Just in case you've been hiking the Appalachian trail for the past seven months, there's this movie called The Dark Knight coming out today. It's a Batman movie, he of the cowl and the scowl, and it features his most nefarious foe, the Joker. That slithering baddie is played by Heath Ledger, an actor of beguiling good looks and talent who died-tragically, accidentally, hugely-in January. But his performance in this film lives on, and it's said to be the stuff of legend. Critics have been slamming their shoes on their desks for the past week, heralding it as "revelatory" and Brando-esque. The strength of this performance presented Warner Bros., months ago, with something of a conundrum. Should they continue plans to make his leering visage the movie's chief marketing image, or should they shy away from death, retreating to the simultaneously brighter and dimmer lights of Christian Bale and his boringer friends? Ultimately they chose to continue with their Joker-centric media deluge, and people got very angry! How dare they?! The man is dead, reduced to mere ashes floating in the Indian Ocean! It's immoral. And to that, we say bullshit.
Bad/ good news: New York is attempting to double its cigarette tax to $3 per pack, which would bring the overall cost of a pack to almost $9, the most in the nation. But the New York Association of Convenience Stores is lobbying hard against the increase, saying it will only drive smokers to bootleggers and Indian reservations to stock up. Gosh, how evil of these cursed Convenience Store lobbyists to oppose this vital public health measure! Also, does anybody know where I can send contributions to the Convenience Store lobby? This is tearing our society's fragile smoker-nonsmoker peace agreement apart! Luckily, the crack New York media found one smokin' teenager to put this difficult issue in perspective: