Sunday Reads: They’re real, and they’re spectacular…

seinfeld600-1404318606Good Morning

Twenty-five years…in the real world, they probably would begin to sag by now.

See, yesterday was a special day for those of us who are Seinfeld fans. It was the 25th Anniversary of the first time the show was on the air. Yup, July 5th 1989, started it all.

As you will see at the end of the post, I have a shitload of links for you from around the world celebrating the four misfits of a show about “nothing” that really connected to people and became part of the popular culture throughout the world…in more ways than anything else on “TV” before or since.

As this quote from Rolling Stone states:

Seinfeld‘s pilot episode aired 25 years ago, on July 5th, 1989, yet it continues to be the most influential sitcom in TV history — not only for changing how we watched television and rewriting the playbook for every comedy that followed it, but also how this “show about nothing” expanded our vocabulary.

Nearly every episode of Seinfeld contains one word or phrase that we still weave into our day-to-day interactions…..the show left a lasting mark on our lexicon.

Its true, not a day goes by that I don’t use a Seinfeldisms in my conversations. I still see many references to the show on commercials till this day.  I love that damn show.

Anyway, let’s just start the post alright? But, as you will see…this is another link dump, and one of massive proportions. (Things are still far from “back to normal” here in Banjoville.)

Cannonfire-Burned Alive

This is a remarkable day: The mainstream media has actually noticed an atrocity perpetrated by Israelis against Palestinians. Teenaged boy Mohammed Abu Khedair, mentioned in our previous post, was burned alive, a fact ascertained by the traces of smoke in his lungs. CNN took note, as did The Guardian and The Jerusalem Post.

If you visit The Jerusalem Post site, you’ll find a predictable response:

The use of agent provocateurs has been a central component of Arab disinformation and propaganda for decades now. This has all the hallmarks of an operation that was mounted specifically to negate international anti-Muslim animosity following the discovery of the three murdered Jewish boys. It allows the anti-Semites to retreat back to their standard anti-Israel position.

Actually, it has been established that right-wing Jewish zealots were responsible for what happened to Mohammed Abu Khedair. The source for that report is Ha’aretz, not normally considered an anti-Semitic journal.

Moreover, it turns out that Mohammed’s 15 year old cousin Tariq Khdeir — a gentle youth who was also kidnapped and beaten nearly to death — is an American citizen visiting family in the area.

Video at the link.

Turns out the American boy that was beaten up is from Tampa: Tampa teen Tariq Khdeir beaten, jailed in Jerusalem

From Juan Cole’s site: Can Palestinians ever Get a Break in the American Press? | Informed Comment

By: Yazan al-Saadi

As tragedy and uninterrupted terror strikes the besieged Palestinian population once more, Western media outlets have been busy producing and presenting articles and television reports on the events taking place. These “news reports” – for the lack of a better terminology – are presented as factual and true, objective and neutral, unblemished by personal, emotional, political, or historical bias.

Snowden is in the news again: New Snowden leak: Of 160,000 intercepted messages, only 10% from offical targets | Ars Technica

Late Saturday night, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a report related to a trove of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The documents included 160,000 e-mail and instant-message conversations intercepted by the NSA, as well as 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. The Washington Post says that the information spans from 2009 to 2012.

In the Post‘s analysis, “nearly half” of the files contained details that the NSA had marked as belonging to US citizens or residents, which the agency masked, or “minimized,” to protect those citizens’ privacy. Still, despite the 65,000 minimized references to Americans that the Post found in the cache, 900 additional e-mail addreses were found unmasked “that could be strongly linked to US citizens or US residents.”

This is disturbing, about the city water in Detroit: Water : Lawyers, Guns & Money


And from the Vatican: Pope Francis calls destruction of nature a modern sin | Al Jazeera America

A look at population and “polarization” in the US by Digby: Hullabaloo

Another link from Hullabaloo, this one is written by Dennis Hartley. It is a review of the movie Life Itself:

Saturday Night at the Movies

Out there, in the dark: Life Itself

When the long-running TV program At the Movies quietly packed its bags and closed the balcony for good back in 2010, I did a piece about the profound impact that the show had on me in its various incarnations over the years; first as a film buff and later on as a critic:

Back in the late 70s, I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska. This was not the ideal environment for an obsessive movie buff. At the time, there were only two single-screen movie theaters in town. And keep in mind, there was no cable service in the market, and the video stores were a still a few years down the road as well…Consequently, due to the lack of venues, I was reading more about movies, than actually watching them. I remember poring over back issues of The New Yorker at the public library, soaking up Penelope Gilliat and Pauline Kael, and thinking they had a pretty cool gig; but it seemed like it was requisite to actually live in NYC (or L.A.) to be taken seriously as a film critic (most of the films they reviewed didn’t make it out to the sticks)…Then, in 1978, our local PBS affiliate began carrying a bi-weekly 30-minute program called Sneak Previews. Now here was something kind of interesting; a couple of guys (kind of scruffy lookin’) casually bantering about current films-who actually seemed to know their shit. You might even think they were professional movie critics…In fact, they were professional rivals; Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel wrote for competing Chicago dailies… This underlying tension between the pair was always bubbling just under the surface, but imbued the show with an interesting dynamic…One thing these two did share was an obvious and genuine love and respect for the art of cinema; and long before the advent of the internet, I think they were instrumental in razing the ivory towers and demystifying the art of film criticism (especially for culturally starved yahoos like me, living on the frozen tundra).

After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert kept the show going whilst essentially auditioning an interestingly diverse roster of guest critics for several months, with fellow Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Richard Roeper eventually winning the permanent seat across the aisle. Ebert remained a stalwart fixture until 2006, when treatment for his thyroid cancer began. Of course, Roger Ebert’s life journey didn’t end there, just as it had already taken many twists and turns before his fame as a TV personality. In fact, it is these bookends that provide the most compelling elements in Life Itself, a moving, compassionate and surprisingly frank portrait from acclaimed documentarian Steve James (Hoop Dreams).


Read the rest at the link.

Variety is up next, with a write-up on John Oliver’s new gig at HBO. How John Oliver and HBO Shattered TV’s Comedy-News Format | Variety

Get this:

Brevity, so it has been said, is the soul of wit. John Oliver seems to believe the opposite is equally true.

The comedian has been letting loose on his new HBO program “Last Week Tonight,” unveiling segments that can last anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes and often pack as much research as a front-page story you might see from a traditional outlet like a newspaper (when front-page stories carried more weight in the modern news cycle). Last Sunday, Oliver presented a nearly 20-minute treatise on the plight of gay, lesbian and transgender citizens of Uganda, raising the notion that evangelicals from America may have played an instrumental role in harsh new treatment being doled out by that nation’s government.


… Oliver and his staff are shaking up the genre anew, providing a sort of investigative journalism that is not seen in any of the other comedy-news hybrids on the air.


Yet “Last Week Tonight” defies nearly all current norms. The show surrounds soundbites with exposition, rather than letting video stand as the sole element of a segment. It trusts the attention span of its audience, believing a viewership constantly distracted by smartphones and mobile alerts will hang in there for the duration of a story, so long as it is compelling and informative. And it believes people will keep watching even if they might walk away feeling uneasy or unsettled by the issues presented each week despite the many jokes and laughs that are also delivered.

In an era during which even the most celebrated newsmagazines have taken to relying on soft celebrity interviews and tales of heinous murders, many could learn something from “Last Week Tonight.” The program is drawing people in with the promise of laughter, but sending them back out to the world with an unexpected element: knowledge.

I don’t get HBO but the show does have a youtube channel you can watch segments at:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – YouTube

One last link before we get to the massive Seinfeld dump: Marlene Dietrich and The Beatles! «

Some cool pictures there eh?

Now the big fun stuff!

Feel free to double dip as much as you like, you are master of your domain here:

Seinfeld 25th Anniversary :

The Top 10 Seinfeld Episodes – IGN

‘Seinfeld’ at 25: Nothing means everything –

‘Seinfeld’ debuted 25 years ago, yada yada yada, it remains a cultural giant – The Washington Post

Seinfeld 25th anniversary: 25 life lessons from Jerry, George, Elaine, Kramer and the sitcom’s best characters – Mirror Online

Seinfeld at 25: There’s Still Nothing Else Like It | TIME

12 Times a day using a Seinfeld quote makes total sense

‘Seinfeld’ 25th anniversary: Watch best moments

‘Seinfeld’ 25th anniversary: The 10 best episodes | TV | Entertainment | Toronto Sun

The Ultimate Seinfeld Quiz | Test your knowledge | TV | Entertainment | Toronto Sun

You Don’t Know ‘Seinfeld’: 25 Facts About the Legendary Sitcom – The Moviefone Blog

Seinfeld at 25: The show’s best quotes – Features – TV & Radio – The Independent

Twenty of the best sports moments on ‘Seinfeld’ | FOX Sports on MSN

Yankees, Not Mets, Were Masters of Seinfeld’s Domain – WSJ

Vulture Superfan Quiz: Test Your Seinfeld I.Q. — Vulture

The 25 best ‘Seinfeld’-isms |

How Classic Seinfeld Episodes Were Written — Vulture

‘Seinfeld’ 25th Anniversary: 39 Surprising Celebrity Guest Stars Before They Were Famous [PHOTOS]

Master of Their Domain: 10 Great ‘Seinfeld’ Episodes Pictures | Rolling Stone

‘Seinfeld,’ No. 14 in Its Debut Season, Would Beat Every Show But One Today – TheWrap

5 Seinfeld References That Made Their Way into Politics | Mediaite

Soup Nazis, Big Salads + More: The Legacy Of Seinfeld | Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News | VH1 Celebrity

Why celebrate the “Seinfeld” anniversary? Jerry Seinfeld himself doesn’t seem to care about his legacy –

Close Talkers and Double Dippers: 15 Phrases ‘Seinfeld’ Spawned Pictures | Rolling Stone

43 of ‘Seinfeld’s Most Memorable Lines, Phrases, & Made-Up Words — VIDEO | Bustle

What’s Your Favorite Seinfeld Moment? — Vulture

Have a great day and tell us…what was your favorite Seinfeld moment?


42 Comments on “Sunday Reads: They’re real, and they’re spectacular…”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s one of my favorite Seinfeld moments.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Two of my favorite Seinfeld episodes:

    The Chinese Restaurant

    The Limo

    • janicen says:

      I will never forget how hard I laughed during The Limo episode. For me, that scene in the limo when George starts reading the speech he was meant to read is on a par with when I saw Carol Burnett come down the stairs with that curtain rod in the Went With the Wind episode. Those two tie as my biggest spontaneous laughs in a TV show. The absolute definition of “hilarious”.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I laughed hysterically at the Chinese Restaurant episode the first time I saw it too. I find that re-watching Seinfeld doesn’t give me the same belly laughs as the first time though.

        I can watch I Love Lucy again and again and still laugh out loud. Maybe it’s just me. I do think that I Love Lucy was the most influential comedy TV show of all time. I would also include the Dick Van Dyke Show as a candidate.

    • dakinikat says:

      I must be one of the few people in the world that just couldn’t get into Seinfeld. It was just filled with characters that seemed like a waste of oxygen and I never got the humor.

      • Fannie says:

        You and me both.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Make that 3 of us. I have watched Seinfield, even in rerun, and find it funny but not hysterical. I think the funniest Sitcom of all time is the Big Bang Theory. All of the characters are funny and memorable, the story line is wonderful and the writing is so damn good. I can’t watch an episode that I don’t laugh out loud or that I’m not surprised by the cleverness of the writers. I don’t know how it will hold up over time, but it’s far and away the best comedy on TV.

        I hate it that most of the critics aren’t old enough to remember the sitcoms and the skits from variety shows from the 50’s and 60’s like the skits done by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca on Your show of shows, The Red Skelton Show or Our Miss Brooks with Eve Arden, and I married Joan with Joan Davis, who was a brilliant comic. Or even the 70’s sitcoms like Mash or Lavergne and Shirley. Lavergne & Shirley had some of the best physical comedy ever on TV. Only Lucy did physical comedy as well or better than Lavergne & Shirley.

        Also the funniest skit, I’ve ever seen on TV was the Carol Burnett “Gone with Wind” skit (which someone commented on up thread). I can watch that skit to this day and cry with laughter.

        • dakinikat says:

          I like Big Bang Theory too. Maybe it’s because of all the geek jokes that I can relate too. I wish they’d let Sheldon be gay, however. But, any way, I do like the fact that two of the women characters are phds in science. They started out with just Penny and I’m glad they’ve broadened the female characters.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s one reason I don’t watch the reruns anymore. The characters are all sociopaths. I thought the first two seasons were the best and then the sociopathic meme took over.

        • Well, I guess I am a sociopath…because there are days that my life is a Seinfeld episode. And my family do have strange things that happen to us like the storylines in the shows. We have nicknames for people too, and oh…my family is just as dysfunctional as Georgie’s.

          Some of the episodes were annoying, I will say that, but they all got their due in the end. (Summer of George) And I was not crazy about the final episode but it was not horrible…ie Dexter. It came full circle, as the episodes did, ending with the button discussion. Just as the pilot started in the beginning.

          As far as my favorites. The “spectacular” episode of course, the ass man, Soup Nazi, marine biologist, the Mel Torme episode, yada yada yada,the intern at Kramerica Industries, that Merv Griffin set, the pony episode, “I don’t wanna be a pirate”, the backward episode when they go to India….Jackie Chiles…oh, there’s just too many that I love.

          • bostonboomer says:

            You’re the furthest thing from a sociopath, JJ. The situations were often hilarious, IMO. For the first two seasons, I watched it every week and told my friends to watch it. It’s just that as time went on, the characters were portrayed as selfish and having no empathy for other people. In the final episode, it became clear that it was done deliberately.

      • Maybe you need to have a really dysfunctional family to get it? Because some say that they took things too far with a few of the storylines, but I tell you, I have seen worse at a Sunday dinner at my Nana’s house back when she was alive, or at my aunt Celeste house too…

  3. List of X says:

    I highly recommend Last Week Tonight. This is like the Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, but not limited by format and not stuffed full of ads. Too bad I only get to have HBOgo till the end of the year.

    • janicen says:

      And not as much Hillary hate as the Daily Show. I love Stewart, but he loses so much credibility with me because he cannot hide his loathing of Hillary Clinton. I guess she didn’t do enough guest spots on his show or kiss his ring to his liking but he embarrasses himself with his visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t know that. I got tired of John Stewart’s act a few of years ago. It was the same basic thing over and over.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Once again, the article from the WaPo seems to be describing legitimate intelligence collection by NSA about important issues. See Para. 5 onward.

    Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

    Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.

    The article describes how info collected from Americans is minimized and not listened to. The Post found 900 bits of info that could be linked to Americans–out of how many billions (trillions?) of bits of data?

    Also, why does Snowden data mostly include Bush admin. stuff? Info examined ends in 2012. Obama admin. has made some changes.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Were the 10,000 Americans whose data was retained living abroad? Or were they communicating with targeted individuals?

      It’s certainly troubling that Snowden was able to get this data–FISA data that officials claimed he couldn’t have accessed. Now this highly sensitive data has been passed around to goddess knows how many “journalists” and their research assistants and editors. How is that responsible? I’d rather have baby pictures in the hands of anonymous NSA analysts than hundreds of reporters like Glenn Greenwald and his ilk.

      What Americans need to decide is whether we want to be able to use high tech methods to spy on other countries that may threaten us. If we really want to stop all foreign spying as Greenwald/Snowden advocate, then we will also pay a price–not in lost privacy but the inability to prevent terror attacks and to know when other countries are spying on us or planning to attack us.

      I’m all in favor of tightening up the rules on domestic surveillance, but I’m opposed to stopping all intelligence collection that targets foreign countries.

    • RalphB says:

      Lawfare: A Quick Read of the Post’s Latest NSA Story

      “Snowden here did not leak programmatic information about government activity. He leaked many tens of thousands of personal communications of a type that, in government hands, are rightly subject to strict controls. They are subject to strict controls precisely so that the woman in lingerie, the kid beaming before a mosque, the men showing off their physiques, and the woman whose love letters have to be collected because her boyfriend is off looking to join the Taliban don’t have to pay an unnecessarily high privacy price. Yes, the Post has kept personal identifying details from the public, and that is laudable. But Snowden did not keep personal identifying details from the Post. He basically outed thousands of people—innocent and not—and left them to the tender mercies of journalists. This is itself a huge civil liberties violation. And we should talk about it as such.”

  5. Beata says:

    My favorite “Seinfeld” moment:

  6. dakinikat says:

    Why I continue to hate Nebraska reason #I lost count of them all

    Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 6s
    Dems decry Nebraska parade’s “Obama Presidential Library” outhouse float:

    • Fannie says:

      I swear racism is just getting worst all across this country. Parents should have stopped the parade and should have left with their children.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh. My. God.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      What a bunch of loons. I’ve never seen a POTUS treated as disrespectfully as Obama has been treated. To think that there are people who believe that Obama is worse than GWB just blows my mind. GWB took this country to the brink of a Depression and 2 wars, one of them built on LIES and DECEIT. There is no explanation for the hatred directed at Obama. other than racism. . .

      • And the outcry when the Dixie Chicks said that they were embarrassed GW was from Texas,yet this stuff gets no outrage…their racism, it is fucking ridiculous.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        I’ve never seen a POTUS treated as disrespectfully as Obama has been treated
        Really, I have. I’ve seen a terrific President impeached over a blowjob.
        There is no explanation for the hatred directed at Obama. other than racism
        The impeached President was white, but he did have a D after his name.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I can’t argue with any of that Sue. But I don’t remember an entire political movement (Tea Party) being formed specifically to protest that POTUS. One that rallied and marched regularly using dangerous, slanderous and racist signs and slogans against him. Still, what happened to Clinton was as disgusting. I think it’s about a lot more with Obama than the “D”.

  7. RalphB says:

  8. Fannie says:

    Happy 79th Birthday Dalai Lama

  9. dakinikat says:

    ABC News Cuts Off Rick Perry In The Middle Of An Insane Obama Conspiracy Rant

    Gov. Rick Perry tried to push his claim that the humanitarian crisis involving an influx of Central American children on the border was an Obama conspiracy, but ABC’s This Week called him out on it and ended the interview when Perry added an imaginary hurricane.

    He’s really losing it big time these days. Drugs or just insanity?

  10. My laptop is still at the shop, all my files and sites and things are saved on it. Hopefully we will find out what is wrong with it Monday or Tuesday.