fandango:

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, the original 1984 film has been restored and remastered in 4K and will be returning to the big screen, in the United States and Canada, for a limited engagement starting August 29 (Labor Day weekend).

EDIT: Read Kira Davis’ essential tribute to the late Joan Rivers. RIP!

Somehow I missed this obituary, while the blog was on hiatus (emphasis mine):

LA Times: Paul Mazursky dies at 84; director chronicled trends of ’60s and ’70s

After the disappointments of “Willie and Phil” (1980) and “Tempest” (1982), his next hit was “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984), which showcased Robin Williams as a Russian musician who defects in the middle of a Bloomingdale’s department store.

“Down and Out in Beverly Hills” (1986) was Mazursky’s greatest commercial success. A farce inspired by the 1932 Jean Renoir film “Boudou Saved From Drowning,” it concerns a wealthy couple (Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss) who live in a mansion with a dog that has its own psychiatrist. Their posh life is disrupted by a homeless man (Nick Nolte) who tries to drown himself in their pool. Sympathizing with his plight, the couple invite him to move in.

The purpose of the film was “to reflect on the absurdity of having it all and still having nothing,” Mazursky told the Chicago Tribune in 1986.

Read the whole thing.

I’m a huge fan of ‘Down and Out in Beverly Hills,’ which I saw in the theater and still remember the crowd reaction: continuous, rapturous laughter. You sometimes missed lines, because the audience was still laughing. Another film I love by Mazursky is ‘Tempest,’ his modern take on Shakespeare’s story. It marked the film debut of a young Molly Ringwald, and also included John Cassavetes, Susan Sarandon, and Raul Julia.

There’s a great YouTube interview from 2011 with the director here, covering his entire career.


The Wrap: Paul Mazursky in His Own Words: Director Rates His Movies in Vintage Interview


Image credit: LA Times/Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images



Labor Day Weekend Arts Capsule – August 31

TV films of the weekIt’s not you, baby, it’s me. Here’s your new Weekend Arts capsule. Say you’re not mad

NY Daily News: Sheila E. confirms engagement to Prince, describes niece Nicole Richie’s adoption in new memoir 

NYT: At DuArt, Thousands of Unclaimed Films

You may not have heard Howard Stern’s ‘Robin Williams’ story from August 18. Worth a listen.

I got Netflix about a week ago (no cable since the move west), so will be catching up on movie watching. Soon, I’ll have a review of a recent film I watched. I’m also planning on watching more documentaries, which I’ll write about in a future post.

While we’re on the subject… via Paste: A handy list of movies leaving Netflix’s library starting September 1st.

The Wrap: Martin Scorsese Planning to Direct Movie About The Ramones

This isn’t his next project, but the article hints (subtly) that it may be released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut record (2016).

Billboard: Album Sales Hit A New Low
That’s it. Record executives are finally admitting that streaming is the death knell of the mega-hit album.

So, this seems like a creative project worthy of support: A photographer is compiling a book, Art Desks, which captures images of artists and other creatives at work, which includes the state of their desks and apparently some of their cats as well:

Just an aside- my fave title of the participants: ‘Director of Identity and Outreach, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’. How cool is that, seriously?

Make sure to stay tuned for my next post — Lowering the Boom turns 2-years-old! In case you missed my last post, here’s a preview of the new Interpol album. See you…

Related: At the Movies with Siskel & Ebert review, ‘Ghostbusters’

Popcorn graphic, image credit: Mirror UK


First New Album From Interpol in 4 Years — Free Streaming


Image credit: The Guardian UK

Now a three-piece, and after a four-year hiatus, New York’s Interpol return in early September with a new album ‘El Pintor’ (and something of a sunnier demeanor. See the Guardian UK interview below).

Earlier this summer, two of the new songs acted as a teaser for the full album. Now the whole thing is streaming for free (courtesy of NPR).

Take a listen!

If you just want one of the teaser tracks, here’s the video for the album opener, “All the Rage Back Home.”

H/T Stereogum

Related: The Guardian UK: Interpol on supermodels, surfing and (not) hanging out with the Strokes


Video: Flashback,1991: Siskel & Ebert ‘Review’ a Film Parody Made By Howard Stern

After watching a YouTube of a “Siskel & Ebert” review for ‘Murphy’s Romance,’ a James Garner/Sally Fields film I remembered fondly, I spent a few hours over the weekend watching old episodes of “Siskel & Ebert.”

Then I came across this bizarre mismatch of an interview: both Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel appeared on Howard Stern’s Channel 9 tv show, along with sidekick Robin Quivers, in 1991. Howard and his gang had made a parody short film based on the Robin Williams/Robert DeNiro movie ‘Awakenings,’ and asked the vaunted reviewers for their honest opinion.

There’s a version of the full interview in one video here.


Memorial Day Weekend Arts Roundup


Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper, in ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’ (1992)

My apologies for being away so long… enjoy the stories:

Slate: The “Missing Pieces” From Twin Peaks Are Finally Seeing the Light

The Camp of the Saints’ Bob Belvedere says “Arrivederci, Amico Mio, Genari” to singer Jerry Vale.

Let’s meander out to the left coast, look at some entertainment biz news and check in with our friend Gene…

THR: Coen Brothers to Write Steven Spielberg’s KGB Movie for Tom Hanks (Exclusive)

Mashable: MTV Video Music Awards Returning to California After Only 1 Year in NYC

Blackmailers Don’t Shoot: Emilia Clarke Unleashes Dragons on Hollywood Boulevard

Bloggers Corner:

Jimmie Bise writing at Rock Star, Ninja, or Guru: Which One Are You?

Anyone who would like to support the “moving to the southwest fund” may do so through the tip jar. This is the area where I’ll be living. So cool!

Thanks for all of your encouragement and prayers. They have made a difference in my life! Until next weekend… some great rock music to inspire you:



Why I’m Moving to the Valley of the Sun Over the Summer

PhoenixTreeBack in April, Bloomberg‘s BusinessWeek published a neat, little article titled “Austin or Bust: America’s Biggest Cities Lose People to the Urban B-List.” It has all the charts and graphs you might expect in this kind of economy-centric periodical and on this kind of topic. In this case, ‘b-list’ isn’t some sort of slam against the places listed: they are more like the diva’s understudy waiting for the spotlight than one of Cinderella’s undeserving step sisters.

I don’t really understand what all of the data points mean, or what the graphs portend. (Maybe someone could VoxSplain it all to me?) It might surprise you to learn that- in droves- people are shedding the cities with the highest cost for the homes desirable to middle-income earners. Or maybe it won’t. This statistic, I think, is a positive thing. What it means is Americans are still scrapping and clawing, even in this dismal economy, to achieve the epitome of the American dream, home ownership. Increasingly, they’re finding it, not in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but in smaller cities like Nashville, Tennessee, Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas.

“But it’s hot….”

About thirty days from now, I’ll be moving back west, not to Las Vegas, where I spent most of the 2000s (did we ever settle on what to call that decade?), but to its sister to the south, Phoenix. I know Phoenix has the same soul-stealing heat, gorgeous red rock scenery, and other things you’ll find in or around Sin City. There are things that Bugsy Siegel’s ‘Paradise’ doesn’t have over the Valley of the Sun that appeal to me. For instance, baseball. The Cactus League is home to many major league spring training camps, including that of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last year, the league set an all-time attendance record as over 1.7 million happy fans crowded the stadiums that dot the landscape. I hear rumors that Arizona has other professional sports teams, too, which of course we don’t have in Cincinnati.We only have the Bengals.

Phoenix has museums and zoos and lots and lots of other stuff to keep you cool indoors. And besides the blistering summer months, the rest of the calendar is mild and pleasant. When I think of Phoenix, I think of an willowy,aproned Flo and “Mel’s Diner.” I wonder if sassy waitresses there ever say,”Kiss my grits”?

Often, whenever you tell someone you used to live in Vegas, people will give you an incredulous look, and say something like, “But it’s so hot there. How did you stand it?”

“No, really. It’s hot!”

I’ll tell you how you stand the heat. You become like a wily lizard. You plan ahead and seek out the way. Any shade — tree leaves, awnings, an extremely tall person — will do. You also plan your most active part of the day when it’s coolest: in the early mornings or the late evenings. You find your occupation someplace indoors, in the merciful splendor of air conditioned modernity.Then you make sure to have access to an outdoor swimming pool, where you reside in comfort once the sun goes down.

Now, you might cotton to the line of thinking found in this Salon article: “Say goodbye to Phoenix — and the American West,” they say, because climate change is making all of the water dry up. I’ll leave that for the pundits and the scientists to duke it out. Because I’m going…

“But why leave Cincinnati? What’s wrong with it?”

There’s nothing wrong with Cincinnati, necessarily. Well, there is the fact that the state itself is trending toward stagnation and liberalism, rife with aging dinosaurs looking to lead the state Republican party ever onward to more compromises with a growing, progressive left. Our governor, the “compassionate conservative” John Kasich, decided that it would be “the right thing to do” to cut a deal with the Obama Administration on expanding Medicaid, over the will of the people of Ohio and her elected majority GOP legislature. We have a Speaker of the House (yes, I live in John Boehner’s district) who waffles and weaves… and sobs his way to overwhelming election wins, every two years. Really, the less said about him, the better, don’t you think?

Beyond all that, Cincinnati is a lovely city. I’m going to miss United Dairy Farmers and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest on Fountain Square (Check The Guinness Book of World Records- it’s in there!); Reds Opening Day and Skyline Chili. And the reason I’m leaving contains the reason it’s so appealing to others: it’s not going to change all that much, no matter how long I’m away. More than likely, all of these great things will be here– when I come back and visit.


Weekend Arts Capsule- 3/31/14

A slightly-short Capsule today.

Our friends at share a great visual story :Bill Murray rocking some… unique golf duds!

The stories:
Los Angeles Times:
Nicolas Cage’s Christian drama ‘Left Behind’ to get October release

Hat tip Gene

Daily Mail UK: EXCLUSIVE: ‘It took the world’s biggest movie star to play my sister’: Steel Magnolias writer on the REAL story behind the Hollywood hit

It is the image of a small, blonde-haired all-American boy beaming in the Easter sunshine that flashes up at the end of Hollywood classic Steel Magnolias – and stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

As writer Robert Harling explains, many new fans will not even know that the movie is rooted in truth and that boy is, in fact, based on his real-life nephew and namesake.

Softly spoken and with a Southern accent that still hints at his Louisiana upbringing, Robert Harling wrote the play Steel Magnolias shortly after the death of his beloved sister Susan Robinson aged just 33 in 1985.

Read more.

Daily Mail UK: Salma Hayek says she would ‘kill for a role in Downton Abbey’ but as a Mexican would have to ‘play deaf and dumb’ in the show

Reuters: Sale of rare Stradivari viola could set world auction record

Hat tip Conservative Animal
Tina Fey Hit With Workers’ Comp Judgment

“New York State officials say comedian owes $79,000 tab”

AP: Social painting grows popular at bars, art studios

The new LinkFest is now available from Blackmailers Don’t Shoot… so, yeah, girls and stuff.

Guess what? Not only is the 8 hour sleep rule a myth, but it’s not for the reason you might think. (emphasis mine)

via Psychology Today:

Yet, the insistence that “monophasic” sleep, with eight hours of continuous nightly rest, is the necessary way to refresh ourselves not only creates stress for people who are unable to achieve that goal, but ignores other common variations in sleep patterns, and historical precedent as well….

History yields valuable insights regarding sleep. According to some recent research, until the age of electricity many people slept in two segments. They would wake up in the night for an hour or two, then return to sleep for another block of time. “The dominant pattern of sleep, arguably since time immemorial, was biphasic,” says Roger Ekirch, a sleep historian at Virginia Tech University and author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. “Humans slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time, some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams or talk with their spouses. Others might get up and do tasks or even visit neighbors before going back to sleep.”

References to “first sleep” or “deep sleep,” and “second sleep” or “morning sleep” abound in historical legal depositions, works of literature, and other pre-Industrial era archival documents. Gradually, during the 19th century, references to segmented sleep disappeared, Ekirch says, “and now people call it insomnia.”

Read the whole thing.

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is tomorrow. So you might want to check into this.
Hat tip Jay Caruso

As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I probably enjoy this tweet more than I should:

[Edit: I had to add this.]

Did you notice that there’s a new news portal, No matter where you stand politically, you will find the whole picture on the news there. Take a look.

That’s all for now. If you’ve liked some of what you’ve read here, and you have a few bucks, please show your support. Even if you can’t, thanks for the encouragement! It matters.

Tim Booth (formerly of James) & Angelo Badalamenti (Best known for his soundtrack work with David Lynch) —




Weekly Arts Roundup- 3/27/14

Weekend Arts Capsule – Babooshka- 3/22/14

Weekly Arts Roundup- 3/19/14

Weekly Arts Roundup- 3/13/14