I've had a google news alert running on Donald Hall for a year or so now. Since he's been appointed poet Laureate of these United States I have discovered one thing that had eluded me. What I discovered, thanks to every podunk newspaper who has written an article about Hall is that Hall uses 'deceptively simple' language. I guess that makes him a poet. Criminy.
I finally watched the most recent Lewis Black HBO special last weekend. I watched on "HBO on Demand" because I have suuuuuuper cable. I still like Lewis Black but I felt there was something missing in this performance. I felt a couple of times that he was falling back on catch phrases too often. Maybe that's because I am intimately familiar with his material and style. His views on politics were spot-on as usual and when he compared a hunting ranch to Auschwitz for quail I almost fell off the couch laughing. Honestly, if you are hunting on one of those ranches on a guided hunt, that's not hunting, that's traveling a long ways and paying big bucks for the thrill of killing an animal with your gun. I loved how he opened his discussion of Cheney by just saying the vice president's name in just the right way to bring down the room. It was masterful timing.
One part of the show I could have completely done without was his account of his appearance last year at the correspondents dinner in Washington D.C. It just wasn't that funny. I guess he didn't want to talk politics all night. The routine would have been better if it had been shorter.
It's been a while since I've quoted Roger Ebert here. This is from his review of Wordplay: "we observe that to be a crossword champion, you have to be incredibly intelligent; be capable of intuitive, lateral thinking; know everything, and focus your knowledge into a narrow and ultimately meaningless pursuit. Yes, that makes you an obsessive eccentric, but they're really the only interesting people left, don't you sometimes think?"