Friday, 22 May 2009


Transporter 3 (2008)
[#27 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]


Review of Terminator Salvation by Devin Faraci
(from Empire)
A positive perspective on the widely panned new Terminator entry. Sounds pretty good to me.

Poem of the Week: Casey at the Bat

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

As promised last week, here's another selection from The Nation's Favourite Comic Verse. It's about baseball -- or, to us Brits, 'glorified rounders' -- though a lack of knowledge on that front is no barrier to enjoyment, as the basic theme of this could easily apply to most sports (and for much of it could be about most sports).

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
So when Cooney died at second, and Burrows did the same,
A pallor wreathed the features of the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, 'If only Casey could but get a whack at that --
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat.'
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a fake;
So upon that stricken multitude a deathlike silence sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the hillside and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped --
'That ain't my style,' said Casey -- 'Strike one,' the Umpire said.
From the benches black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signalled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the Umpire said, "Strike two."
'Fraud!' cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered, 'Fraud!'
But one scornful look from Casey and the multitude was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has struck out.

This was first published in a newspaper in 1888, a year which looks kinda nice written down. It's clearly Thayer's most famous poem and has its own Wikipedia page here with more info than you could ever need.

There's also a version of the poem at Wikisource which has many notable differences to the one I've published here, which is taken directly from The Nation's Favourite Comic Verse. It's not just a case of formatting or punctuation -- some lines are almost entirely different. Wikisource says their version is the original from the paper; I don't know where this (revised, presumably) version originates.