Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NOW, IF TWO OF THIS YEAR'S FEMALE WINNERS CAN TALK, AND NOT ABOUT MEN ...  Congratulations to Alison Bechdel, documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing) and the rest of this year's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" winners.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

FRITTERIN'! FRITTERIN' AWAY!  Go. Go now and read Linda Holmes' deep dive into The Music Man's "Ya Got Trouble," and not only will you enjoy her analysis of how cultural panics never change, but you'll also find out, finally, what Bevo and Cubebs are:
And ragtime! Shameless music that will grab your son, your daughter in the arms of a jungle animal instinct
Well, it wouldn't be a classic cultural panic without a little appeal to racism about a genre of music that originated in black communities and how it's going to bring out the out-of-control, sex-having jungle animal in your nice little kids (including daughters, mentioned here for the first and only time during a rant that's been mostly about boys).
Yes, it's another song for which there is a performance by the My Little Pony players.

Monday, September 15, 2014

ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINO?  There is a Zoolander 2 script, and Will Ferrell is back.
WHILE DECLINING TO DEFEND "FRIED LASAGNA":  Oh, the war's not over. Darden's defending Olive Garden's breadsticks, and more, in a 24-slide deck.
Olive Garden’s salad and breadsticks have been an icon of brand equity since 1982. It conveys Italian generosity and our salads have the highest loyalty rating of any menu item based on the menu satisfaction surveys we conduct.
I KNOW YOU WANT THIS:  Remember that copyright litigation between Marvin Gaye and the folks behind Blurred Lines?  Well, Pharrell and Robin Thicke's depositions have now been made public, and let's just say that they perhaps didn't go so well.  Apparently, Pharrell wrote the whole song, Thicke was stoned out of his mind, and Pharrell explains that he respects Marvin Gaye because he's an Aries.
BETTER CALL SAUL MATT: Spotted yesterday at Philly BrickFest, a rather super-cool traveling Lego festival, were these minifigs for sale ($50) as the "Albuquerque Action Squad!", labeled "Legal Defense Enthusiast, "Drug Dealing Enthusiast," and "Law Enforcement Enthusiast."

WHOSE CUISINE REIGNS SUPREME?  The AV Club ranks every cooking competition show, segregating self-contained standalone competitions from serialized, season-long fare. (A better question, perhaps: rank the Top Chef seasons?)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

THANK YOU. I JUST HAD IT STUFFED:  Our friend Carrie Rickey interviewed David Lynch at an event this weekend, and they got to the topic of surprising films in his DVD library, and she asked whether he had any from Esther Williams' collection of water ballets:
And Lynch smiled. 
He told an anecdote about the day he spied Williams in a restaurant. He strolled up to her table and said, “I’ve had a crush on you since third grade.” She thanked him, and then asked, “Why did you make Isabella Rossellini show her beaver?”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

PAGING MARILYN HAGERTY! PAGING ROBERT IRVINE! Sure, you can just read the articles about it, but it's a lot more fun to actually page through the 294-slide presentation a major investor prepared on Olive Garden's failings, and how to fix them. Some highlights:
  • "Now Olive Garden serves dishes that are astonishingly far from authentic Italian culture, such as burgers & fries, Spanish tapas, heavy cream sauces, more fried foods, stuffed cheeses, soggy pasta, and bland tomato sauce."
  • "'Buy one entrĂ©e, take one home' and other recent promotions appear to be inconsistent with Italian culture – not to mention the extreme portion size is inconsistent with authentic Italian values and creates enormous waste."
  • "If you google 'how to cook pasta', the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water. How does the largest Italian dining concept in the world not salt the water for pasta?"
  • "Soup preparation: We believe Darden should bring the base in and add a few ingredients in the restaurant, not cook from scratch at each individual restaurant as it currently does, since it gets little credit from customers for its 'homemade' soups."
  • "We will no longer disregard sound nutrition. Nutrition will not be the driving force, but it will now be carefully considered while greatly improving the taste and appeal of every dish.... Portion sizes may be gradually reduced, as guests will begin to equate Olive Garden’s value proposition more with quality and excellence at fair prices, than with massive quantities of barely edible fried items, excessive cheeses, and heavy cream sauces."

Friday, September 12, 2014

FISHMONGERS AND GROGGY TAGI:  I spent some time last night recording an episode of the Purple Rock Podcast, as part of their review of all Survivor seasons past. If you've never listened before, Survivor fans, duh, start with this one.

We discussed Borneo, All Stars I, Guatemala, and Thailand, so there's a lot of talk about Survivor's icky history in dealing with sexual assault, but also my pontificating on all the things which made Borneo groundbreaking television, evolution in the show and Jeff Probst's role over time, whether All Stars was disappointing given how many fan favorites left early, and why certain seasons (and participants) are canonical.  Below the fold, what I had sent them for my overall season rankings:

WHY WON'T YOU COME TO YOUR SENSES? The Eagles are playing Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.  Opening for them?  The little known JD & The Straight Shot, which makes sense when you realize that the band is fronted by MSG owner (and Knicks fan whipping boy) Jim Dolan.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THAT'S THE NEWS, AND THEY'RE STICKING TO IT:  Weekend Update will have a different anchor team in a few weeks.  Surprisingly, it's Cecily Strong, and not Colin Jost, getting the axe, with Strong being replaced by Michael Che, who'll be Update's first African-American anchor.