Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

The lighter side of badass



The last thing you’ll learn from Gran Torino is that Clint Eastwood is not a good singer. But on your way to this less-than-stunning revelation you’ll learn many more pleasurable lessons. You’ll find out that even at the age of 78, Eastwood is still an uncompromising badass. You’ll also see that age has brought even deeper introspection and a good deal more humor than he typically puts on display.

Gran Torino is not a comedy. Yet for the majority of the movie I was laughing. The plot centers on a crotchety, stubborn, conservative racist whose good old white neighbors have all fled an incursion of Hmong immigrants. At the start, we see him as his children, grandchildren, and neighbors see him: as a bastard. But he quickly reveals that the old donkey is in fact quite smart, quick with a joke, and shockingly not petty—he befriends the teenager who tries to steal his beloved classic car. While many of the movie’s jokes are at the expense of Eastwood’s character, Walt, at least half feature him as the comedian. Continue reading


Playbill, May 2008

from the contributor page of Playboy Magazine, May 2008

This month’s Playboy Interview with Fareed Zakaria began at a New York restaurant. But long after that first meeting, Contributing Editor and author of Beautiful Boy David Sheff just couldn’t stop telephoning the razor-sharp Newsweek columnist and foreign-relations expert. “Zakaria makes really complicated issues understandable without dumbing them down,” says Sheff. “So much happens in the world every day that I could have kept calling him for updates until the day the interview went to press. In fact, I’d love to call him right now.”

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When to Hold ‘Em

from the afterhours section of Playboy Magazine, April 2008

How to Count Cards

It Isn’t Rocket Science, But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy

Dustin Hoffman counted cards to win at blackjack in Rain Man. Kevin Spacey and a gang of MIT whizzes will count cards in 21, a film based on Ben Mezrich’s book Bringing Down the House. But how exactly do you do it? Here’s an explanation from Semyon Dukach, who was president of one of the MIT blackjack teams that won millions from casinos in the 1990s and who today runs Blackjack Science seminars:

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The Hoover Cam

From the Playboy Blog, 1/31/07


Since 9/11 and the Patriot Act, everyday Americans can assume that their internet history, library records, and private conversations are making lively water cooler banter at the FBI building. We complain, but the Feds have been snooping into the private lives of celebrities for a whole lot longer. Recently declassified documents from the 1940s to 1970s show that J. Edgar Hoover had an intimate knowledge of the A-list’s doings. Very intimate.Among the FBI’s findings: Elvis Presley got some special “treatments” from a male dermatologist in the army, while Jimi Hendrix couldn’t stop practicing solo in his barracks. Comedy duo Abbott and Costello were porn addicts. Even our first centerfold, the unimpeachable Marilyn Monroe, may have had a sex tape stashed away. Read the full story on J. Edgar’s voyeurism here.