Business Insider noticed something I did too about the Egypt coverage this weekend:
I kept seeing TweetDeck pop on TV this weekend during discussions about Egypt.We learned nothing from all the Tweetdeck usage over the weekend, aside from "the person producing this newscast has no idea what TweetDeck or Twitter is."
I'm never clear on why producers think it's useful to show visuals of Twitter, or in this case a Twitter app, on TV: the scrolling text is impossible to read, not to mention the usefulness of Twitter et al. has everything to do not only with who you follow, but understanding why you follow them. A fact that's rarely explained to viewers.
Presumably these hip TV folk just wanted to show that they're down with the kids (the kids being media people who have relied on TweetDeck and the like for more than a year now as the most useful platform with which to stay ahead of the news).
The result, however, is a bit like going back 60 years and hearing a radio person laud this new thing called the television set, with no awareness it was thing making them obsolete.
My son blogs about his latest tricks- including crawling and standing- in his latest blog post.
I find it hard to find anything to say about what's going on in Egypt, except that it's so fascinating that we can just turn on the TV and see history unfolding in such a way. When I was in eighth grade and my class watched Bill Clinton sworn in as president, I'll always remember my teacher saying, "in a lot of countries in the world, instead of this orderly transition, you'd be watching a war right now, or someone being murdered." I guess this time we're watching the exact opposite.
I do find it kind of absurd to see so much analysis of what's going on there in terms of whether it's "good for America," or "good for Israel," or even "good for Obama." I wouldn't say Egypt's events have much or anything to do with any of the above. It's about the Egyptian people wanting to have self-determination, which I'd say they should have. Now I'd certainly prefer the Muslim Brotherhood not come out on top, but then it's not looking like that's the most likely outcome.
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." It's a totally unnecessary sequel, it has absolutely nothing interesting or original to say about the 2008 financial crisis, it revolves around the love story of two shallow, mediocre characters (Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan, it's way too long and "money never sleeps" makes no sense as a title or phrase. But you know what? I loved it anyway. So great to see Gordon Gekko again, Josh Brolin made a delightfully icy villain, and the whole thing was just really well photographed and told. And Eli Wallach's tiny supporting role is something to behold. Oliver Stone really could do something great again if he actually applied himself.
- "Waking Sleeping Beauty." A very fascinating documentary about the Disney renaissance in animation in the late 1980s, told by the animators themselves. It has a bit too much of the well-trodden internal Disney politics that we're all used to, but the animators are fascinating people, and if nothing else it reminded me just how great those movies were. Except "The Lion King." I always thought that one was just shit.
- "Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party." A simple idea: the titular veteran character actor- you'll know him when you see him- hosting friends for his birthday birthday party and telling stories for 90 minutes. And it's enthralling. Give this guy a weekly HBO show, pronto.
- "Please Give." I'm not generally a huge Nicole Holofcener fan, but this was the best of her films. Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt play a New York couple who sell the antiques of recently dead people, and are waiting for the 90-year-old woman next door to pass away so they can buy her apartment. Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet are both excellent as the elderly woman's angel and devil granddaughters; I'm still yet to not love Hall in anything.
Like everyone else, I thoroughly enjoyed this Katie Baker piece about her days on hockey message boards in the early days of the internet in the '90s. I remember Eworld! And message board idiots too.
Remember the "Kendra Loses Her Baby" nonsense of a few months ago? That same magazine, OK, gone back to the "female reality star had a miscarriage but not really" well again.
Once again, the phrase "baby joy turns to misery" has a certain connotation to it. What actually happened to Khloe, according to the article- she got pregnant, she colored her hair red, and the network asked her to go back to the original color- does not exactly meet that definition.
I mean, I'm sure that was traumatic, and we're all praying for her around the clock, but...
This is a bit of a stretch.
News Item: Next Sunday is "National Porn Sunday"
Stewart continues teeing off on O'Reilly:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Bill O'Reilly Defends His Nazi Analogies|
Of course, there are many big differences between Nazis and Huffington Post commenters. The HuffPo writers haven't killed anyone, they're not running a government, they don't have an army at their disposal, and (presumably) they don't hate Jews. But other than that... Nazis!
Last night's "Office" was less than great, but history was made:
This just made me glad that the British Office never made it to a mediocre sixth season. Then again, "Parks and Recreation" and "Community" were both beyond hilarious last night. "Perfect Couples," not so much.
I review the underwhelming Jason Statham hitman movie The Mechanic at the Patch.
From a Slate article about "fecal transplants": "The Enema of Your Enemy is Your Friend"
You know, this ten-movie Best Picture thing makes it a lot harder to complain about the Oscars. I find not much to disagree with on the best picture slate; of the ten nominees I had them ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 21st and 26th. So nothing I really hated made the cut.
Still, some pretty egregious snubs, led of course by Christopher Nolan for director (and "Inception," the best-edited movie in years, being shut out of that category.) No "Tillman Story" for doc? No Michael Doughlas for "Solitary Man"? And while I realize everyone but me hated "Love and Other Drugs," but Anne Hathaway should've been nominated.
Obama generally did a good job, and his presidency is clearly on an upswing. Like all State of the Union addresses, it consisted of a whole bunch of stuff that will never, ever happen. And I look forward to people still calling Obama a socialist when he spent the speech talking about tax cuts, spending freezes, and the need to not interfere with business.
- When Rachel Maddow said "a chair has been left empty," she was talking about Congresswoman Giffords. But I at first thought she was referring to the MSNBC set, and the empty seat was for Olbermann.
- It'll be interesting if Newt Gingrich finds a way to attack Obama for the "Winning the Future" message, since he wrote a book with that very title.
- John Boehner's American flag ribbon was sideways for the entire speech. If Obama did that it would be a sign he HATES AMERICA.
Like I wasn't going to link to this.
Respected sportswriter King Kaufman this week announced that he's leaving Salon to join Bleacher Report, the sports blog network/content farm generally known for very, very low-quality writing.
Kaufman's explanation for the move is worth reading, although I must say I would never accept a job which required my first act to be writing a "my new company isn't nearly as bad as its rotten reputation" letter. Though I suppose it's sort of the same thing as being named new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Fox News would never, ever compare their political opponents to Nazis:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|24 Hour Nazi Party People|
Oregon Trail is back- on Facebook:
And here's a City Pages piece about the origins of the game, which started not in Oregon but Minnesota.
The nutty blogger is apparently no longer on board with Rep. Peter King's planned HUAC-like Congressional hearings into "mosque radicalization."
Pam also this week referred to Abe Foxman- yes, Abe Foxman- as a "self-loathing Jew," to give you some idea of what we're dealing with here.
A blog I like has taken to referring to Michele Bachmann as "Marge Gunderson." I get the reference, but the comparison is highly offensive- to Marge. She was actually intelligent and good at her job, unlike Bachmann.
I tried to watch the Bachmann SOTU response, and only got about two minutes in. At least this time, she didn't claim that the founding fathers ended slavery.
Humorous commercial I saw today:
Why would anyone get a MINI Cooper SUV?
The idiotic "code" culture of ex-NFL players reared its ugly head again yesterday and today when several current and former NFL players decided to rip Jay Cutler of the Bears for leaving Sunday's game with an injury- which later turned out to be either a torn or sprained MCL.
Anyone complaining that he should've rubbed some dirt on it, I volunteer to tear their ACL, and see how it affects their work performance for the rest of the day. And being an announcer or fan doesn't require people trying to hit you. Business Insider had the best take:
The reason those injuries happen is because players who play hurt are lionized and those who don't are humiliated. Because Jay Cutler didn't push himself to the absolute limit and stretch his body beyond what any doctor would consider acceptable, he's a punk who doesn't deserve to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. And guys like Mark Schlereth and Mike Golic are the reason why.I don't care if he's got a concussion and eight different torn tendons throughout his body- get back out there! They should put 'em in skirts!
The ex-players say, "That may not be fair, but that's the mentality of football." Well, the mentality of football ruins lives. The mentality of football shatter bodies. The mentality of football left Schlerth with a leg that doesn't bend right and it left Andre Waters with the brain of a 85-year-old Alzheimer's patient.
Howard Eskin thoroughly embarrasses himself:
Yes, because we're all waiting with baited breath to hear what Halladay "thinks about the Phillies' rotation." I'm going to guess he likes it? Once again- nobody cares about athletes or coaches not talking to the media, except for the media. And it wasn't like Halladay slipped away after a game- it was an autograph signing in the middle of the offseason.
Great moment on the Cataldi show this morning- Angelo was going on about how he was rooting for the Jets to win because of Rex Ryan, because he reminds him of Buddy, whose "go for the jugular" way was so preferable to the current Eagles coach, who would "rather just compete."
Andy Reid's career playoff victories as Eagles coach: 10
Buddy Ryan's career playoff victories as Eagles coach: 0
A great, and brave piece in New York magazine.
In his 13 years, Pavano has played four seasons in which he was a free agent at the end of the year (2004, 2008, 2009, 2010). In those seasons Pavano is 53-33 with a 4.01 ERA and a 3.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.00 is considered very good).In the other nine seasons, Pavano is a combined 44-56 with a 4.62 ERA and a pedestrian 2.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In fact, of those nine seasons, he has one year in which he never pitched in the big leagues (2006) and only one season with more than 8 wins or more than 140 innings pitched. And yet, in the four seasons heading into free agency, he has averaged 13.3 wins and 169 innings pitched.Guess that means Pavano's in line for a stellar 2012.
New York magazine's David Edelstein:
"No Strings Attached is so palpably calculated that you know if the camera had pulled back a foot from the bed in which Portman and Kutcher were pretending to have sex, you’d have seen their agents standing by beaming: proud parents, proud pimps... There are pre-Code movies from the early thirties with less old-fashioned ideas about casual sex."
Now you've done it, Steelers- you've made me root for the Packers in the Super Bowl. Still, it should be a good matchup- two of the league's all-time great franchises, who have never played each other before in a Super Bowl.
I like it. Well-produced, great production design, I like having a historical segment, and the idea of giving Ebert a different "guest voice" each week is pure genius. And while I like Christy Lemire, both in print and on TV, I'm not so sure about the young guy. He doesn't seem to know what he's talking about at all. Besides, what was wrong with Michael Phillips and Tony Scott?
News Item: Keith Olbermann leaves MSNBC
Not the biggest surprise in the world. Keith's legendarily difficult to work with and has had acrimonious departures from just about all of his previous jobs. I'm sure we'll get the full story- quit or fired? Comcast's doing or not?- in the coming days.
I hadn't watched the show much the last couple of years, mostly because I don't watch much cable news anymore and also because Olbermann had gotten kind of over-the-top and insufferable.
But his show was tremendously watchable and valuable, especially during the Bush years, and I've enjoyed him going back to the ESPN years. And I can guarantee I'll never watch Lawrence O'Donnell's show.
I review "No Strings Attached" at the Patch.
This Awl parody of the usual New York Times trend piece is absolutely sublime. I might have to try the Deuteronomy Diet.
This is humorous:
Speaking of the Vikings QB position, they're talking about Vince Young as a potential replacement. No thank you. What the Vikes need at quarterback is stability- and you won't get it with Vince.
News Item: US sought data on Israeli coded messages
Oh. Except it was 2008. And Bush was president.
Glenn Beck, last year:
To me, the worst part isn't the "shoot them in the head." It's Beck telling his audience with a straight face that the Democrats are Communists who want to kill them.
This is one of the most horrifying things I've heard of in quite some time:
The grand jury called it "a baby charnel house."I think everyone on either side of the abortion debate would agree that this is totally abominable and everyone involved should go to jail for a very, very long time. This guy operated without regard to the law, medical ethics, or the safety of his patients. I'm just wondering how it took them so long to catch the guy.
For more than 30 years, Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in West Philadelphia that was the "go-to" place for women wanting illegal late-term abortions or for people seeking no-questions-asked prescription drugs, according to a grand jury... Gosnell performed thousands of abortions at his Women's Medical Society at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue, even though he was a family practitioner never certified as an obstetrician or gynecologist. Gosnell was rarely present in the clinic, allowing his unlicensed, untrained staff to administer drugs and perform procedures.
* Gosnell routinely induced labor in patients in their second and third trimesters rather than perform risky late-term abortions. That sometimes resulted in live births. He and his staffers killed the babies by stabbing their necks with scissors to sever their spinal cords and sometimes suctioning their skulls, too. About a baby writhing as he cut its neck, Gosnell joked to a staffer: "That's what you call a chicken with its head cut off."
"The great miracle of American politics is that although it can tend toward the cutthroat and thuggish, it is almost devoid of genuine violence outside of a few scuffles and busted lips now and again. With the exception of Saturday's slaughter, I'd wager that in the last 30 years there have been more acts of physical violence in the stands at Philadelphia Eagles home games than in American politics."I'd say all the talk about the need for civility, to bring down the temperature, and "change the climate" applies even more to NFC East football fandom than to politics.
News Item: Twins re-sign Carl Pavano for two years
I was sort of hoping he'd stay "close to a deal" for another seven or eight months, but oh well, another starter is always good. I'm just glad they didn't give him 3 or 4 years. And that bringing him back is endlessly amusing to me.
And in other good Twins news- no more Nick Punto.
It's so, so great to have Ron Swanson and the rest of "Parks and Recreation" back. I don't know what my favorite Ron part was- his Bob Knight impression (including the red sweater and throwing a chair) or the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.
A good list. But what about the people who talk about their bodily functions, or those of their kids? A surprisingly large number of people I know do this.
Reminds me of Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton explaining the warlords intercepting the food aid in Somalia:
You know, this Awl piece attacking "The Social Network" as "a pack of lies that conveys nothing about our time" is completely accurate. But I don't really care- it's still a great movie and and I defend it on those merits.
This segment deserves a standing ovation:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue|
When I heard there was an upcoming movie where the protagonist was a sentient tire, I figured it must be a lighthearted Pixar tale about an animated tire wanting to reunite with his tire family or something. But oh no. It's this:
I like Pajiba's take:
Why is everyone losing their undies over a movie about a tire? Literally, a tire. A tire named Robert. A tire named Robert that kills people. A tired named Robert that kills people and elicits a law enforcement man hunt? A tire named Robert that kills people and elicits a law enforcement man hunt and likes to watch women take showers? OK, fine. The trailer is amusing, but I do have to wonder how long this premise can be carried out. Do you really want to see a 90-minute movie about a tire? Is a tire a character you can get emotionally invested in? Will we care about the fate of that tire? Or will we suffer through the entire ordeal and then, because it's supposed to be cool to like a movie about a killer tire, leave the theater faux-excited and tell our friends, "You have to see this awesome movie about the killer tire!" And when that friend sees that movie about the killer tire and reports back, "I didn't get it" and then you'll have to be like, "What? It's a killer tire! What's not to get! It was so awesome!"
The Onion SportsDome has been hit-or-miss thus far, but my goodness:
I think we all saw this one coming- Lance Armstrong almost certainly took performance-enhancing drugs, and the circumstantial evidence that has always indicated such is now actually firming into something beyond a reasonable doubt. I just don't think you can win the Tour de France seven straight times- in a sport where everyone, including his teammates, was dirty- while remaining clean.
But you know what? Just from beating three different kinds of cancer at once, and all the work he's done for cancer and other charity, I can't dismiss the guy completely.
I just know this- the tidal wave of self-righteous, outraged smugness from sportswriters in reaction to this is going to be like nothing any of us have ever seen. I hope everyone is prepared for this- it's going to make the baseball steroids thing look like nothing. I fully expect either Rick Reilly or Mike Lupica to burst into tears live on ESPN.
The Vikings news just keeps getting better and better. Woo hoo! (Link is NSFW.)
My latest Week in Electronics Retail Crime is online at Dealerscope.com. This week- the world's dumbest cell phone thief, and the man who tunneled into GameStop
Because Baltimore was such a pristine, violence-free paradise before "The Wire" came along. You're not gonna believe this, but David Simon has penned a long rebuttal.
Stewart tears apart the grasping-at-straws about Obama's speech last week:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
A lot of bloggers are quitting, it appears, finding that blogging hasn't led them to fame, riches and jobs.
Not exactly a new phenomenon, I suppose, although in the age of Twitter blogging could almost be called an obsolete art form at this point. I still do it because I still like it, and feel like it keeps my writing sharp to do it every day, and I have an audience that seems to like it.
An aide to Congressman Darrell Issa, quoted in a New Yorker profile:
Some people in the press, I think, are just lazy as hell. There are times when I pitch a story and they do it word for word. That’s just embarrassing. They’re adjusting to a time that demands less quality and more quantity. And it works to my advantage most of the time, because I think most reporters have liked me packaging things for them. Most people will opt for what’s easier, so they can move on to the next thing. Reporters are measured by how often their stuff gets on Drudge. It’s a bad way to be, but it’s reality.This, to me, is a much more substantive and accurate critique of the political media than the usual "liberal bias" horseshit.
From the creator of Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit:
I'd love to see a Jeremy Piven version, where he gets more hair as the years go by.
News Item: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez writing memoir
- Regardless of all the political nonsense, the focus should be on the people who got shot. They're the story here, they're the ones who suffered, and that's where our attention belongs.
- Great speech by Obama last Wednesday. Him at his best. And you can tell he did a good job because most people on the right praised it and those who didn't were left laughably grasping at straws.
- No, Sarah Palin and other politicians who have used gun sights and other violent imagery for political purposes are not directly to blame for what happened in Tucson. But it's still a terrible, ill-advised and callous thing to do, and does not speak well of people who have done it (and Democrats who have done it in the past, I'm talking to them too.) As soon as the shooting happened, and it got out that she had put Giffords on a gun sight map, Palin should have come out and apologized. But she didn't, because she can't, because her brand is that she never, ever apologizes.
- When it comes to political rhetoric, don't talk about, or hint at, shooting people. That's not a crazy standard to ask for, right?
- Conservatives who believe that the biggest outrage to come out of this is that people are being too mean to them need to get a grip. First of all, I thought they were against victim mentalities. Second of all, the biggest tragedy is that five people are dead. That bothers me much, much more than people getting their feelings hurt. Being criticized is better than being killed.
- I don't want to hear that the shooting shouldn't be "politicized." The assassination of a politician always is just that, political. And the shooter did have a political motive- it may not have necessarily lined up with right or left, or even with reality. But he did have a reason for wanting a particular elected official dead.
- It's interesting that gun control is now virtually a dead issue in American politics. I get why- the Democrats have realized that it's not a winning issue for them and therefore, aside from at the city level, it's not even being discussed. I'm not even saying I'm necessarily for gun control- I just think there should be a debate about it.
- Someone should tell the people who ran out and bought guns after Obama was inaugurated, fearing he was about to take them all away, about the previous paragraph.
- Gaby Giffords is going to survive and become an important person in politics for a long time.
On 97.5 the Fanatic this morning, Sal Paolantonio and a sidekick whose name I didn't catch were getting all pissy because Andy Reid, who fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott over the weekend, has not yet given a press conference to explain the move (Reid, apparently is on vacation.)
"Why won't Reid speak" is actually a pretty common weapon in the Anti-Eagles Movement arsenal. I remember Cataldi brandishing it after the Brian Dawkins departure, even stating repeatedly, "when the city was bleeding, why wouldn't Andy speak to us?" As if he were our daddy or something.
It's always amusing when media people who hate Andy Reid, specifically rip his press conference performance, and would likely be bashing his explanation regardless of what it was, complain that... they're not getting a press conference. As if anyone cares about athletes or coaches not talking to reporters other than reporters themselves.
Then Paolantonio compared Reid's vacation excuse with BP CEO Tony Hayward, who said "I want my life back" during the oil spill. Because clearly, it's the exact same thing.
When the hosts closed the segment with "up next, we'll talk to Matt Millen," I flipped the channel permanently.
Amusing commercial that aired during football Sunday:
Much better than the humiliation-fetish Bud Light bartenders.
Lindy West on "The Green Hornet":
Basically, the structure is this: Britt runs around making obnoxiously stupid mistakes, then Kato (Jay Chou—funny, deadpan) bails him out. Then Britt, ever ungrateful, yells at Kato for no reason. Then Kato invents some insane rocket launcher thingy to stick on top of their car. Then Britt tells Kato that he’s a stupid piece of shit. Then Kato saves Britt’s ass again. KATO. LISTEN. THIS IS AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. You can do better! You don’t need this, man
I think all of us, in these times, could stand to take a lesson or two from Dr. King's life and work. At any rate, I'm glad I had the chance to visit the Martin Luther King museum and historical site in Atlanta last fall, and I'm proud that my son and Dr. King have the same birthday.
Some not-so-nice and possibly not-so-fair thoughts on some movies that are reasonably far away:
- The new "Spiderman." They released a still of this movie that will not come out for 18 more months. Eh. I'm not an Andrew Garfield fan. He reminds me of Orlando Bloom and Gael Garcia Bernel- he's just a wispy non-entity and I've never liked him in anything, even the Facebook movie. Then again, it couldn't possibly be as disastrous as the Broadway version.
- Paul Greengrass' thriller about the Martin Luther King assassination. Sounds to me like a remake of Emilio Estevez's "Bobby." And a thriller about the King assassination? I already know what happened, and it wasn't very thrilling. Greengrass' shaky-cam probably won't change that.
- Rourke as Gareth Thomas. I'm all for a movie about the openly gay Welsh rugby star. But the problem is... Rourke is too old for the part by about 25 years (he's 58, Thomas is 36, but I'd imagine the movie will cover events in the past). And it's not like Rourke is in any position to "play young."
A radio station here in Philly, Q102, has launched an intriguing contest:
Q102 PhillyNow leave aside the appropriateness of this particular contest. How could it possibly be legal, or compliant with medical ethics to give away a surgical procedure as part of a radio contest? Whatever happened to concert tickets?
Do your Boobies need some help? Q102 and Monarch Med Spa want to hook you up with a $6,000 breast enhancement! Upload a pic of your covered boobies for a chance to win! Get all the details below!
How is it possible to go broke selling TastyKakes? What am I missing here? Isn't the job practically done for them?
Remember these commercials from 1993?
Most of those things, of course, are now standard in American life. But AT&T had little to do with most of them.
The director of these ads? David Fincher. Seriously.
A Mike Missanelli caller's Eagles offseason plan:
1. Franchise Michael Vick
2. Hope he has a really good year in 2011
3. Trade him to whichever team has the #1 pick next year (presumably after franchising him a second time) and take Andrew Luck.
What could possibly go wrong?
Then again, Bleacher Report makes the radio callers sound like Bill James.
I'm as sick of Rex Ryan feet jokes as anyone, but I thought this was damn hilarious.
News Item: Twins re-sign Jim Thome
At just $3 million plus incentives, it's a great deal for the team, and it'll be good to have Thome back in the fold. If nothing else, he gave us the best SI cover in Twins history last year.
We all know there's a scourge of overlaughing on football analysis shows. But here I think we've hit a new low with the NFL Network:
I also think Danny Woodhead just got a new nickname.
I review the misbegotten "Green Hornet" at the Patch, my first official review over there.
I was just saying that about "All the President's Men." All the times they were looking for information would've just been a Google search. And Deep Throat would've just texted him.
Balloon Juice, parodying cable news:
“Up next, the Obama administration says the sky is blue and the grass is green, while Republican congressmen claim this is just another lie from the most liberal socialist and possibly Muslim administration ever designed to cover their power grabs over the environment and that claiming the sky is blue hurts job creation. Who is right? Send us your thoughts via email, and don’t forget to take part in Rick Klein’s poll- “Who is most responsible for all this nasty partisanship?” Also, we’ll be checking Sarah Palin’s twitter feed live, hoping to see if she has weighed in on blueksygate, and we think we have more pole-dancing footage of the missing showgirl.”
News Item: Johnny Weir comes out as gay
The end of the Eagles season on Sunday seemed so perfunctory that I didn't even comment on it. The defense and offensive line sucked, and Michael Vick looked almost human, as the team lost to Green Bay and went out in the first round for the second straight year.
And now, lockout time! The team also has a decision to make on Michael Vick, or Kevin Kolb. Vick was certainly super-exciting and brought the team some great victories, but he certainly seemed to wane down the stretch, and his comeback has lots of eerie parallels to Randall Cunningham on the 1998 Vikings (although Cunningham was much older, and not an ex-con.) Kolb may seem like ideal insurance, but now he wants a trade, and the Eagles may be able to actually get something for him.
It's my word processing application of choice, and I use it for everything- including this blog post. Napco-owned website Appletell has more.
I really think Debbie Friedman's death has affected me more than the passing of any famous person in my lifetime, other than Kirby Puckett and probably Paul Wellstone. I've been hearing and singing her songs, literally, for my entire life, and her music was a huge part of my long-ago life as a camp songleader and synagogue music teacher.
The healing service that she led at the Hava Nashira songleading workshop in 1997 was one of the beautiful things I've ever been a part of. It was filmed for her documentary "A Journey of Spirit," although I haven't seen it.
Wow. Sarah Palin really has no soul. Does she know what "blood libel" has historically meant? It's accusations made up against Jews specifically- the most famous one is that we drink the blood of Christian children for the Passover Matzah- in order to justify killing Jews. No one is trying to kill Palin. They're just criticizing her.
Clearly Sarah Palin is not to blame for the events in Tucson, although I'm not sure I've heard anyone suggest that she is. But the target map she put out- which included someone who ended up getting shot- was a horribly short-sighted and vile thing to do, and there's no responsible reaction for her to have now except to apologize. But she can't, because it's contrary to Sarah Palin's brand. She can never, ever apologize for anything.
Cain, for what it's worth, is a former stablemate of mine from the North Star Writers Group days.
My E-Gear review of the Orb TV system is online here.
In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.
Next week's "How I Met Your Mother" will find the gang in Minnesota, where they presumably attend Marshall's father's funeral. It will probably be either my favorite or least favorite episode ever of the series.
This is pretty brilliant. How many blog posts tie in references to both "In the Company of Men" and Season Five of "The Wire"?
Howard Eskin, in seeking to minimize the Eagles' playoff loss during the coach's show Monday night, actually said, "you know, for some perspective, what we really need to be thinking about right now is Dallas Green's granddaughter."
Well, yes I suppose it's true that the Eagles losing isn't as bad as the murder of a nine-year-old girl. But what kind of obtuse bullshit is that? Couldn't you say that about any sports loss, ever? So why even talk about sports at all?
The people in the booth with him couldn't distance themselves from that fast enough.
This "Daily Show" bit/"Star Wars" analogy may have been guest-written by Kevin Smith:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Barack Obama Is Luke Skywalker|
Is there anything better than watching a whole week of "Daily Show"s in a row?
A Boston Herald editorial shows what's really important about the events in Arizona:
The only thing more shameful than the tragedy in Arizona right now is the reaction of congressional Democrats who are using the attempted assassination of a colleague for the most base of political purposes.Yes, of course political blustering is "more shameful" than THE BRUTAL MURDER OF SIX PEOPLE. It's not even close. And the real victims aren't those offended by political proposals that probably won't ever be enacted. The real victims are the people who got shot.
And the real victim here - if they have their way - will be the free speech rights of all Americans.
And what's wrong with making it illegal to threaten an elected official? Isn't that illegal anyway?
Arianna Huffington, in a speech I saw her give Friday night:
First Huffington took the stage to share her take on technology's three most significant trends: social media as the new entertainment; using technology to help others, like the texting-based charity drive to aid Haiti's earthquake victims; and the need to occasionally disconnect from ubiquitous connectivity.Arianna Huffington, a couple of days later:
"We need to unplug and recharge," she said. "We need a GPS for the soul."
Turns out Arianna Huffington really was hauled off a plane for questioning yesterday.She must've left her GPS For the Soul back in Las Vegas.
Huffington reportedly annoyed a fellow passenger on a flight from Washington D.C. to NYC when she continued to chat and text on her phone after the order had gone out for electronic devices to be put away (please, as if we all haven't done the exact same thing on occasion).
According to the New York Post, fellow passenger Ellis Belodoff, 53, of Plainview, LI "repeatedly ignored warnings to stay in his seat as he leaped up to complain" yelling at Arianna "Hey, lady! Don't you speak English?"
Both were questioned after the plane landed and released without charges. The Post says Huffington later admitted to cops, "I may have turned my Blackberry on too early."
Gizmodo, on Barho Ventilation Facilities Co, who were responsible for "the worst booth at CES," consisting only of a couple of abandoned fans:
I came across this appallingly bleak scene in the dreaded back end of the South Hall of CES, populated mostly by seedy manufacturers of cheap cables and switches and other miscellaneous crap that will probably be responsible for an electrical fire sometime this year. I guess this company sells fans? Or maybe they’re selling the chair? At any rate, they’re excelling at pushing one product in particular: horrible depression.
Gizmodo is certainly right- you probably don't need 90 percent of those "widgets" on connected TVs.
This is shocking, even for him.
After a sad day, I needed the laugh from this:
This is what they were trying to approximate.
I just returned to Philly from five days at International CES in Las Vegas. It was my third time there, and I don't feel like I'm sick of it yet (a lot of the veterans I talk to seem to start dreading it by the 9th or 10th time.)
A few notes, some of them with links to articles I published during the show:
- I stayed at the Riviera. Never, ever do that. It's like a little piece of Atlantic City right on the Vegas Strip. It's just old, and not in a good way- and the Internet that I was paying $15 a day for didn't work, at all, which is sort of a problem when you're an online editor like I am. In fact, the only place in Vegas with dependable WiFi during CES week is... the airport. Which is the opposite of every other city.
- Unfortunately this year I didn't get to spend as much time on the show floor as I normally do- I was at a lot of speeches, panels, and in meetings, so I only was able to walk the halls on a couple of occasions. The Intel, Sony and Samsung booths were awesome as usual, although the bottleneck between the Intel and Microsoft booths in the Central Hall were impossible to navigate every time I went through.
- It's all about the tablets! All I can say is that tablets are absolutely everywhere, the prices are going to come down rapidly, and I can't imagine any of them unseating the iPad anytime soon. The Droid-like Xoom from Motorola looked pretty cool, and I was impressed with the Vizio VIA Tablet as well. I was standing behind Engadget's Joanna Stern when she did this Toshiba Tablet hands-on- those things take awhile, apparently. (See my article about Toshiba's glasses-free 3D and tablet.)
- I went to the Microsoft keynote with Steve Ballmer on Wednesday night, and wasn't really wowed by anything except for the Kinect/Netflix demo. As for Avatar Kinect, their new feature in which you and your friends can create avatars and have an online conversation- that's just something I can't imagine anyone ever doing.
- I saw 50 Cent, who I heard was going to be there, outside the South Hall Thursday. I was waiting in line for a mens' room in a corner of the lobby- CES is so male-heavy that the mens' room always has a line and the womens' never does- when I heard a voice yell "is that a private bathroom?" When a security guard said yes, five large men suddenly pushed into the area, and an sixth, smaller man darted into the bathroom. That was Fitty, it appears, and the rest were his entourage.
- Friday night I went to the annual Leaders in Technology Dinner, in which the keynote was an "interview" between Arianna Huffington and Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. Honestly, I would've preferred Hastings had given the speech solo. Huffington kept cracking jokes about Jeff Bewkes' shot at Hastings earlier in the week, even though it was clear that no one in the room had any idea what she was talking about. This was one of those events where the people sitting at the table with me had much more illuminating things to say than the people on stage.
- I met a couple of guys who work for iRobot, the maker of the Roomba. One of them knew about DJ Roomba, while the other didn't.
- I went to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's annual one-on-one interview with CEA's Gary Shapiro, in which Genachowski 1) talked about spectrum, over and over again, 2) Didn't take any questions from the audience, 3) Darted out of the room as soon as the speech was over, and 4) Did not, at any point mention net neutrality. Oh well, at least he's not threatening to censor video games. (See my E-Gear article.)
- I saw a panel of movie directors- Michael Mann, Oliver Stone and Baz Luhrmann- at the Panasonic booth, where they talked up Blu-ray and clips were shown of their films. For Mann- rather than "Heat," "The Insider," or anything else, they showed the super-bloody climax of "Last of the Mohicans," in which several people die violently. Luhrmann at one point likened over-produced Blu-ray editions to "a friend who's had too much surgery and you can't recognize them anymore"- hmm, a shot at Nicole Kidman? In a clip they showed of "Moulin Rouge," I was reminded of the long-ago time in which Nik could actually move her face. As for Stone, he came across as surprisingly not-nuts. (See my E-Gear article.)
- The Verizon keynote, which I covered for Dealerscope, not only did not introduce a Verizon iPhone, but it didn't introduce any new 4G products either (that was at a press conference later that day.) In fact, the part that wowed everyone wasn't even from Verizon- it was a Google engineer's demo of the new Honeycomb version of Android for tablets.
- The absolute best panel of the show was in an off-the-beaten path room upstairs in the North Hall and the room was barely half-full. A panel of Hollywood people who shared how they use Twitter and social media to spread their content, on stage were: "Lost" producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, comic and "Chat Show" host Kevin Pollak, "The Shield" and "Terriers" producer Shawn Ryan, "Shit My Dead Says" Tweeter (and writer) Justin Halpern and Amy Aquino, the veteran actress who is now secretary/treasurer of the Screen Actors Guild. Best of all, I got to meet them all- I warned Pollak that Larry King was at the show, and was able to let Aquino know of my family's longtime love for "Brooklyn Bridge," on which she played the mom.
- Audiovox introduced a bunch of stuff- charging stations, docks, and "personal sound amplifiers," which are like hearing aides only they're sold over-the-counter and not FDA-regulated. Here's my Dealerscope article.
- Here's my story about Orb Networks' new Blu-ray system. I've been using the Orb TV device all the time for everything from Netflix streaming to Noah slideshows.
And here's Farhad Manjoo making a very strong argument that it's all a waste of time.
This could work. The Bears, who won the NFC North this year, have a virtual all-star team on the staff of former bad head coaches- Mike Martz, Mike Tice, Rod Marinelli- who are thriving now that they've been demoted back to their natural level of competence. And Singletary, of course, has a history of success in the division.
If you're not Jewish or never went to Jewish youth group or summer camp, you've probably never heard of Debbie Friedman. But if you have, she's a singular figure, a giant- quite simply the most important figure in Jewish music in the past half-century.
Debbie, who has reportedly suffered health problems in recent years, is currently in critical condition in a hospital in California. A healing service for her will be held Sunday night, and will reportedly be streamed to Friedman's hospital room.
I'd be willing to guess roughly half the songs and melodies sung at Jewish summer camps were Friedman compositions, with a lot of her work making its way into synagogues too. I was a songleader in my NFTY and camp days, and her music was a tremendous part of the songs I sang and led. I saw her in concert several times, and participated in a songleading workshop called Hava Nashira, which remains one of the better camp experiences I ever had.
I know whatever camp or youth group experiences my son has, Debbie's music will play a huge part in it.
One of her better known songs is "Mi'Shibarah," a Jewish prayer for healing. People all over the world are saying it for her this weekend:
This is just unbelievably horrifying- 19 people are shot outside an Arizona supermarket, in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and a federal judge and 9-year-old girl were both killed.
We don't know much yet about motivations of the likely shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. But we can say this: When Sarah Palin put out that "target list" of his candidates she wanted to defeat last year- including crosshairs- Giffords was one of the targets. That alone should hang over Palin for the rest of her career- it just illustrates the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of this vile, vile woman.
And I don't want to hear that I'm "politicizing" this tragedy. It was an assassination attempt on a politician- it's political by its very nature. This is a tragedy because people are dead- not because people are "politicizing it."
The ending of "Seven," with stuffed animals:
Brad Pitt's really become a much better actor since then, hasn't he? And Kevin Spacey's gotten so much worse. Morgan Freeman's still about the same.
My list of the ten worst movies of 2011 is online at the Patch.
Also at Patch, I profile the Revolutionary War general, Anthony Wayne, who was the namesake for John Wayne, Bruce Wayne and Fort Wayne.
Bert's induction is wonderful news, and a sign that the statistical revolution is finally starting to pay dividends. The only remaining question is, will Bert drop trou during his convention speech?
As for Robbie, I believe he's the first player in the Hall of Fame whose entire career happened during my lifetime as a baseball fan. I guess Puckett, Ripken, Gwynn, Brett, Sandberg and a few others started playing a little bit before I was a fan.
That said, Jeff Bagwell absolutely should be a Hall of Famer, as should Barry Larkin.
Warming Glow made an astonishing discovery: "I May Be in My Pajamas..." Girl guest-starred on an episode of "Mad Men" as Don Draper's prostitute mother! I'm wondering how in the world I didn't know this before today.
News Item: Michelle Bachmann weighing presidential bid
My first reaction upon hearing this news was to laugh for about ten minutes straight. I didn't think it was possible for the GOP to have a more batshit candidate in '12 than Sarah Palin, but politics surprises me every day. I'm only for a Bachmann candidacy if running means she leaves Congress forever.
Buckley is exceptionally brave- doing this in Boston, and while writing for the conservative newspaper in town to boot. I really, truly hope that Howie Carr gives his honest reaction to the news on the radio today, thereby ending his career.
How many openly gay sportswriters are there? I can only think of L.Z. Granderson, the masthead of Outsports, and now Buckley.
I'm off to Vegas for CES for the rest of the week. Check out Dealerscope.com and E-Gear.com for reports by myself and colleagues; I'll probably post some stuff here as well.
My son talks about his first New Years' Day- including Mummers- in his latest blog post.
Ranking all of the 2010 releases that I saw in 2010, none of which starred Katherine Heigl or were "The Last Airbender":
2. The Social Network
3. Black Swan
4. Toy Story 3
6. The King's Speech
7. Exit Through the Gift Shop
8. Love and Other Drugs
9. The Ghost Writer
10. Easy A
11. How to Train Your Dragon
12. Tron: Legacy
13. 127 Hours
14. Solitary Man
15. Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him?)
16. The Fighter
17. The Tillman Story
18. Winter's Bone
21. The Kids Are All Right
22. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
24. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
25. Leaves of Grass
26. True Grit
27. Shutter Island
29. Waiting For "Superman"
30. The Switch
31. Hot Tub Time Machine
32. Best Worst Movie
33. Winnebago Man
34. I'm Still Here
35. From Paris With Love
36. The Other Guys
37. She's Out of My League
38. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage
39. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
40. The Expendables
41. Jackass 3D
42. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows, Part I
43. 12th & Delaware
44. Edge of Darkness
45. Youth in Revolt
46. Casino Jack and the United States of Money
47. Art and Copy
48. Get Him to the Greek
49. Going the Distance
50. Dinner For Schmucks
51. The Town
52. Iron Man 2
54. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
55. Art of the Steal
56. Death at a Funeral
57. Date Night
58. The Next Three Days
59. The Losers
60. For Colored Girls
61. Brooklyn's Finest
62. Valentine's Day
63. The Karate Kid
65. Cop Out
66. Morning Glory
69. The Greatest
70. Repo Men
71. Leap Year
72. The Book of Eli
73. It's Kind of a Funny Story
74. The Killer Inside Me
75. Never Let Me Go
76. Eat Pray Love
77. Alice in Wonderland
79. The Extra Man
80. Green Zone
81. Robin Hood
82. Jonah Hex
83. Sex and the City 2
Andrew Sullivan, responding to a Rich Lowry column arguing for national greatness:
Imagine that once a month or so, Michael Jordan called a press conference, confidently listed his achievements as a basketball player, and insisted, "My greatness is simply a fact." He'd be correct: he was a spectacular basketball player, arguably the best in history. Same with Tiger Woods. Or Stephen Hawking. On the other hand, we're put off when people announce their own greatness – experience has taught that they're usually doing so because they're a braggart, or a narcissist, or a bully. (In Rich Lowry's case, it's intellectual bullying - wielding the collective club of nationalism against genuine worries about America's fiscal bankruptcy, academic decline, and economic stagnation).Lewis Black made a similar point:
- The Vikings go with Leslie Frazier as coach. I'm all for it, although he'll likely be presiding over a major, multiyear rebuilding project. As for Joe Webb, I'm impressed that he got as far as he did, but I can't see him being the long-term solution at quarterback.
- I have a hard time getting outraged about a team with a losing record (the Seahawks) making the playoffs as a division winner. Oh, who cares? They'll go into the playoffs as an underdog and besides, this is about a once-in-a-century ocurrence that under no circumstances should lead to rule changes.
- So new Denver general manager John Elway- a former Stanford quarterback- is trying to lure JIm Harbaugh- the current Stanford coach- to the Broncos as coach. How can he justify taking the coach away from his own alma mater?
- The Eagles lost to Dallas after pulling all their starters, and will face Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs next Sunday. I have nothing to add, except that with half their never-that-great defense injured, a Philly loss wouldn't surprise me.
News Item: Pete Postlewaite dies at age 64.
Loved him in lots of movies, most notably "The Usual Suspects" and "in the Name of the Father." He disappeared for many years- now, I learn, because he was battling cancer- but had a memorable turn in last year's "The Town" as the world's scariest florist.
Martin Peretz may be a racist old coot who's not a great writer with whom I'm ashamed to share an alma mater. But I do agree with one of his opinions. From a recent profile in New York magazine:
Peretz has never belonged to any synagogue. “I don’t know that world,” he says. His children like the liberal congregation B’nai Jeshurun, on 88th Street and Broadway, and so Peretz goes now and then. He went for Yom Kippur this year and found that during the Al Chet prayer—the traditional confession of sins—the congregation had added some of its own. “I lie, I cheat, I steal”—this part is standard. “They added, ‘I’m homophobic. I’m lookist.’ Do you know ‘lookist’? We look at good-looking people. ‘I am ageist.’ And”—here was the breaking point for Peretz—“we crawl to peace and rush to war.” He shook his head. “I mean, fuck these fancy Upper West Side rabbis.”I've been to that synagogue. He's right-on about "these fancy Upper West Side rabbis."
My first movie article for the Patch is my Top Ten movies list for 2010.
Here's how we spent New Years Day, at the Mummers Parade:
Let's just say open-container laws were enforced rather selectively throughout the city today.
When approaching investors prior to filming, Six did not mention the mouth-to-anus aspect of the plot, fearing it would put off potential backers. The financiers of The Human Centipede did not discover the full nature of the film until it was complete.They never do mention that, do they?
News Item: Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew has cancer
Filmdrunk on "Yogi Bear"
To say that Yogi Bear is bad is an insult to body odor, rotten egg farts and people who can’t determine the difference between your and you’re. To say it’s terrible is an insult to latex fetishists, men who wear Capri pants and the Westboro Baptist Church. This movie is so atrocious that not even the now famous alternate ending made me feel better when I rewatched it after sitting through this hour-and-a-half crotch stomp. I expect this kind of visual feces from Dan Aykroyd and even the guy from Ed. Anna Faris and especially Justin Timberlake are better than this. If they were professional athletes they’d be benched for this performance. Average people are fired when they exhibit this kind of failure in the workplace. The people who made Yogi Bear have done an epic injustice to the Hanna Barbera cartoon classic. The Yogi Yahooeys are banned from this year’s Laff-A-Lympics.