Sunday, October 30, 2005
Even though these aborted strips about her nomination will never appear in your local paper, they have been collected here, and they're very much in keeping with Trudeau's calm-yet-angry style of satire. Seriously, future generations will look back at our current president and wonder what the hell we were thinking. To which we will respond, "Hey, I never voted for him."
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Bill Watterson's adventurous boy and pet tiger are back, sorta. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes is an exhaustive collection of every panel that ever appeared during the strip's 10-year run. Charles Solomon's loving appreciation encapsulates what made it all so special, concluding with these great closing lines ...
In the final Sunday strip, Calvin looks at the newly fallen snow and declares, "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy...." But since Calvin and Hobbes left the comics page, readers have had to find that magic somewhere else.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Obviously, being a fan of the sport makes a huge difference, but anyone with a taste for lively writing can appreciate Zimmerman's talent for intelligent observations and his disinterest in acting superior to the guys who just love the hard hits and endzone dances.
What Zimmerman brings to football is what the great art critics bring to their respective mediums. He captures his particular milieu perfectly. He creates language and point of view where other people gloss over and take for granted. His interest sparks your own interest, reinvigorates your enthusiasm. He leaves no doubt that he knows exactly what he's talking about.
And he does it with very little flash. Like Peter Gammons for baseball, Zimmerman has managed to maintain his dignity and brains in a sports world where the broadcasters and journalists are as self-promoting as the jocks they cover. What has sustained Z's survival in these treacherous waters is his self-possessed cool, which made him acceptable to the SportsCenter adrenaline junkies. He's that rare old dude the kids respect.
Every week during the season, Dr. Z does his Power Rankings of the 32 teams in the league. These are tiny little delights, a mixture of humor and insight and personal asides. Beyond the simple enjoyment of his analysis, each column provides a small, casual glimpse of the man's private life and inner workings.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
You can start anywhere on his exhaustive website to get fresh insights into artists he loves (Randy Newman, Steely Dan) and even the ones he hates (Radiohead). Here's a piece I've been enjoying lately, a glowing appreciation of Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. Written in 1976, but it feels like it was published yesterday.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Charles McNulty, who will soon be the theater critic for the Los Angeles Times, manages to go against the grain in his appreciation of playwright August Wilson, who died October 2. By offering a balanced perspective on Wilson's work, McNulty proves that praise is more meaningful when it's set against honest critical perspective. It's an impressive feat; hopefully Wilson would approve.
UPDATE (Sept. 1, 2008): For whatever reason, this post continues to attract a lot of attention to my blog. Sadly, the original piece about August Wilson has been removed from the Los Angeles Times site. Also sadly, since I first published this post I've had firsthand experience in writing appreciations, one for Edward Yang, another for Ed Guthman.