Saturday, April 10, 2010


FWIW, I disagree with including Lost episodes in such a survey, since that was the structure of the show as opposed to a Very Special Gimmick. If you think that a Bones episode should honestly poll higher than the Friends one with the prom video or some of the others, then I can respect that. But if you think they're wrong and you won't speak up because you can't be bothered, then God, Jed, I don't even want to know you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

SHE WAS THE VOICE OF DORY! Let's play the Family Feud, where the category is Something Everyone Knows About Ellen DeGeneres:

It's her reactions which really make this classic.
NO, "WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" IS NOT BEING ADDED AS A FINALE:I love Rent and NPH, but his decision to cast HSM alum Vanessa Hudgens as Mimi in his upcoming Hollywood Bowl production of Rent seems a bit off. In a statement there, NPH promises that we will see a "dark, edgy, and very different side of Vanessa Hudgens" in the production. I'll leave aside jokes about other "sides" of Ms. Hudgens that made their way around the Interwebs.
I DRINK YOUR SLUSHIE! Jimmy Fallon's Glee parody continues, this time with added fun from the cast of Parks & Rec and The Roots, with a Glee version of some Twisted Sister--lead vocals from Jimmy and Abby Elliot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

THE RARE PANTSLESS EAGLE: Noted College of William & Mary alum Jon Stewart is miffed that the school has chosen a Griffin as its new mascot, besting among other finalists King William III and Queen Mary II, a pug and a wren. The school's athletic teams will continue to bear the nickname of Tribe (why aren't they the Orange?), though, seriously, shouldn't it be Brandeis' sports teams who call themselves "The Tribe" (as opposed to "Judges")?

In other mascot news of the former Confederacy, no decision yet on The University of Mississippi's search for a new Rebel leader.

P.S. It's now over thirty years since the New Orleans Jazz basketball franchise moved to Salt Lake City. Still no nickname change to reflect the surroundings?
EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS TRIBE IS AN IDIOT: Cannot discuss tonight's Survivor in a non-spoilery way, so join me below the fold.
YOU CAN'T SPELL COMMERCIAL SELF-FLAGELLATION WITHOUT ALL OF THE CHARACTERS IN ALOTT5MA EXCEPT FOR THE 5 AND ONE OF THE Ts: BREAKING NEWS -- MUST CREDIT ALOTT5MA -- We've obtained a copy of the original edit of Nike's Tiger Woods penance commercial. You can kind of see why they edited it down. Video after the jump.
AND DANCE BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON: Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren has died (and really has anyone ever fit the tag of impresario better?) McLaren was 64. In the pre-MTV days in the Chicago suburb where I grew up, we got our music videos via a syndicated show called MV3 and among my favorites was McLaren's pioneering hip-hop track Buffalo Gals, a track which helped usher me away from the my middle-school classic rock diet toward more adventurous fare such as the Sex Pistols. Even though it was a good seven years after it was released, I can still recall the somewhat illicit feeling of purchasing Never Mind the Bollocks... from the Rolling Stone Records in Norridge, on vinyl, natch.
EXEUNT, PURSUED BY A MAN DRESSED AS A GORILLA:I really don't know how to respond to this photo caption.
30 SECONDS LATER, I DO NOT FEEL MORE INCLINED TO BUY SNEAKERS: Nike's first post-scandal Tiger Woods ad, featuring a voiceover from his late father Earl, is, um, interesting.

Related: A lengthy NYMag piece explores the world of bottle servers, VIP hostesses and the folks who drop six figures for a night on the town.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WHAT ARE THEY GONNA SAY ABOUT HIM? WHAT ARE THEY GONNA SAY? THAT HE WAS A KIND MAN? THAT HE WAS A WISE MAN? THAT HE HAD PLANS, MAN? THAT HE HAD WISDOM? BULLSHIT, MAN! Mindful of the apparently dire state of his health, the NYT's Manohla Dargis pens an appreciation of Dennis Hopper.
AMERICA VOTED: And we'll want to talk.
WELCOME BACK RAYNER: As a belated reminder to our readers, Top Chef Masters 2 debuts tonight at 11p on Bravo. Based on my exceptional meals at his restaurant in the past, I am decidedly on Team Tramonto until someone else sways me.
INANITY PLATES: According to Deadspin, the great state of Michigan accidentally awarded two different people the coveted vanity license plate "WLVRNE." I'm confused -- is "with Laverne" slang for "lesbian"?
DESMOND IS MY CONSTANT: Not to adopt anybody else's dayenu review format, but a Desmond episode of Lost? And an exceedingly well-written one, tying together snippets of what we've seen already this season, looping back upon itself, alluding to scenes from past seasons, and offering hints but not explicit answers? Featuring some people we've missed? With even the annoying characters on their best behavior? Yes please, and on a quick first impression, one of my favorite Lost episodes ever.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WHAT ABOUT GRANDPA FAR-R-VAR-RER-RAH: Minnesota Quarterback Brett Favre is a grandfather.
DIDGERIDOO, OR DIDGERIDON'T? What started off as Lennon/McCartney Night wound up as Ethnic Wind Instruments Night (next week: nose flute!) on a decidedly above-average night of American Idol. If only The Outlaw Casey James approached greatness with his earnest take on "Jealous Guy," certainly, at least no one totally sucked. I'd group the other performers as follows:
  • Not That Exciting, But Generally As Good As Always: Crystal, Siobhan, Big Mike and Lee did nothing to put themselves at risk this week.
  • Not That Exciting, But Certainly At Least Competent: Aaron and Tim were both just about the best I've seen them, though like Katie each was a bit boring.
  • It's Time To Go: Sorry, Andrew Garcia, but that Vegas-y arrangement of "Can't Buy Me Love" just killed you. And with three women leaving in a row already, the axe is due for you.
OVER MY DEAD BODY: In a story not dated April 1 (as far as I can tell), Mattel announced that the new Scrabble rules will allow the use of proper names. There won't be any hard and fast rules for what counts, you won't be able to use an ordinary dictionary as your referee, sharp implements will need to be banned, and failed Internet startups are going to devalue the X and the Q beyond recognition.
THE BALL IS DROPPED: I'm not the only one who wants Luther back next year. From Wikipedia (and sure to be edited soon):

Notable artists to sing "One Shining Moment"

Barrett was the original artist, but CBS has also broadcast remakes by Teddy Pendergrass (1994-1999) and Luther Vandross (2003-2009). It is believed to be the last song Vandross recorded before his stroke and subsequent death.[citation needed] A version by Jennifer Hudson was unfortunately used for the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. It ruined an otherwise great tournament. Whoever produced the video in 2010 felt the need to show Hudson as if it were a music video, and it should cost CBS the rights to future tournaments if there's any justice in the world.

Great game and great tourney last night. As much as I wanted to see Butler pull off the upset, I was rooting for Jon Scheyer, who graduated from the same high school as I did, albeit, 20 years later. Scheyer will probably be a second-round pick in the draft and should he make a team in the fall he could increase the MOTT in the NBA to three.

And one last note, I thought the key to the game was Coach K's decision to have big Brian Zoubek guard Bulter's inbound pass with something like 10 seconds to play. Gordon Hayward was unable to get a pass off and forced to call timeout, burning the Bulldogs' last timeout, which would have allowed Butler to reset for their final possession following Zoubek's free throw miss. Love him or more likely hate him, Coach K knows a thing or two about the sport.
NOT FIRED UP: I like Josh Schwartz, and I really liked Kristen Kreuk on Chuck, so I thought I'd probably give Hitched a try. Then I read that the show has cast Sharon Lawrence as Kreuk's mom. Lawrence was just fine as hard-ass D.A. Sylvia Costas in N.Y.P.D. Blue, less fine as Dennis Franz's suffering wife in N.Y.P.D. Blue, and the worst thing about everything she's been in since. She is a charter member of the fraternity of actors and personalities whose work I just cannot bear, irrespective of the quality of the surrounding production -- a group whose roster includes Billy Crystal, Sally Field, Coach from Survivor, Robin Williams, Trump, and Tyra Banks. So long, Hitched, it's been good not knowin' ya.
HIT 'EM LOW, HIT 'EM HIGH: Two residual thoughts on the McNabb trade:
  • Fans are in no position to evaluate the merits of the trade because of what Rumsfeld called the "known unknowns" and what Gladwell would call a puzzle, not a mystery -- we simply don't have sufficient information about Kevin Kolb to determine whether his next 6+ years hold more promise than McNabb's next 3-4. For the coaching staff, on the other hand, it's a more of a mystery under the Gladwell dichotomy: they have lots of information, but can't be sure about what to do with it.
  • For almost a decade, I've been wearing my green McNabb #5 jersey to pretty much every home game. Now what? Among the current players, I'm considering a Jackson #10, Samuel #22, Cole #58, McCoy #25 or Maclin #18, though none feel terribly satisfying at the moment. Do I just go old school and get the Reggie White or Jerome Brown throwback?

Monday, April 5, 2010

SEX. THE PHYSICAL ACT OF LOVE. COITUS. DO YOU LIKE IT? Obvs, this blog does not generally link to websites promoting pornography. That said, a combination of subject matter, production values, fine supporting work from Peter O'Tool and the fact that it's now available on a non-porn website mandate that I provide our readers with a link to the NSFW (language) trailer for The Big Lebowski, an upcoming adult parody of America's favorite bowling-and-Gulf-War movie.

Not really related, but where else am I going to post this: As many here are aware, before portraying Jacob on Lost Mark Pellegrino played Blonde Treehorn Thug in The Big Lebowski. Here's what happens when the two roles are combined.
WILL TONI KUKOC FINISH THE LAST 1.8 SECONDS OF HIS INDUCTION SPEECH? I know it's a low blow in what should be an otherwise glorious day for Scottie Pippen, as the NBA's greatest player from Central Arkansas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year eligible. Joining Pippen in this year's class among others are Karl Malone, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, the late Dennis Johnson, and the 1992 Dream Team (meaning Pippen and Malone get to save themselves a return trip to Springfield, Mass.).
KEARSONOMICS: Richard Thaler, whom half the members of The University of Chicago Law School Class of 1998 will remember as the guy who came into Sunstein's Elements class and ran some sort of con involving auctions and predicting other students' behavior, tells us what Sam Bradford doesn't want us to hear: the higher a player is picked in the NFL draft, the lower his value generally will be relative to his salary.

In a fantasy league beloved by a few readers here, I proposed that rather than assigning draft positions in reverse order of a team's finish, we let teams pick their draft slot. The guy with last year's worst record would get to pick any draft position he wanted, then the second-to-last-place finisher would choose from the remaining eleven slots, etc. A person could choose the remaining pick that maximizes the expected value as he calculates it, and if people had differing views, this might make more than one person happy. It's not as efficient as an auction, but it's a step in that direction and a heck of a lot simpler.

The value of a lower pick in a fantasy draft comes from the higher pick in even-numbered draft rounds, but the existence of real-world salary issues (either hard-cap or just soft-budget) in the NFL creates similar value in trading down in the NFL draft. Instead of assigning the #1 pick to the worst team, thus forcing the team to commit significant money to a risky prospect, why not let the worst team pick where it wanted to draft? For example, if the Rams thought that Bradford vs. Suh were a coin flip, they could trade down to #2 and save some money and cap room.
PESSIMISM IS NOT ALLOWED TODAY: Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox (especially to Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron, just because), who yesterday opened up a likely-insurmountable half-game lead on the Tampa Bay Non-Satanic Rays (with 161 left to go). For everybody else who will not have Felix Day rained out in Oakland this afternoon, it's opening day.

Your prognostications are welcome, though not mandatory.
BECAUSE GRINNELL'S REAL NICKNAME ACTUALLY IS "CORNELL WEST": As long as there has been an Internet -- hell, let's go back to the Usenet days -- it's been used to spread well-meaning lies and misinformation, and once there was a Web there was a to sort reliably the truth from the urban legends.

The NYT profiles Snopes founders David and Barbara Mikkelson today.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

OH WHAT A SHAMEFUL WAY TO BE THE SAME: I don't always find common ground with the folks who love Glee without reservation, but I thought this was interesting. Last month, Dianna Agron hosted the Chickens in Love concert fundraiser for the L.A. franchise of Dave Eggers's 826 Valencia foundation, and apparently she did a little dueting with Thao Nguyen of Thao With the Get Down Stay Down. It's not that Glee is as far from a band that records for Kill Rock Stars as one can get -- you don't have to search too long to find some shared DNA -- but it's far enough that the crossover makes me smile.

Original here.
THANK YOU, 5: The greatest and most accomplished quarterback in Eagles history, Donovan McNabb, has been traded to Washington.

There will be time to evaluate the merits of the trade, and only the Eagles coaches truly know whether Kevin Kolb is ready for the responsibility which is in front of him. Right now, I'm just grateful for what McNabb did for this team and this city: five trips to the NFC Championship game and one Super Bowl, seven playoff trips in a decade, and just thrilling games and highlights. The broken ankle game against Arizona. The playoff win in Chicago. 4th and 26.

Back in August, when I received that text from ESPN alerting me about the Vick signing ten minutes before my C-SPAN debut, well, you know what I said by now: Donovan McNabb is my quarterback -- which, admittedly, wasn't of interest to more than a few dozen folks at a political gathering in Pittsburgh. But McNabb earned that level of loyalty for me -- like Iverson, Barkley, Schmidt, Kruk and Erving before him, his combination of excellence and passion created a special connection with the fans, one reinforced every time McNabb pointed two fingers to the heavens coming out of the tunnel, two fingers expressing a hope that a win would come that day.

Every season with Donovan McNabb began with that hope; no game seemed unwinnable. That talent, that professionalism, that swagger, that heart ... we had one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for eleven years, and I don't know that he ever received the love from this town that he deserved. I'm sorry he's gone, and will cheer him upon his return.

added: Michael Wilbon welcomes his friend to DC.
WELL, AT LEAST HE HAS THE HAIR: Apparently, Aaron Sorkin may want to venture back into the political world again with his own version of L'Affaire Edwards, and Gawker has some casting suggestions--Tom Cruise as Edwards, Annette Bening as Elizabeth Edwards, and Meg Ryan or Felicity Huffman as Rielle Hunter (though they rightly noted that Huffman is "not ditzy enough"), I'm quite confident we can do better and offer roles for other members of the Sorkin Family Players (Joshua Malina as a once-idealistic but now jaded campaign worker? Bradley Whitford in a cameo as Rahm Emanuel?)
BALBOA-DRAGO? Complete this sentence: A Butler-Duke national championship game represents the purest battle of Good v. Evil in sports since _______________.

Related: #dukefacts