Graham Greene

Graham GreeneThis is going to be it until late at the best. I have to take my father to the hospital for a surgery and then help him after that. It’s a planned surgery, so it isn’t a big deal. But it will take up the day.

On this day in 1452, King Richard III was born. He was the last English king to actually die in battle, which I think makes him kind of cool. Why haven’t any died since him? Mostly because they were a bunch of weenies who didn’t fight in wars. Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight. He is also notable for inspiring one of Shakespeare’s best plays.

Slave rebellion leader Nat Turner was born in 1800. What I find interesting about the rebellion is that after it was all over, Turner and more than 50 other slaves were put to death (this is in addition to the 100 who were killed during the rebellion). But this shows what nonsense the idea is that the slave owners treated their slaves like the valuable property they were. And this is, by the way, a claim I read online all the time to this day. There is an amazing amount of slavery apologizing going on. It’s been 150 years since the end of slavery, and people are still trying to justify it at the same time they claim that African Americans should get get over it.

The great comedian Groucho Marx was born in 1890. He was the youngest of the three Marx Brothers that we all care about. And he isn’t favorite—that would be Chico. But he is very funny. Here is a great scene from Animal Crackers, “Of course in Alabama the tusks are looser!” That’s brilliant:

Other birthdays: comedian Bud Abbott (1895); science fiction writer Jack Finney (1911); actor George “Spanky” McFarland (1928);
“critic” Rex Reed (75); singer-songwriter Don McLean (68); singer-songwriter Richard Hell (64); photographer Annie Leibovitz (64); singer-songwriter Sting (62); and actor Tara Lynne Barr (20).

The day, however, belongs to the great writer Graham Greene who was born on this day in 1904. He was truly amazing and if I had more time, I would write a lot more. Instead, I’ll just leave you with this video I made:

Happy birthday Graham Greene!

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The Daily Show Does Shutdown Right

John StewartMonday night, The Daily Show presented a great segment on the government shutdown. Luckily, this clip cuts off the start where Jon Stewart provides a lame comedic apologia for why he allows Bill O’Reilly on the show. And of course, Bill O’Reilly got two broadcast segments where he did his “this is all just a character” act. It’s interesting to see how different O’Reilly acts when he is on his own show. So most of The Daily Show was a great big smooch to O’Reilly and a plug for what appears to be a terrible book, Killing Jesus.

But in this segment, there is no false equivalence—Stewart lays out exactly what the government shutdown is. He doesn’t fall for the conservative narrative that, “Oh, the Democrats just won’t negotiate with us!” It is great to see, because Stewart often falls for these kinds of narratives. And I’ll also note that many other people are falling for these narratives. Anyway, take a look: