Let’s blow up the world! It looks so cool!

Photo of “Independence Day: Resurgence” from 20th Century Fox, via EW.com.

Confession: I used to blow up models.

Just a couple of them, actually — a model of the original “Star Trek” Enterprise in which one of the arms refused to stay attached, and a version of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’s” Flying Sub. One year, when I had an excess of firecrackers left over from Independence Day, I put the tiny explosives in the models’ crevasses and filmed the whole thing in 8 mm.

They blowed up real good.

I never thought about the people who might have been on board the real vehicles, just as I never thought about the workers on the Death Star or the folks in the Library Tower in “Independence Day.”

I do now.

Maybe I shouldn’t; they’re just movies, right? Disaster movies, comic-book movies, action movies — the people who die in them, whether from toppling buildings or widely sprayed gunshots, are as disposable as stick figures.

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Scotty Moore, 1931-2016

Scotty Moore, left, with a friend. Image from denniscoffeysite.com.

What else can you say about Scotty Moore?

Calling him “Elvis’ guitarist,” as many headlines are today, isn’t just a disservice to Moore; it’s a disservice to Elvis. Elvis may have been the singer who led the rock ‘n’ roll revolution, but Moore’s guitar playing was key to its sound.

It’s not for nothing that one of Moore’s albums was titled “The Guitar That Changed the World!” (Gibson, the maker of Moore’s ES-295 and Super 400, certainly knew it, even if it had a vested interest.)

It’s taking nothing away from such session professionals as James Burton and Reggie Young, who accompanied Elvis in his later years, that when it came to Elvis records, Moore created the template. Hell, he created the template when it came to rock ‘n’ roll records.

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Another read: ‘No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky’

A view from Madison Square.

Sitting on the High Line in Manhattan, E.B. White’s “Here Is New York” crosses my mind. The famed New Yorker writer — who spent most of his time in Maine — wrote the piece for Holiday magazine and published it in 1949, but you know what they say: The more things change, the more they get louder.

You can read it here, and hear the echoes down through time.

Sunday read: ‘Hell Sucks’


Michael Herr, who died Thursday at 76, contributed to the scripts for “Apocalypse Now” and “Full Metal Jacket.” But his legacy probably rests in the searing “Dispatches,” drawn from his reporting in Vietnam.

“Hell Sucks,” which originally appeared in a 1967 issue of Esquire, was the beginning of that book. Esquire has posted it on its site; it remains an astonishing read.

With all of that dust blowing around, the acrid smell of gunpowder would hang in the air for a long while after fire fights, and there was also some CS gas that we’d fired at the N.V.A. blowing back in over our positions. It was impossible to get off a clean breath with all of that going on, and of course there was that other smell too, that most special of all smells that came up from shallow graves and from shattered heaps of stone wherever an air strike had passed. It held to the lining of your nostrils and worked itself into the weave of your fatigues, and weeks later, miles away, you would wake up from a dream in the middle of the night and it would be there in the room with you.

Michael Herr, 1940-2016

Image from Vanity Fair.

“I was there to watch,” he wrote. “I went to cover the war and the war covered me; an old story, unless of course you’ve never heard it.”

Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter has an appreciation here. You can buy “Dispatches” here (or drop by your local library).

A few weeks ago I quoted from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” Herr’s “Dispatches” is equally grim and equally profound.


The dog who caught the car

Image from The Irish Times.

The UK has decided to Leave the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation. Markets are in turmoil. The world is in shock.

There’s an old saying among trial lawyers: Don’t ask a question for which you don’t know the answer. In early 2013, when Cameron announced there would be an in-out referendum by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives won the next election, it was seen as a way to shore up his right flank. Despite gains by the UK Independence Party and agitation from some of his MPs, Remain seemed comfortably ahead as recently as February. It was supposed to be an easy win.

It was not so easy after all.

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Manuel’s Tavern update

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Brian Maloof is as excited as an expectant father.

And no wonder: his famed Atlanta bar, Manuel’s Tavern, is beginning the final month of the renovations that began in January.

Brian gave me a tour of the surroundings Thursday morning, about two months after I last came by. Though the furnishings have yet to be reinstalled — including barstools, booths, televisions, that portrait of JFK and, well, the beer taps — the watering hole is rounding into shape.

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Hit that Buzzr

Clockwise from left: Host Gene Rayburn, Allen Ludden, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Dolly Martin, Richard Dawson and Betty White on “Match Game ’73.” Image from tvseriesfinale.com.

I was stumbling around channels on the one over-the-air TV we have in the house when I saw some familiar faces and loud suits from my childhood: the gang from “Match Game.”

It was “Match Game ’73,” to be precise, which made me wonder: Who the hell was showing “Match Game ’73,” especially since a) it was on one of those extra channels that air alongside the major local stations’ HD feeds, and b) it wasn’t GSN?

Turns out it’s a (relatively) new channel called Buzzr (or BUZZR, as they prefer to be printed).

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