Saturday, October 8, 2011

NOT BITTER: Just disappointed at how the Phillies' season ended. Look: this was a marvelous season, and it was wonderful being able to come home every night and watch a really good team composed of likable, outstanding players usually win.

We knew they could have been a little better offensively, but that was the reason that Hunter Pence was added to the team, and on the whole he did not disappoint. In a five game series, weird stuff happens.

So Raul's gone, and Roy Oswalt's not quite worth the $16M his mutual option requires. (Would he sign here for less?) Ryan Madson should be re-signed. The big question, obviously, is Jimmy. JIMMY!! And I don't know what to say. He is not worth the five-year deal he seeks at this point in his career, yet someone will offer it to him. If that's the case, so be it, and I will be grateful for the years he's been here. But short of Jose Reyes, anything else will be a severe talent downgrade.

In the meantime, apparently the playoffs can proceed without any AL/NL East teams. Who knew?

Friday, October 7, 2011

BEYOND THE BARRICADES: Suggestions of additional locations to consider occupying:
Easy Street
42nd Street (but only if you bring spangles and tap shoes)
Jump Street
Elm Street
Hill Street
Lonely Street
Baker Street
Coronation Street
Homicide: Life on the Street
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (I think there's still a few coin-op machines down in Chinatown)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Peyton Place
Knots Landing
Wisteria Lane
Where the Streets Have No Name
Add as appropriate, though you know the rules.
"I have this customer," begins Zeisler. "He calls his Rabbi and says, 'Rabbi? I have a problem. I have tickets to the Phillies/St. Louis game and it's Yom Kippur. What should I do?'"

"No problem," says the Rabbi. "You can record it!"

"Oh!" the customer cries. "That's great! I didn't know you could record Kol Nidre!"
Forgive us, pardon us, grant us a slot in the League Championship Series. HT: #yomkippurbaseball.

Related: FanGraphs on Jews playing baseball on Yom Kippur.

Added:  My Rabbi speaks:
Rabbi Avi Winokur, of Society Hill Synagogue, says American Jews have a rich history with baseball.

“The relationship of Jews to baseball is a really fascinating one. Baseball was for Jews, and for many immigrant groups in those days, a way that they learned how to become American,” Winokur said.

Winokur says he will not be policing his congregation to make sure they are not checking the baseball score but he hopes they will have their minds in the right place.

“I hope and pray that the members of my synagogue, while they’re in synagogue, will keep their mind on their prayers,” Winokur said.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WICKED CRAVING FOR A FRIBBLE:  Friendly's has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leading towards a potential unhappy ending for the venerable chain.  (I didn't realize that Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc as well as Fuddruckers had also taken the plunge this year.)

As part of the announcement, these 63 restaurants have served their final Fishamajig®, leaving 424 to hopefully celebrate many Jim Dandy™ days to come.
A LIFE OF MEANING AND WORTH: In addition to Steve Jobs' death yesterday, we should also note the passing of two major figures in the Civil Rights movement--Fred Shuttlesworth, who helped Martin Luther King, Jr. organize the demonstrations in Birmingham, and Derrick Bell, who introduced critical race theory into the legal academy as well as giving the legal academy a new way of seeing and analyzing problems. I was lucky enough to take Constitutional Law with Professor Bell my 2L year, and, while I didn't agree with all of his views (a common joke was that "racism" was the answer to any and every question that might be asked), his class was genuinely engaging and challenging, particularly at a school where so many folks (myself included) ultimately find their way into BigLaw.
WHY DO THINGS COST THINGS? On why The Simpsons may be worth more money to Fox dead than alive.
LUCKY CLOVERS: Two things worth noting about Ben Stiller's return to SNL this weekend:

  • Yes, this is his first time hosting since October 24, 1998, but do you know why? Stiller was supposed to host the second episode of the 2001-02 season. After the September 11 Attacks, however, Stiller's agent called SNL producer Marci Klein late Friday of the week before (i.e., the day before the Reese Witherspoon/Rudy Giuliani season opener) to announce, without apology, "Ben is dropping out of the show."  Why?  Live from New York tells the story.
  • It has led to strong rumors that his Tower Heist co-star, Eddie Murphy, will be joining him as well.  It would be Murphy's first participation in anything SNL-related (show, reunions, documentaries, the Shales/Miller book) since 1984.
WELL, DUH: The 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.
LET MY CAMERON GO: Remember back in May when I asked prior to Adolf Hitler, who was America's go-to "so-and-so is worse than [X]" historical comparison in common parlance? Today, Slate asks the same question and comes up with a different answer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CANCER SUCKS, VOL. XXXXI: The day after Apple announced the iPhone 4S, Steve Jobs finally succumbed to his long battle with pancreatic cancer. There are (as you'd expect), tributes galore, but Apple's own is just about perfect--simple and clean, just as the products Jobs pushed were--and we'd be remiss if we didn't note his passing.
A CAUTIONARY TALE: Okay, seriously. Which one of you did not tell me about the Decemberists? Because there's now this Decemberist-shaped hole in the music I should have been listening to the past few years. I'm not happy about this. Fess up.
A RESOURCE THAT IS NOT EXPANDING AT NEAR THE SPEED OF LIGHT: Saul Perlmutter of UC Berkeley was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work regarding dark matter and the expansion of the universe. Of course, far more important than his half-share of the prize money is his lifetime campus parking place. The article notes that it's a central campus permit, but it's better than that. The University will either designate a parking spot for you or, fire code permitting, paint you one wherever you want it.

Membership has its privileges.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

LOOK AT THIS STUFF. ISN'T IT NEAT? Given the box-office success of The Lion King 3D, it's thoroughly unsurprising to see Disney announce today four more 3D releases over the next two years: Beauty and the Beast (1-13-2012); Finding Nemo (9-14-2012); Monsters, Inc. (1-18-2013); and The Little Mermaid (9-13-2013).
I DON'T THINK THE LADIES WHO LUNCH WOULD BE VERY GOOD AT THIS: When he's not writing music, lyrics, or bitchy essays about how much hates pretty much every composer and lyricist ever, Stephen Sondheim writes "treasure hunts" for his friends and for charity events, and a Vulture correspondent participated in one last night.
I THINK I MIGHT HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME PREMORSE ON THIS ONE: We didn't do our typical ALOTT5MA Fall Season Dead Pool this year, but we're obliged to report that if you had Playboy Club, you won. The show's been yanked effective immediately, with repeats of Prime Suspect filling for three weeks until new newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams debuts on Halloween night. (Of course, on "number of episodes aired," there are still shows that could beat or tie Playboy Club, including the possibility that either Man Up or I Hate My Teenage Daughter never makes it to our airwaves.) NBC also picked up back 9's for both Up All Night and Whitney, and we'll let our friend Linda Holmes provide reaction to that.
IF ANYTHING BAD HAPPENS, VISIT GRACE MERCY WEST HOSPITAL: Next week, Frequent Commenter Jenn will be visiting Seattle for the first time ever, and would like to know where to dine and visit.
WONDER IF THEY'LL SERVE LIVER AT THE BANQUET:  The Nobel Prize for Literature will be awarded on Thursday, and the touts are saying ...
Speculation about the winner focused on many of the same writers who were deemed favorites last year: Adonis, a Syrian poet; Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet; Assia Djebar, an Algerian novelist; and Haruki Murakami, the Japanese novelist whose hugely anticipated book “1Q84” will be released on Oct. 25.

The Americans who have been named as contenders include Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy and Philip Roth. (Mr. Roth is 78, and The Millions, a literary Web site, posted an open letter to the Swedish Academy last week asking it to “stop the nonsense and give Philip Roth a Nobel Prize for Literature before he dies.”)
Ladbrokes is accepting wagers; Roth, McCarthy, Oates, Don DeLillo and Bob Dylan are all at 25/1.

Monday, October 3, 2011

STRIKE A (HEISMAN) POSE, THERE'S NOTHING TO IT: Will either the bourgeoisie or the rebels be satisfied if Madonna is next year's Super Bowl halftime performer?

In February 2009, I suggested (with the proviso that Prince should be the performer every year) that the shortlist starts with Garth Brooks and remain surprised they've gone country only once since 1994 (and even that was Shania Twain, sharing the stage with No Doubt and Sting). I did note in the comments, FWIW: "I just assumed Madonna wouldn't do it, that she's not interested in being a populist entertainer."
AND THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T BELIEVE RUMORS: Remarks at a New Yorker Festival panel yesterday have again generated the idea that we might be getting an Arrested Development movie (and maybe a pre-movie miniseries). Like our friend Alan, I'll believe we're actually getting a movie or more episodes when I'm actually watching the additional material. Pretty much no one, however, is suggesting a Sports Night movie, but Joshua Malina (in a guest post over at EW) is happy to both start and debunk that suggestion.
WHAT'S ALOTT5MA WATCHING? Well, pretty much every new show has now aired at least a couple of episodes (save for a few shows that have yet to debut), so it's an opportune time to talk about what you're TiVoing and what you're TiNoing. For me, 2 Broke Girls, Hart of Dixie, Suburgatory, Up All Night, and New Girl have gotten Season Passed in principle, while Pan Am, Prime Suspect, and Gifted Man remain possibles (haven't watched a second episode of any of them yet), with most others having gotten TiNo'ed or not even sampled.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY DOING THIS? THE ANSWER IS SIMPLEVOLUME: Big NYMag story this morning on making Twitter profitable. Sample:
A study conducted by sociologists working for Yahoo concluded that 50 percent of all the tweets come from just 20,000 users. “It’s really dominated by this media-celebrity-blogger elite,” says Duncan Watts, one of the researchers. “It’s a small number of users who are hyperconnected, and then there’s everybody else just paying attention to those people.”

To continue the broadcast metaphor, these people are the show users came to see. And Twitter is learning that it has to tend the talent as carefully as any entertainment company. In the planning rooms of Twitter, the most prolific and widely followed tweeters are called “influencers,” or “power users,” and they are at the core of its business. If it loses them, it becomes, essentially, MySpace—a digital graveyard where a party used to be. So while they race to retool the tweeting experience for the masses, Costolo and Dorsey are on a parallel campaign to keep Twitter’s star attractions, celebrities and politicians and the media, chattering away on Twitter. ...

The reason Twitter wants James ­Franco tweeting is to sell his audience to advertisers. And if it can figure out how to insert a Starbucks tweet into the Francosphere, and prompt people to buy coffee without stifling their intimacy with ­Franco, Twitter wins. This advertising model is still in the dream stage. But what a dream it is.
MEMENTO MORI:  So I attended both sporting events in South Philadelphia yesterday, and, um, that was not good.  It gets better ... right?
WHAT IS, SERIOUSLY, A LOT OF US AT THIS POINT?  Set your TiVos for Jeopardy! tomorrow (Tuesday) night -- frequent commenter Maggie will be competing.