Wow! That was the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I’m so glad I got to see it last weekend. I would’ve never known that “Punch-Drunk Love” was opening if not for the kid in my discussion section who talked about it at the end of class. The plot summary he provided was so helpful to understanding PTA’s (movie geekspeak for Paul Thomas Anderson – oh, you don’t know who he is, he directed “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”) new quirky romantic comedy. And to think, I would’ve totally missed out if he hadn’t told the rest of class.

Paul Wong
Luke Smith

Thanks a ton buddy.

This is the problem with discussion section here at the University. Random kids will open their mouths during class and explain something that is completely irrelevant, and more importantly, completely wrong. This type of student – the kind of kid who wears all maize and blue and if he broke his arm, will wear a Michigan cast – rules. And the cast looks great, sport!

It’s a tragedy that student speech undermines the usefulness of discussion sections. Primarily students like this one: His concept of informing the class instead ends up misinforming everyone. Excellent work.

Can you really fault this gentleman though? The hard-to-follow three-tiered opening of “Punch-Drunk Love” misled him. On Oct. 11, the film had limited release; the following week, it opened wider. Chances are, the gentleman in question simply checked www.imdb.com one morning and saw the Films Opening banner read “Punch-Drunk Love” (wider). Naively, he didn’t check the website any further and proceeded to broadcast his excitement to the class while we’re supposed to be learning (it is a Film class, so is “Punch-Drunk” automatically fair game?). I also learned that “Manhattan” is about relationships, special thanks to whoever contributed that nugget. Around the horn, bullet style.


n The serial sniper or beltway sniper – whatever he is being named now – has sealed his own fate. True, investigators are barely a hair closer to catching this guy, whoever he is (or these guys, if conspiracy theorists prefer), but he has screwed the pooch with the Saturday message to parents in the affected region. “Your children are not safe, anytime, anywhere.” Good idea. You’ve paralyzed a region in fear; now you have pissed off an entire, massive battery of parents. The sniper will be brought to vigilante justice when a parent calls the tip line saying they have the sniper’s spine in hand. Hell hath no fury like parents whose children have been threatened (or a woman’s scorn for Sega).

n The United States discovered that North Korea is harboring at least one, but possibly two nuclear missiles. We are, naturally, concerned. It is a nice distraction from the begging and pleading to check out Iraq’s suspected weapons. Heaven forbid there are any nuclear missiles in existence that don’t have the Red, White & Blue all over them. This is a pretty third grade policy: We can have it and you can’t. It is a lot like the “We won’t trade with communist Cuba, but God help us if we miss a deal with communist China” attitude. Double standards are pretty sweet.


n Lawyer Cyrus Mehri met with NFL executives for two-and-a-half hours Tuesday about the league’s discriminatory hiring policies regarding black coaches. Mehri said the meeting with league officials was a “very productive, substantive meeting.” It is so refreshing to see two sides of a completely absurd issue come together and placate one another publicly. Now, the Black Coaches Association plans to release the hiring policies of various college institutions so that recruits would have an additional criterion to employ when making a college choice. Excellent, Grambling will be a major football power in the next four years, count on it. (Insert a gratuitous Doug Williams joke here.)

n Barry Bonds, (steroid free!) is the only player in the history of the Major League Baseball to hit a home run in his first three World Series games. This would be almost impressive if, A) the home run still mattered, B) Baseball’s World Series ratings weren’t down 30 percent and C) if baseball wasn’t the second best sport to nap to (number one goes to the WNBA).


n Special thanks to the White Stripes, who let Jeff and I take the two leftover seats from their personal mandatory celebrity buffer zone at this week’s Beck concert. The fifth row center tickets were way nicer than the freebies from Interscope all the way back in R – which wasn’t that far back and the acoustics were better back there.

n Finally, PTA’s “Punch-Drunk Love” opens tomorrow on campus. You know, PTA, the guy who directed “Magnolia,” “Boogie Nights” and “Hard Eight?” Oh, you haven’t heard of him? I guess you wouldn’t really care then. Sorry for wasting your time.

Luke Smith can be reached at lukems@umich.edu.

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