Saturday, February 4, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
Never not awesome: Isaac Spaceman presents the Adam Lambert Roundtable: A Discussion of Arts, Politics, and Culture.
1. Winner/final score.
2. Official Game MVP.
3. Which advertiser tops the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter?
4. Predict something interesting about Madonna's performance.
5. Will Kelly Clarkson's rendition of the National Anthem be longer or shorter than 1:34?
Tiebreaker: Pick a prop bet as listed on Football Outsiders. Get it right. The tougher the odds of winning your bet, the more credit you get.Previous winners: 2006: Benner; 2007: me; 2008: Joseph J. Finn ; 2009: Scott; 2010: Scott again; and 2011: GoldnI. As they will tell you, the prizes are Fame and Glory within this community, but nothing financial.
[My predictions: Giants 31-24; Eli; Doritos; Nicki Minaj will be weird enough to compel my mom to call me immediately thereafter to ask me who the heck that was; shorter. Tiebreaker: Manningham (14/1) to score game's first td.]
added: NYMag has odds on various FCC-related infractions during the halftime performance.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Participate in this thread, or it's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
You can look at LOI day in two ways. The traditional (or "traditional," since the concept of "LOI Day" as an event is itself fairly recent) way is to see it as a celebration of potential, an introduction to the players who will make up a quarter of a favored team for the next several years. The second way of thinking of LOI Day -- the ascendent, but unspoken way -- is as an event unto itself, a corollary contest bearing roughly the same relationship to college football as beach volleyball bears to indoor volleyball. No matter what happens next year, or for the next four years, Cal lost this LOI Day, and Alabama won this LOI day, and your officially sanctioned (pun intended) underdog USC overachieved, and years from now, thousands of recruiting junkies will look back on this as one of the most exciting days in the history of college recruiting. Thus do Scout.com and Rivals.com compile rankings of all of the major college recruiting classes, diligently tallying the weighted aggregations of five-, four-, and three-star recruits, or of blue-, red-, and white-chippers. Thus do the fans of Cal pour into Cal Golden Blogs, less to read and remark about their new players than to spew vitriol at Tosh Lupoi, a man whose late-vintage fame derives principally from the fact that he left employment at Cal (where he was a key recruiter) for a rival that doubled his salary. And thus do 18-year-olds say and do tremendously stupid things, not in the privacy of their own communities, but in tweets and press conferences solemnly repeated in national newspapers and widely read web sites.
I have two favorite examples this year. The first is from a blue-chip player (the name escapes me) who orally committed somewhere, but who then ended up dropped from that school's and various other schools' recruitment after everybody found his unusually single-minded sex-obsessed Twitter feed. The second is the story of Jordan Payton, a wide receiver who orally committed -- publicly, earnestly, and enthusiastically -- to USC, then to Cal, and then to Washington (yesterday), before signing an LOI today with UCLA. If you're counting, that's only a third of the schools in the Pac-12. I'm surprised he couldn't fit Oregon in there anywhere. "Commitment" -- You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
"The epitome of black entrepreneurship, building Soul Train from the ground up" is how Pam Spaulding put it, and I guess what I can add is that in the pre-MTV era, Soul Train is the vehicle that smuggled black culture into white households. I don't think primarily of the musical performances or even the scramble board, but rather the dancing -- and especially the line dancing. That wasn't something I got to see at my USY dances, and it wasn't music that I got to listen to on Top-40 radio of the early 1980s.
Soul Train made my childhood a little funkier and more enjoyable, and for that I say thank you, Mr. Cornelius.
In the meantime, a whole lot of pawns are being sacrificed, and D'Angelo's not acting with anywhere near the caution that his uncle would recommend.
This was a strong, solid episode; our universe keeps expanding (Bird, Dierde's informative friend Tywanda) and I still don't know all the regulars' names, but I don't at all feel lost. Instead, the details are being filled in, especially in terms of just how an operation like Avon Barksdale's works. And I'm fascinated.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
- Despite the fact that Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are top billed, they have maybe 10-15 minutes of screen time each--indeed, I think Max von Sydow and Viola Davis both have more screen time than does Hanks. (Reports are that Bullock had a significant subplot excised which involved James Gandolfini, who was highly billed on early posters, and whose part is entirely left on the cutting room floor.) That means that the movie rises and falls on Thomas Horn, whose sole credit before this was appearing on Kids Week on Jeopardy! The problem is that the character is a bit of a blank slate, though this is less Horn's fault than the source material and screenplay. Particularly given a reveal near the end of the film, I wonder if there wasn't a better movie to be made in which all the narrative weight didn't lie on his shoulders, but was shared in parallel with another character (as I understand the book is, mixing Oskar's story with flashbacks that are entirely absent from the film).
- Much of the reaction to the film (particularly the negative reaction) seems to be centered on how 9/11 plays a prominent role in the film. I'm wondering if a better movie could have been made by excising 9/11 entirely from it--have Hanks' character die in a random act of violence rather than one fraught with such emotion. Admittedly, this requires some rejiggering of plot elements, but less than you might think, and might have allowed both the filmmakers and the audience to focus on a small portrait of grief rather than trying to create a large and universal one.
There are some moments in the film that really work (particularly a couple of scenes between Bullock and Horn and von Sydow's wordless, but world-weary, performance), but on the whole, I found it an interesting example of a film that tries too hard to say everything, and, as a result, winds up saying pretty much nothing.