Back from my vacation and feeling refreshed! Here are some of the most interesting links I’ve seen the past two weeks:
On Slate, Tom Scocca writes that when gun nuts write gun laws, nuts have guns:
Yet today, LaPierre got up and described the gun lobby’s vision of our future: “A police officer in every single school.” “Armed security … building design … access control … information technology.” “An active national database of the mentally ill.”
This is the NRA’s idea of a free country. Kindergarteners on lockdown. Federal monitoring of everyone’s mental-health status. Cops in every hallway.
The experts and counterexperts can and will keep arguing about the local and regional crime-rate effects under our ever-expanding concealed-carry and open-carry laws. One trend line, though, seems obvious: The Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment have been moving in opposite directions. The NRA has racked up legislative triumph after legislative triumph, extending gun rights into airports, bars, churches, and schools. Yet rather than deferring to the armed public, the police have grown ever more militarized, ever less concerned with warrants, ever more willing to respond to disorderliness with overwhelming force. The government is collecting your email and tracking your phone. Drones are flying police missions in American skies. More than 2 million people are incarcerated.
None of that came up in LaPierre’s discussion today, though he had time to denounce video games and the media. An ugly, violent, oppressive world is the world he wants. It’s the world that gun culture thrives in. The only liberty that matters to these people is the liberty to kill.
In NY Times Magazine, Jonah Weiner profiles Jerry Seinfeld:
For Seinfeld, whose worth Forbes estimated in 2010 to be $800 million, his touring regimen is a function not of financial necessity but rather of borderline monomania — a creative itch he can’t scratch. “I like money,” he says, “but it’s never been about the money.” Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so. “It’s similar to calligraphy or samurai,” he says. “I want to make cricket cages. You know those Japanese cricket cages? Tiny, with the doors? That’s it for me: solitude and precision, refining a tiny thing for the sake of it.”
When he can’t tinker, he grows anxious. “If I don’t do a set in two weeks, I feel it,” he said. “I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, Why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don’t I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”
In Vanity Fair, Ned Zeman puts together an oral history of Blues Brothers:
Everything revolves around Belushi, the most electric and popular comic actor of his time. It would be inaccurate to blame all the movie’s problems on Belushi. He isn’t responsible for the late-developing script or the unwieldy action sequences. It would be even more inaccurate to say Belushi isn’t responsible. He has become a blessed wreck, thanks mostly to his spiraling (and ultimately lethal) addiction to cocaine.
On days when coke gets the best of Belushi, production stalls. And when production stalls, money burns. And when money burns, Lew Wasserman burns.
It begins, as these things do, in a dark bar. The time is November 1973. The bar, a speakeasy called the 505 Club, is in Toronto and owned by Aykroyd, a bizarro 20-year-old with webbed toes, mismatched eyes—one green, one brown—and a checkered past as a two-bit hoodlum and a seminary student.
The club opens at one A.M. because Aykroyd works nights. For the past three years, he has been performing with Second City, the famed comedy troupe based in Chicago but also flourishing in Toronto.
Aykroyd is at the 505, unwinding after a show, when a bullish 24-year-old charges through the back door. This is Belushi, wearing a white scarf, a leather jacket, and a five-point driver’s cap of the sort worn by aging cabbies. Aykroyd wonders whether his guest had somehow mistaken himself for Lee J. Cobb.
The two had met earlier in the evening, backstage at Second City. “We had heard of each other,” Aykroyd recalls. “We took one look at each other. It was love at first sight.”
- Twitter to offer users a download with all their tweets in a single file [Guardian]
- People have watched 1.2 million years of porn since 2006…on just two web sites! [Animal New York]
- Kurt Vonnegut’s daily routine [Brain Pickings]
- 13 real, not made-up things about Hulk Hogan’s new restaurant [SB Nation]
- Introducing boobypack: a fannypack for your boobs [Jezebel]
- Some well-deserved hate for Wheel of Fortune [Uproxx]
- Who’s the hot girl in that commercial? [Tumblr]
- Back to the Future Lego set [Gizmodo]
Bacon cheeseburger on marble rye @ Meatheads (Chicago)
Chili cheese fry pizza @ Dimo’s (Chicago)