Lots of reviews this week- "The Rum Diary," as well as four selections from the Philadelphia Film Festival.
I saw Buddy Valestro, TLC's "Cake Boss," operator of Hoboken's Carlo's City Hall Bakery and baker of my birthday cake in 2003, at CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis last month. Here's a video I put together of him delivering a giant cake in the shape of a remote control.
I know Joe Buck's use of the "we'll see you... tomorrow night" call for David Freese's Game 6 walk-off homer was controversial- some saw it as a sweet tribute to a father by his son, while others considered it sacrilege. Put me in the latter camp.
Sure, I'm biased, as a Twins fan who considers that probably my all-time favorite sports moment, and also as someone who's not particularly a fan of Joe Buck. But announcing a game isn't karaoke, and great calls in the past should remain great calls in the past.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush was at the game that night, marking a rare moment in which Buck isn't the most flagrant beneficiary of nepotism in a particular room at a particular time.
Here's a standout look at the various bizarre Brian Wilson Chalupa commercial, and Taco Bell ads in general. I think I know why no one eats anything in Taco Bell ads- because they have to film multiple takes.
A montage of Steve Buscemi's various movie deaths:
Baseball's never broken, but everyone always thinks it is, so they come up with ridiculous ten-point "how to fix baseball" lists. My favorite was the recent one suggesting that games be reduced to seven innings.
Anywhere, here's a perfect parody of the genre.
Sullivan on the GOP field:
"My own take on this is that Cain is a great performer - he makes a living as a motivational speaker, after all - and the rest of the field is hobbled by one glaring problem respectively, while Cain isn't. Perry is simply too dumb and lazy to be president. Romney too transparently opportunist for a purist party. Paul is disqualified because of foreign policy. Bachmann is a programmed bonkers-bot. Santorum is a frothy substance whose views of the world are frozen in place sometime around 1986. Gingrich is an asshole who could never win the presidency, and even those who like his permanent smirk/snarl understand that. Huntsman might as well be Al Sharpton, because of his views on climate change, gays and because of his working for Satan. No wonder Cain has a shot, given the debates. He is likable and brilliant at simple, effective presentation. He has the skills of an actor, and a roguish shamelessness that reminds me a little of Clinton. Even though you know he's a total charlatan, you still kinda like the guy."
This exists. And they talk a bit more about soccer than Tony and Mike do:
So we're headed for yet another legislative showdown in Minnesota over a stadium, this time the Vikings. A special session is set for next month in which lawmakers will consider whether to approve a state contribution to a new Vikings stadium in suburban Arden Hills.
Now, many people- led by the Vikings management, some politicians, Sid Hartman and especially that preening ass Mike Florio- would like for us to believe that if this stadium bill doesn't get approved this month, the Vikings are as good as gone to Los Angeles, probably as soon as 2012. Those people are all very, very wrong.
My prediction is, the bill doesn't get passed this year, as I can't see a Tea Party-controlled state legislature that just had a government shutdown finding a few hundred million lying around to throw at Zygi Wilf. But will the Vikings leave? No they will not. And that's because Los Angeles doesn't have their act together in terms of a stadium either. They have two proposals, both of which have big problems, and neither is likely to earn final passage in the near future.
I expect the Vikings situation to drag on for several more years, with a solution eventually emerging that puts a new stadium somewhere in downtown Minneapolis. But remember- the Twins' stadium debate dragged out for 12 years, and in that time the team came much closer, on more than one occasion, to leaving town than the Vikings are now.
The best situation would be an open-air stadium- better to give the Vikes the late-season advantage that cold-weather home towns enjoy- that requires not a whole lot of public funds. And no, it should not be in Arden Hills.
Chuck Klosterman, getting back to what he does best: Informed, snarky rock writing:
The universe is predisposed to hate this new Lou Reed/Metallica album, Lulu, and I totally understand why. It's not really designed for people who like music. It sounds like what it is: an elderly misanthrope reciting paradoxical aphorisms over a collection of repetitive, adrenalized sludge licks. Anyone who tries to suggest it's surprising in any way needs to reexamine his or her propensity for being surprised. I'm sure there will be a sector of Metallica's core audience that feels "betrayed," mostly because Metallica fans enjoy the sensation of betrayal.1 I suppose a handful of Lou Reed obsessives will consider this record hilarious as long as they don't have to listen to it, and I'm certain some contrarian rock critic will become Internet Famous for insisting it's more subversive than Transformer and a musical reaction to both Occupy Wall Street and the subpar drum production on St. Anger. It will be legally purchased by the 13,404 Metallica completists who saw Some Kind of Monster on opening weekend, unless the album is exclusively sold at Walmart, in which case it will enter the Billboard charts at no. 2. Rolling Stone will give it 2½ stars and then pretend it never happened; meanwhile, people who thought The "Priest" They Called Him was a brilliant idea will hold a vague, misplaced grudge against Dave Mustaine while sleepwalking to the methadone clinic.
It is not a successful record.
It might be a successful simulation of how it feels to develop schizophrenia while suffering from a migraine, although slightly less melodic.
I detail several recent Apple store and Best Buy break-ins in the latest Week in Electronics Retail Crime roundup.
My son has a new blog post, including some big news.
I dismantle the worst Apple-related column of the year on my E-Gear blog.
My native state obviously can't do a thing on any non-WNBA sports field but hey, we seem to have conquered the map.
Now that he's written a book all but calling for a race war, it's obviously time for MSNBC to do the right thing. There's a petition to that effect, in fact.
Tara Murtha had a great cover story in Philadelphia Weekly this week about the wonderful comment sections on Philly.com, which are filled with a combination of hateful invective, poorly reasoned and poorly-spelled argumentation and outright racism. And that's just on the sports stories...
Calling black people animals, references to monkeys, phrases like “welcome to the jungle, baby” and “That’s how it go in da hood” are all standard comments beneath crime stories on Philly.com when the perp is black. And we haven’t even gotten to the anal rape fantasies that regularly litter sexual offender and police corruption stories. I cringe as bloodlust-y readers work themselves into a lather writing about how they can’t wait for the offender to learn what “being a bitch” is from “Big Bubba.”There's a Tumblr, too!
The New York Times had a standout piece last week by Tony Gervino, a New York born-and-bred journalist who is a lifelong, die hard Minnesota Vikings fan despite never having lived in Minnesota and having no family ties to the area.
I briefly worked with Tony ten years ago and while we barely knew each other, and I distinctly remember talking Vikings with him in the elevator. Come to think of it, between being fired from that company and the 41-0 NFC title game loss against the Giants, January 2001 wasn't such a great month for me.
"Pardon the Interruption" is celebrating its tenth anniversary this week. I hardly watch the show anymore, but it was hugely influential and I watched it religiously for many years. During a particularly bad period for ESPN- i.e., 2002 through 2006 or so- it was about the only thing on the network worth watching.
Here's a montage of opening bits:
SB Nation has it.
I review "The Mighty Macs" at Patch.
The best character from "The League" gets a monologue:
I review the new iPhone 4S at E-Gear.com.
A really fascinating theory of the last few episodes of "Breaking Bad" season four:
Charles Pierce, on Pat Buchanan's new book, in which he admits that his version of America is losing:
This is a guy who never had a moment in public life where he didn’t do something vile and destructive to the notion of a political commonwealth, and his continued presence as a TV wise man has been something of a disgrace to that profession, and mine.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Scorn in the U.S.A.|
News Item: Vikings bench McNabb for Christian Ponder
I am, of course, a longtime Donovan fan who advocated for the Vikings to acquire him for about five years, but clearly the timing was wrong, his best days are behind him, and the team, in general, is just really, really bad.
I wish Mr. Ponder luck, and as for Donovan, I expect him to retire after this year and go on to a successful broadcasting career. And someday he's going to write a great, great autobiography.
Last week's episode of "Community" was easily the best non-"Breaking Bad" episode of TV this year, featuring seven different timelines of the characters. Here's all seven together and thankfully, Alison Brie is in all seven:
I review "The Big Year," simultaneously the best and worst bird-watching movie ever made, at Patch.
"The Office" writer/performer Mindy Kaling is one of my favorite people in American pop culture, her Twitter is a must-follow and I can't wait to read her new book. She had a really good New Yorker piece the other week about chick-flick tropes that everyone should go and read.
Michael Schur, the FireJoeMorgan blogger turned "Parks and Recreation" creator, had a great piece at Grantland this week about the Red Sox, that insulting Boston Globe postmortem and how when it comes to analysis of end-of-season collapses, it's usually all about the narrative. This guy should give really givre this sports commentary thing a try!
It's been over a week since the Philadelphia Phillies, a seeming team of destiny, was eliminated from playoff contention by losing Game 5 of the first round to St. Louis. And adding insult to injury Ryan Howard, after repeatedly struggling throughout the series' last four games, tore his Achilles on the game's final play, likely knocking him out for a large chunk of the 2012 season.
What does this loss tell us? That the Phils didn't have enough "grit" or "killer instinct," that they didn't want it it enough, that a major housecleaning is needed in the organization? No. What it tells us is that they didn't peak at the right time, and happened to not be hot the week it mattered. It seemed before the year that the Phils had acquired enough pitching that it made losing a five-game series all but impossible; the NLDS shows, once again, that there's no such thing as guaranteeing a championship.
In the years that they've been good, the Phillies' greatest weakness- their Achillles heel, pardon the pun- has been a tendency for weeks-long, team-long batting slumps. When the team was eliminated in the 2007 NLDS, 2010 NLCS and now this year, such a slump in the playoffs has been the reason why? What can done about this? The same thing that can be done about avoiding bubbles in the economy- probably nothing.
The Phillies still have a window of several years in which they can win another title. They have Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee signed for years to come and neither of them is yet 35, their offensive nucleaus isn't completely dead, and the team has enough financial resources to fill other holes. But the team really needs to get younger, especially on the offensive side. And that means it's probably a bad idea to bring back Jimmy Rollins for another five years.
Slate's Troy Patterson on "Whitney":
Very probably the worst sitcom on network television, Last Man Standing makes Whitney Cummings look like Noël Coward. It is hammily acted, lousily written, and shoddily designed, with crummy back projections in the driving scenes and harsh happy lighting during the kitchen-island confabs.
I've said enough already about the ridiculous Miller Lite "Man Up" commercials, which are set in a bizarro world in which drinking Miller Lite is manly and drinking any other beer is not, to the point where attractive female bartenders are obligated to let you know that if you order wrong, you practically have a vagina.
Now we have Dr. Pepper, with a new campaign in which it comes right out and says "it's not for women." Yes, the last stand of masculinity is a friggin' diet soft drink.
What's next? A beer commercial in which every time you drink, a woman gets thrown out of a boat?
Jonathan Chait just about sums up my feelings.
And I don't want to hear about the "anti-Semitic character" is the protests. Because two or three people are holding up "Jewish banker" signs? The one video I saw, one guy was screaming about the Jews and everyone else was telling him to shut up.
Yea, the Vikings won a game! Only the 2011 Vikings could be leading 28-0 in the first quarter while the quarterback has just two completions.
Behold, this really, really weird exercise in paralytic parliamentary procedure. Living up to every bad lefty stereotype, from indecisiveness to dirty hippiedom, they spend ten minutes debating whether or not to let civil rights icon John Lewis speak, until he decides to just leave.
This repeat-after-me stuff is really, really weird. And it's embarrassing as hell that they didn't let a giant like Lewis speak- if someone of his stature shows up at your event and offers his support, you let him talk.
That said, the people on the right flogging this have consistently opposed everything John Lewis has stood for for about five decades. Back in 1963, when Lewis spoke at the March on Washington, conservatives were saying all the same things about Dr. King and his ilk that they're saying about Occupy Wall Street now.
I through by the Philadelphia version of the Occupy movement one day last week, and it was neither the revolutionary vanguard of lefty dreams nor the tyrannical socialist looming takeover of conservative nightmares. It seemed to just be a bunch of people hanging around. It wasn't all rich kid either- a lot of homeless people were around, and quite a few people of color, too.
The longtime Raiders owner died over the weekend. He made wonderful contributions to the game, whether to the growth of the AFL, the Raiders' success in the '70s, or in the areas of hiring minority coaches and executives. But I see this much like Michael Jackson's death- everyone effusively praising someone they had not a single positive word to say about for the last 15 years of his life.
No, Einstein didn't say it. A lesbian novelist (and former lover of Martina Navratilova) did. This is especially funny considering I've heard "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" used about 5,000 times by talk show callers as an argument for firing Andy Reid.
If you thought the Marlins' new logo was bad, wait until you see their in-stadium home run presentation.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chuck Knoblauch!
Dustin Rowles of Pajiba on "American Horror Story":
How deep into Ryan Murphy’s ass must F/X be to air this cocked-up, senseless, shitty wet-dream nightmare of camp and stomach-pit revulsion? “American Horror Show” is beyond the pale, over the brick wall, and swimming in hallucinogenic condom spunk. It’s Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest ratcheted it up to 13; it’s Nic Cage in Wicker Man yelling, “Not the bees! Not the bees!” for 45 minutes; it’s every horror-movie convention known to man crammed into Ryan Murphy’s gut and puked back on to the television screen and combined with ass shots, masturbation sequences, and a gimp. A fucking gimp, people. “American Horror Show” is a desperate television; it wants to be sick and perverse and blow-your-socks-off creepy, but ultimately, it’s laughably inane, absurdly dumb, maddeningly overwrought, and plain fucking silly.
And there are 12 more episodes?
I don't have much to add to what has already been said; I've loved Apple products my entire life, and plan to add my first-ever iPhone to the mix next week. Jobs' intellect, creativity, business savvy and sense of style were truly something to behold, and there may never be another like him.
This morning's Dealerscope Today issue, which I edit, paid tribute to Jobs.
And yes, even the younger generation can appreciate Jobs' work:
Yea, Bernard Berrian might want to not talk (or tweet) for awhile. He has more embarrassing incidents this year than he does catches.
The wonderful blog This Commercial Sucks dissects what may be the worst TV commercial of all time.
Leonard Cohen once said of America that it was "the cradle of the best and the worst". Today, we lost one of the very best in American history, a reticent genius and entrepreneur, an inspiration for countless of us who has changed the very fabric of our lives. And we also saw the end of the road for one of the very worst: a nasty, callow, delusional, vicious know-nothing, brewed in resentment, and whose accomplishments could fit on a postage stamp.
Charles Piece on MoDo:
I am firmly convinced that Maureen Dowd has gone, in the immortal words of the late George V. Higgins, “as soft as church music.” As it happens, this is one of those days. The first paragraph of this column is so truly, madly, deeply twisted that Freud would have needed six pounds of cocaine and a bathysphere just to get to the bottom of it.:The unlikely femme fatale from Jersey sashayed into a Trenton news conference and broke a lot of hearts. (Not Snooki’s or Barry’s, of course.)Reading this swill is like discovering that every girl with whom I went to Catholic school spends the day sharpening knives and polishing the human skulls atop the chifferobe. And, well: ick.
I was always a Conan fan, but to be honest- when the commercials started running again during the baseball playoffs, I had almost forgotten he was still on TBS. So, it's good to see him back in the NBC studio, if only for a cameo:
I tee off on the whine-filled reaction to the iPhone 4S in an E-Gear blog post.
I think they meant Jeff Weaver, not Earl.
Adam Serwer, on Herman Cain "playing the race card":
The key phrase here is "fellow Republican." Because, you see, no one thought Cain was "playing the race card" when he said in the same program that black people are "brainwashed" into voting for Democrats and suggested that black people who vote Republican are "thinking for themselves." Cain wasn't rebuked by conservatives when he previously suggested President Barack Obama was not "a strong black man," implied liberals were out to commit genocide against blacks through support for abortion rights, and said he wouldn't appoint a Muslim to his cabinet.
None of that, in the eyes of the conservatives who cheered him for those remarks, constituted "playing the race card." But when a man who is old enough to recall living under American apartheid gets a little emotional over a piece of land called "Niggerhead," that's where the right draws the line. Not just because Cain is attacking a fellow Republican, but because he stepped out of the proper role of a black conservative, which is to reassure Republicans that their political problems with race are the inventions of a liberal conspiracy. Cain just ran head first into the brick wall of conservative anti-anti-racism, the attitude on the right that accusations of racism directed at white people are of far greater consequence than any lingering vestiges of institutional racism nonwhites might face.
The New Black Panther Party is a cartoonish fringe group of a couple guys who play “’60s radical” dress-up and say mean things about whitey for Fox cameras in order to scare old white people. They have been explicitly rejected by the old Black Panther Party. For some reason, various conservatives have dedicated themselves to proving that this weird, marginal group of Nation of Islam cast-offs is somehow supported by or deeply connected to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration in particular, because, you know, Eric Holder and Barack Obama, those are two guys who very obviously share the values of extremist anti-white proponents of racial separation.
- Obama may well lose in 2012, but I don't buy for a second that he's going to do significantly worse with the Jewish vote than any other Democrat generally has. That's because the whole country isn't the 9th district of New York, and not a single Jewish liberal is going to fall for the GOP spin that Obama hates the Jews.
- I think if Chris Christie runs for president, his weight won't be an issue- because, if every fat person in the country voted for him, he would win. What will be an issue is his loudmouth East Coast-ness, which is something that's generally foreign to most people in most of the country. Ed Rendell's never been a viable presidential candidate for the same reason. And of course, he's done unforgivable things like nominating a Muslim judge and not insulting homosexuality strongly enough.
- I don't care that Sarah Palin had an affair with Glen Rice, except that she did so while covering him as a journalist, which seems to be more of an ethical breach than the "lamestream media" has ever committed in their coverage of Palin.
- Rick Santorum is a vile, hateful piece of human garbage. And if you were to rank the GOP presidential field by how evil they are, he'd fall somewhere in the middle of the pack.
- If he gets elected president, Rick Perry would almost certainly be the most right-wing president in U.S. history. Rick Perry is struggling right now because the Republican base perceives him as not right-wing enough.
Whether this little bit of news hurts Perry with the GOP base, or doesn't hurt him, is going to say a whole lot about them. But I can already hear the Fox/talk radio spin- they're going to say that this whole thing is a politically correct witch hunt and personal attack on Perry's family, and anyone who's offended needs to stop being so oversensitive and just get over it.
At any rate, Perry's family reminds me a lot of Louis C.K.'s aunt.
And I especially love that Herman Cain, when asked about this on Fox News Sunday, slammed Perry for it- and he's being lambasted for "playing the race card!" This is hilarious for multiple reasons- that Cain's popularity among conservative evaporates as soon as says something obviously racist is racist, and also because "playing the race card" is generally understood to mean "bringing race into something where it doesn't belong"- it exists here, for sure.
I’ve learned in long years of experience blogging about American politics that there are no racists in the United States. Certainly if there are any, they’re not white people. And certainly if there are any racist white people, they’re not conservatives.Yes, I know, I know- Obama belonged to Jeremiah Wright's church. But was his house called "Kill Whitey"?
Someone on "College Gameday" cued up the wrong version of "Signs":
Judging by Game 2, it may have caused a cover jinx, but everyone should read Gary Smith's profile of Cliff Lee in this week's Sports Illustrated. It's the third in Smith's series about the 2011 Phils, and w
Yes, it's gotten so bad for the Eagles that even the beat writers are getting into fistfights. Though after Sunday, I would expect them to all join forces and pummel Andy Reid instead.