Thursday, May 21, 2015

I CAN HAZ TRIPLE WORD SCORE:  The Scrabble Players' Dictionary has been supplemented with a bunch of new words, and some are rather disturbing, including "eew," "lolz," "newb," and "shizzle."
STILL GIVING HOPE TO PUDGY 12-YEAR-OLD DORKS EVERYWHERE:  Latest update on The Continuing Maturation of Matthew Lewis, the actor who played Neville Longbottom, with an appropriate response from J.K. Rowling. ("Not as bad as watching Dan in Equus, but close. Warn me next time, for God's sake."  And then some.)

[Past links here, here, here,]
IF ANYTHING COULD EVER BE THIS GOOD AGAIN:  I don't have anything unique I can say about Letterman's retirement, or his last show; his impact on comedy and our culture is something we all just know in our bones.  (I also have trouble getting past the creepy stuff with women, which can't be skipped over easily.)

I'll just link to Warren Zevon's final appearance on the show -- not even the performances, just the first part of the interview from October 30, 2002. It's those rare moments of sincerity from Letterman I'll remember most. Dayenu.
I PUT A SPELL ON YOU: There's an official Bee app this year, Buzzworthy, with the ability to "hives" to compete against each other next week based on the spellers everyone picks.  So, of course, we need to win this.  The access code for the ALOTT5MA hive is 7EFA53.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

LOVE THAT CRAZY CRAB!  Here's a a great little 30 for 30 short on the Giants 1984-and-1984-only mascot, Crazy Crab. 
GO AHEAD; DEAL IN ABSOLUTES IF YOU MUST:  One decade after its release, are we prepared to say nice things about Revenge of the Sith, if not quite offer thunderous applause?

Matt's original review is here, and the rest of Ten Years Ago This Week On The Blog will make you feel old.  (Tom v Ian on the Buoys, John Carter leaves ER, Michael Jackson on trial, we all get excited for NBC's The Law Firm reality series, and Matt wonders if Kenan Thompson and others should return to SNL.)
DOODY FREE ZONE:  Local news, don't ever change.

[Yes, gang, I've been quiet lately.  Between yesterday's election and everything around my dad, it's been a lot.  But we have a Spelling Bee next week, and we gonna do what we do -- even though there's a part of me which says, huh, isn't everyone on Twitter at this point? -- because I can't yet imagine fully shifting away from this now-almost-archaic medium.]

Monday, May 18, 2015

AND I WOULD WALK 804 KLICKS AND I WOULD WALK 804 MORE:  I was listening to this Canadian band I like, Great Big Sea, this morning.  A perfectly nice ghost story origin song about a dead pirate who haunts the rocks between Newfoundland and St Pierre.  As he was chased by the RCMP:

They said they heard him laughing
With the Mounties closing in
His engines scream murder
And his face set in a grin

The seagulls started lifting
Like an angry banshee choir
He hit the rocks at 50 klicks
And the sky lit up with fire

I ask you: How is "klick" better than "knot" in this context?

Look, I am a great proponent of the metric system for all scientific endeavors and international sporting events.  I'm fine, too, with keeping every day measurements in English units -- 65 miles per hour speed limits and kids measuring 48" to ride this ride.  But when it comes to songs and poetry written in English, is it ever more poetic to use "kilogram" or "klick" than "pound" or "gallon" or "hogshead" or "mile"?

(I'll not an exception for any songs about smuggling, where "kilo" is to be preferred.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n_JYkI3Y-s

Thursday, May 14, 2015

GUMMI WORMS.  I HATE GUMMI WORMS:  Disney World is getting a new restaurant themed after Star Wars with a chicken and waffles dish called "The Dark Fried" and hot wings called "Thermal Detonators."  There's also an Indiana Jones-themed bar in the works.
DECIDEDLY NOT EXCELLENT:  Harry Shearer may be leaving The Simpsons after 26 seasons, and he could be taking a whole lot of Springfield with him.

added: Sepinwall reporting, per Al Jean, that he's gone.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HI, I'M CONNOR:  Based on the popularity of your name when you were born, what name might you have been given if born in 2015?  

[My 1990s name is Brett; 1980s: Curtis.  In the 19-Aughts, I'd have been a Luther!]

added: We didn't really talk about last week's baby names data dump, so let me add two bullet points:

  • "Arya" is now more popular than "Jennifer."
  • "Khaleesi" was more popular last year than Wendy, Denise, Dana, Sandra, or Kristen.
LANGUAGE OF ORIGIN, PLEASE?  I've been thigh-deep in election season for so long that it's just now occurring to me that the National Spelling Bee is in two weeks. Among other things, it will be the final year of the Decade of Shivashankar, and Vanya's the only new member of the Five Timers Club.  (There are three four-timers as well.)  She's not the only sibling of a former winner -- younger brothers of 2013-14 winners Arvind Mahankali and Sriram Hathwar are also in the field.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

HOME OF JOE BIDEN'S BURNING CULM DUMP ODYSSEY: Gallup polled the residents of 100 US metro areas and asked them how proud they were of their hometowns.  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre came in last.

(Top 5: Des Moines, Greenville, Asheville, Provo, and Raleigh; Youngstown, Stockton, Fresno, and Toledo complete the bottom 5.)

Monday, May 11, 2015

TWO SONGS, ONE SLOT:  Summer power ballad edition--Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" v. Jessie J's "Flashlight."  Who ya got?
BECAUSE PÂTE À CHOUX DOESN'T BAKE ITSELF:  Why restaurants probably don't actually want you to order dessert:
Food in general is tough to make money on. Restaurants have long relied on the mark-up they tack onto drinks, not grub, to boost profits. As food costs soar, that reality has only become more true, because there's a limit to how much people are willing to pay for different parts of their meal. For many mid-scale restaurants, that limit is $30 for entrees, no matter the ingredients, Todd Kliman noted recently in the Washingtonian. For desserts the ceiling is much lower, and much less flexible, says Cowen. 
"Dessert needs good ingredients to taste good, but you can't psychologically convince people to pay even $20 for dessert," Cowen said. "You can't really go cheap on it, but you really can't charge extra either."... 
Parties that might have finished their dinner in a little over an hour instead linger for closer to two when they opt for dessert. And they stay the extra 30 minutes while consuming only a fraction of what they did during the first part of the meal. It would be different if people ordered drinks more often alongside cake, but they often don't. It would change things if dessert wines were more popular, finer and more expensive, but they aren't, Cowen said.
CUE CHEDDAR BAY BREAKFAST BISCUIT SANDWICHES IN 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... As part of its early changes after activist investors took it over, Olive Garden will start offering sandwiches on shorter, wider models of its addictive breadsticks
"Offered only at lunch, both also will come with unlimited, regular breadsticks on the side."
Of course.