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Mark Axelrod
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Entries by Mark Axelrod

Crisis on the Mexican Border; or, Raise Your Hand If You Can Play Baseball

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 12:12 PM

As Garrett Morris (a.k.a. Chico Escuela) often opined on SNL: "Baseball... been berra berra good... to me." It's not clear if Chico Escuela was Cuban or not, but, regardless, no fewer than 73 baseball players who have defected from Cuba between 1993 and 2013 to come...

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Ida; or, the Stoic

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 4:02 PM

In Joseph Campbell's masterful text, The Hero of a Thousand Faces, he traces the quest of the hero through three major stages: separation, initiation and return. The separation stage is a separation from a "normal" existence into an unknown one, one that the hero has never before experienced; the initiation...

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Henning Carlsen: A Remembrance

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 3:43 AM

Henning Carlsen, the Danish film director, died on May 30 shortly before his 87th birthday. I first heard of Henning Carlsen in the early 90s when I was teaching a course on the fiction of Knut Hamsun and wondered if there were a film based on his novel, Hunger. In...

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Blue Is The Warmest Color Except When Your Hands Are Cold

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 3:29 PM

After minions of movie devotees told me I had to see Blue is the Warmest Color (aka La vie d'Adèle), I went. After all could all those minions be wrong? Approximately three hours later I couldn't wait to grab some fresh air. Why I didn't leave sooner is a matter...

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Allstate Insurance: Good Hands, Maybe, But Don't Bet Your Education On It

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 4:19 PM

I've been watching college football for years and it suddenly dawned on me that for many of those years I've been watching field goals and PATs fly between or wide left or right of the uprights and into the "good hands people" net of Allstate Insurance. When that happens, the...

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North Carolina House Bill 589; or, Politics in the New Third World

(2) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 5:04 PM

I find it increasingly difficult to believe that certain states in the alleged "United States" would mindfully attempt to undermine the right to vote especially in relation to many of those "third world" countries that the U.S. often dismisses as being, well, third world. Case in point is the travesty...

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What's So Scandalous About Scandals?

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 8:27 AM

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the fatal attacks on American diplomats in Benghazi could lead to President Barack Obama's impeachment during a radio interview on The Rusty Humphries Show. Said Inhofe, without the slightest homage to U.S. political history, "People may be starting to use the I-word before...

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H.R. 1096, S. 583, The Pauls and the Magic of Morphogenesis

(9) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 10:54 AM

While everything is seemingly being sequestered these days, there's one thing that seems not to have been entirely sequestered: HR 1096, or, the ''Sanctity of Life Act of 2011.'' Even though the Ron Paul bill died two years ago, his son, Rand Paul, has taken up the unfettered "scientific" banner...

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Gimme Shelter, NBA

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 6:28 PM

In an unprecedented move, every male college basketball player in the United States has declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. The news has sent shockwaves around the nation and has put all A.D.s in a frenzy in an attempt to floor competitive teams for the next season. Many of...

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Sequestration and Other Governmental Non-Sequiturs

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 9:40 AM

I've often wondered if there's a particular government office, perhaps called the ONS (Office of Non-Sequiturs) that comes up with these unusual names for what transpires in the grand marble halls of the Pentagon and Congress (a rather sexually charged name itself). Some of the most memorable include, but are...

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Paul Ryan, The Path to Prosperity and the Peter Principle

(40) Comments | Posted August 12, 2012 | 5:09 PM

Now that Paul Ryan is the legitimate potential heir to the Republican presidential throne, I thought I'd take a look at his masterpiece, "THE PATH TO PROSPERITY: Restoring America's Promise." As a writer, I'm keenly aware of how people use language and am a perfervid fundamentalist when it comes to...

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Penn State and the Illusion of Success

(11) Comments | Posted July 30, 2012 | 11:57 AM

There's a lot of consternation afoot regarding the seemingly "draconian" measures the NCAA has taken against Penn State. Lots of chest-beating and hand-wringing and tear-jerking and teeth-gnashing about how these sanctions are going to ruin the future of Penn State football and how unfair they are and that the team...

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Underwear, Fake Arrows in the Head and the Distinguished Mark Twain Prize

(5) Comments | Posted July 23, 2012 | 4:23 PM

Will Farrell seems to have an uncommon desire to run around in his underwear. Perhaps, it's a fetish, but whether it's in some of his films (e.g. Talladega Nights) or on television (e.g. multiple SNL skits) if there's an opportunity to drop trou, well, Farrell is all for it and...

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Rush's Rush to Judgment; Or, the Bane of the College Dropout

(49) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 3:43 PM

This is an example of why it's not a good idea to drop out of college even if it makes you a lot of money. Recently, Limbaugh came up with this patently ignorant statement: "Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane," Limbaugh said...

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The New Banana Republics

(1) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 12:12 PM

Used to be that the phrase "Banana Republic" was reserved for those Central and South American countries in which political discourse was stifled (if not censored) and human rights abuses were rampant. You know, countries in the '80s such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, Peru, Chile, ad infinitum. But what those...

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The Myth of the Dream Team: Where Have You Gone Oscar Robertson?

(5) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 3:22 PM

Ahead of the June 13 documentary on the 1992 Dream Team we need to re-think what Dream Teams really are. Everyone tends to valorize the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and the accolades never seem to rest. Greatest Olympic basketball team ever assembled. Jordan even said that such a combination of...

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The Real Housewives of Orange County or 'Tuesday Nights at Dysfunction Junction'

(8) Comments | Posted May 23, 2012 | 5:12 PM

My teenage son and I have a bonding ritual. Every Tuesday night we eagerly await the next episode of RHOC. In an age when many contend there's a "generation gap" (there's always a generation gap) something like RHOC can truly minimize the distance between the generations. It's a marvelous show...

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Not Feign Capital, Bain Capital; or, Job Re-Creation for Dummies

(4) Comments | Posted May 22, 2012 | 11:09 AM

I'm not a big fan of Mitt Romney's. I think part of the reason is that he's patently disingenuous and, quite frankly, a social misfit. I don't mean around "common people," but even around his "own kind" since it's difficult to feign woodenness. As a matter of fact, my experience...

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Trading Mays for Throneberry; or, the Disquiet of Losing Dick Lugar

(2) Comments | Posted May 16, 2012 | 8:20 PM

As a perfervid Democrat, the worst news I received in the past week (outside of the Phillies dipping under .500) was that Dick Lugar lost his GOP primary to a Tea Party conservative who vowed never to "compromise." Perhaps, the aversion to his using the word (indeed a blasphemy for...

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Parsing the Nugentrification of America

(0) Comments | Posted April 27, 2012 | 11:07 AM

Now that the whole Ted Nugent thing has become history, it's time to parse what it really meant. Without even discussing the alleged story that Nugent urinated on his jeans for a week before taking (and failing) his draft physical for Vietnam (what a "patriot"), one needs to...

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