In recent years, the influx of red-winged blackbirds to our area has prompted some non-official but civic-minded soul to post signs along the heavily used lakefront sidewalk. The birds defend their nests aggressively, and joggers and pedestrians were getting head-pecked. They nest near our lake cottage, and I know they prefer a water view, preferably a swamp, so I wasn’t thinking about head protection when I rode my bicycle down Mack Avenue, a business strip about a mile from any water, or even a backyard water fountain.
Fortunately, I was wearing some anyway. It’s a strange feeling, a bird attack — the bonk isn’t much, especially through a styrofoam-lined plastic hat — but the accompanying aggression call and the wings flapping so close to your eyes summon up a deep lizard-brain response. I’ve known two people in my life who have an unreasonable fear of birds, and for the first time, I understand why. The little fuckers are what’s left of dinosaurs, after all.
If you have red-winged blackbirds in your neighborhood, beware. They don’t play.
So. I recently bookmarked the Daily Beast. Again. In my old age, I’m becoming very stingy with bookmarks, and if your site doesn’t deliver, I’m totally out of there. But they keep hiring good people, and occasionally publishing something worth reading, and I keep thinking they’re worth a daily visit, and then, today, I read something like this:
Headline: Clooney Breakup’s Red Flags. Subhed: Fans thought she’d get him to the altar, but Barbie Nadeau says the flameout of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor and his showgirl squeeze started months ago.
Really? Fans thought that? I’m a George Clooney fan, and how well I recall those days of …sometime in the last couple of years, when I would call my fellow Clooneyheads and say, “You know, I think this is the One. I think she’ll get him to the altar.” And we were so astounded when they broke up that I’m now going to read this piece, in the authoritative voice of Barbie Nadeau, who was scanning the heavens for warning signs of this flameout. She saw it coming months ago. And so:
The 50-year-old graying stallion announced that he and his 32-year-old Italian showgirl have called their fairytale romance quits.
One sentence — not even a compound one — and three clichés/tropes. A graying stallion, a showgirl, and a fairytale romance. I can’t count the times I read Kate bedtime stories about middle-aged actors, Italian beauties of indeterminate careers and how they fell in love for a year or so.
Sad as it may be, it’s fair to say that “Cloonalis” was probably doomed from the start.
I’m totally sad about Cloonalis.
Since they first fell into each others’ arms in 2009, there’s been much speculation that perhaps Canalis was the siren who could finally wrestle America’s most eligible bachelor to the altar. The two seemed inseparable, and Clooney had passed several coupledom milestones with Canalis, like vacationing with her parents and bonding with her girlfriends. They had been effectively joined at the hip from the beaches of Mexico to the red carpets of the Kodak Theater for two full years. He stood by her side when she was questioned about her role in a prostitution ring in Milan, and she accompanied him to the Emmys when he won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
I love these details, presented with a straight face. He stood by her side when she was questioned about her role in a prostitution ring. I remember when Alan and I passed that coupledom milestone, too.
But it doesn’t take more than a glance through the recent tabloids to see a number of red flags foreshadowing this breakup.
Oh, do we really need to do this? The Daily Beast, deleted.
Which seems as good a time as any to skip to the bloggage. First, a twofer from two of our favorite WashPost writers, not necessarily in the WashPost. Gene Weingarten’s reply to a journalism grad student who asked him how he’d built his personal brand over the years:
The best way to build a brand is to take a three-foot length of malleable iron and get one end red-hot. Then, apply it vigorously to the buttocks of the instructor who gave you this question. You want a nice, meaty sizzle.
She’ll get an A on her project and probably miss the point entirely.
Hank Stuever in the Stranger, the Seattle alt-weekly, for its annual Pride Week-pegged gay issue. The theme — You’re doing it wrong — inspired his essay on “Glee,” which says everything that needs to be said:
If Glee was in touch with the reality of being gay—which can have its dark side—it would make the cruelly honest decision to switch off the Auto-Tune and razzle-dazzle and show a bunch of kids in a choir room singing badly but believing they’re great.
I didn’t hate this show immediately, but I soured early on, although I stuck through season one. (If nothing else, Rachel Berry’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was worth the trip.) I gather that in season two, it devolved into Very Special Episode territory almost immediately, which might mark a new record in the trip from smart-and-hip to dumb-and-predictable. Kate’s 8th-grade choir did “Don’t Stop Believin'” for their spring concert this year, which makes the circle complete — now “Glee” influences show choirs, instead of the other way around. (The crowd started to cheer when they heard the now-familiar choir arrangement, which made me want to stab everyone in the throat.) Anyway, worth a read.
Newspaper columnists like to write personal essays they think readers will find warm and funny, but they should all just give it up, because they’ll never be as good as the best personal essay-writin’ bloggers. That is all. EDIT: For some reason, this link isn’t working at the moment. Hope for a revival when their server comes back up — or whatever the problem is, gets fixed.
And that is all. Happy weekend. I’m off to see Matt & Kim tonight at the Majestic.