Articles in section: 'Shorts'

On the Sony Hack and Last Laughs

Sony Hack, Last LaughsThe news lately has been full of scandalous details that have emerged via a cyber attack on the Sony corporation, widely suspected to have been executed by North Korean hackers working to punish the company for producing a comedic film about that country’s leader, the cherubic-faced tyrant and mass murderer Kim Jong-Un (no offense meant, Kim!).

The information made available via this hacking has led to all kinds of guffawing and mockery by media personages and would-be media personages. I have a sense of humor too, and yet I have this sneaking feeling that there’s something seriously out of whack here. Don’t people at these other media entities who are regurgitating and amplifying these stolen communications have any second thoughts about what’s going on? [Read more →]


ThanksgivingThanksgiving Day in the U.S.A. has always seemed to me to be very the best holiday, the one where no one is trying to sell you anything at all—except, of-course, for dead, decapitated birds. But even there no hard sell is employed: they’re just laid out in front of you to take your pick. Frozen, fresh, hormone-free, hormone-pumped, antibiotic-free, crack-addicted, gluten-free, glutton-ready; but the big fat carcasses really just sell themselves.

What are the songs of Thanksgiving? Strangely, there are no popular songs which have taken hold. Rewinding through the fraying cassette tape of my brain, I came up with a Loudon Wainright song from the late eighties, simply titled “Thanksgiving.” (There’s a live performance on YouTube at this link.) Now Loudon can often be a laugh-riot, and sharp too, but this is one of his highly mawkish numbers, dwelling on the sadness of meeting the same family members every year and having the same old conflicts, and just getting older, and in essence being unhappy about everything. [Read more →]

An Election Reflection

After the 2012 election, yours truly effectively resigned from commenting on partisan political topics, because … well, for a lot of reasons: getting my prediction dramatically wrong; being depressed by the prospect of the future; and accepting that other kinds of writing are ultimately more enduring (to the extent that anything emanating from this source could possibly be enduring). The world of political punditry and prognostication was greatly shaken by this resignation, naturally, but I’m not sure that anyone else who turned out to be wrong in the prediction business chose to jump off the same cliff. That’s fine; to each his own. Two years later, and with another shift in the political landscape in the U.S., it affords an opportunity to consider whether I made the right decision or not. And I think the answer is that the decision was correct: things turned out after 2012 just as depressingly as expected, with national politics cemented in debilitating trench warfare, and with no progress towards ends that (in all seriousness) I and some like-minded folk consider to be of life and death importance. In fact, there’s only been deterioration with regard to the issues that matter most to me. That’s not a reason to give up taking a stand in the way any normal citizen does, but I guess I continue to feel it is a reason not to let oneself be consumed by the minutiae in the whole depressing fight. There are other things in life, even when the sky is falling. [Read more →]

Texas Hospital Worker Contracts Ebola

So, the sad news today is that a Dallas hospital worker who had contact with the late Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has now come down with symptoms and been diagnosed with the disease. What should be done? Well, based on the Spanish model, the first thing to do is see if the woman has any pets (in fact she does), and then kill them. This should send a message to all other health care workers who choose to risk dealing with Ebola patients: If you contract it somehow during your work, not only will you have perhaps a 50/50 chance of survival, but your dog/cat/parrot will be euthanized. [Read more →]

Bill Murray and “Shelter from the Storm”

Bill Murray singing Shelter from the StormDoing the rounds on various websites is a clip from a new film titled St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray, directed by Theodore Melfi. The clip is remarkable for how little occurs in it: it’s simply the Bill Murray character singing along to Bob Dylan’s song “Shelter from the Storm” like any ordinary Bob-Dylan-loving-doofus might. Yet it seems to strike some kind of chord with people, given the degree to which it is being circulated. And yours truly has found it oddly charming also. I guess it’s because (a) I can sadly picture myself acting in the same way and (b) Bill Murray is just kind of a likeable bum and (c) It’s so refreshing in these dark times to see someone singing while smoking a cigarette. [Read more →]

B.B. King Cancels Tour Due to Illness

B.B. King cancels tour due to illnessBlues legend and national treasure B.B. King cancelled the remaining eight shows of a concert tour after falling ill on October 3rd in Chicago. King, now 89 years-old, was diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion. He’s now said to be at home and “feeling better.” [Read more →]

Now Mobile Friendly!

Mobile DeviceAt enormous expense and after unrestrained effort, working our web development team for many weeks of 14 hour shifts, THE CINCH REVIEW is now being issued in a format more easily readable on your smartphones, tablets, skateboards and other mobile devices. If you are on one of those devices, no action should be necessary: the fact that you are using such a device will be detected by the gigantic antennas and high-magnification cameras we have erected all around the Cinch HQ, and you will automatically be served a page that should require no resizing, with no fidgety sidebars to worry about.

But be careful while reading on your mobile device. THE CINCH REVIEW cannot be held responsible for injuries sustained due to being distracted while mobile …

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Sincere wishes for nearness-to-God to all those who have been celebrating holy days this week, both Passover and Holy Week. Unusually, both Christians of the western churches and the eastern Orthodox ones are celebrating Easter simultaneously this year, and aligned with the Jewish Passover. In theory, it should always be like this, but different ways of establishing the religious calendars have intervened. A strange week it’s been, then, of alignments, blood moons, and the like. [Read more →]

Snow in April

April 16th, to be exact. New York City awoke this morning to freezing temperatures and something between a dusting and an icing of white stuff. At points west and north in the U.S.A. there are places that have been receiving more substantial quantities. But just for the record, we took a few photos. [Read more →]

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Saint Patrick's DayHere’s to Saint Patrick, a great Welshman (or so I was told as a lad) who tried mightily to save the Irish.

The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is known as “Slane,” and is associated with a moment in history when Saint Patrick lit a fire on a hill in pagan Ireland—the hill of Slane—in defiance of the customs of the time, in order to mark the Christian holy day of Easter. His bravery was met with a success that put him in the history books and makes him the subject of parades in countless cities across the world. Many Christians today exhibit similar bravery and find merely death—in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and North Korea—but their hope is in something far beyond the acceptance of men.

Surely no one has sung it better than Van the man.

(Available on Van Morrison’s album, Hymns to the Silence.)

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might
Thou my sole shelter, and thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenwards, O power of my power


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